There are many different ways to market your business. Small businesses rely heavily on social media ads, while larger companies invest in TV and commercial spots. One positive way to use your marketing budget, whether you're a local brand or a corporate business, is by working with a charity. Cause Marketing has become popular in recent years, and - when done correctly - can be a great marketing strategy. Here are our three tips for how to do some good with your marketing budget.
1) Donate 50% of your marketing budget to a local charity
The first step is to choose a charity you would like to support. Small businesses should choose a local non-profit that aligns with their brand mission. Be sure to check that the charity is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, so that the donation is tax deductible (plus, it gets a little sketchy when you "donate" to a for-profit company). Next, we suggest donating a minimum of 50% of your marketing budget for the quarter. Be sure to put the donation in the name of your business. Check to see if the charity offers "sponsorship tiers," which often come with marketing opportunities. Reach out directly to the Director of Donor Relations to see if you are able to partner with the charity, instead of simply writing a check.
2) Use the other 50% to raise awareness about the cause
Partnering with the charity to help raise awareness is important for two reasons. First, spotlighting a charity helps draw more donations from outside sources (think of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge). Second, the donation is coming from your marketing budget - so we want to do some marketing with it. Create a 30-second video about where and why you donated the company's marketing budget. Promote the video on social media, blast it out to your mailing list, and encourage employees to share it with their friends. Use a maximum of 50% of your marketing budget to advertise your donation.
3) Be sincere
Cause Marketing can get your brand a lot of good press. But, if done wrong, can also bring a lot of a bad press. Insincere campaigns - like KFC's Buckets for a Cure, which donned pink buckets and a $0.50 donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation - result in PR nightmares. One way to avoid a Cause Marketing fail is by choosing a charity that aligns with your brand (tip: health and fried chicken don't seem to work well together). Another important way to be sincere in your charity is by donating more than what you spend to tell the world how much you donated. A small business donating $1,000 sounds nice, until you find out that they spent $10,000 on advertising to tell you that they donated $1,000. Cause Marketing is about doing good while creating brand awareness. So make sure you find the right balance.
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