Our 2019 Top Rated Local award winners are businesses that come from all over the United States and a wide range of industries — and many of them have made a name for themselves by giving back to their communities.
There are so many reasons to make giving back a top priority.
In our previous blog series — How to Make Your Brand Stand Out Online — we discussed several ways that you can set your brand apart from the many others online. However, there is one little-known way to make your brand stand out that we did not go over, which is getting involved in your community and working hard to make it better.
A lot of businesses today are on a tight budget and barely have enough time to keep up with all of their work, and we understand that it’s not easy to make the decision to sacrifice more of your time and money for the community, especially because it won’t directly benefit you. But even if the benefits aren’t direct, they are many, and they make giving back to your community more than worth your time and money.
The Top Eight Benefits of Giving Back to Your Community
#1. Build a positive reputation within your community.
Your online reputation matters quite a bit, but your reputation in the community arguably matters even more. Those people who write reviews about your business aren’t faceless drones; they’re your customers, and chances are, they live and work in the same community you do. The people searching for your business online are also people living in your community, and nothing can help to cement someone’s confidence when selecting a business to work with online than a strong online reputation backed up with a strong reputation within the community.
When you give back, you build a positive brand and a great reputation to your friends and neighbors. Word of mouth is nowhere near dead, and it’s the cheapest and most effective form of advertising. Best of all, word of mouth is also a side effect of building a positive reputation within your community.
#2. Improve employee morale, increase productivity, reduce turnover and attract the best talent.
As Baby Boomers reach retirement, a larger and larger chunk of the talent pool will be made up of Millennials. Millennials have made headlines for paving a different path than their parents and grandparents before them. While Millennials value stability, a healthy work/life balance and a steady paycheck, they also value purpose. And Generation Z — people born between 1994 and 2001 — is even more driven by passion, purpose and having an impact.
What does that mean for a business that wants to keep and attract the best talent? It means you need to give your employees a purpose and a passion, and one of the best ways to do that is by giving back to your community. Helping your employees become passionate about their jobs and your company will make them want to stick around longer, make them happier while they’re at work and even make them more productive!
According to research published in the Harvard Business Review:
- Employees who are dissatisfied have a 71-percent productivity output.
- Employees who are satisfied have a 100-percent productivity output.
- Employees who are engaged have a 144-percent productivity output.
- Employees who are inspired have a 225-percent productivity output!
#3. Set your business apart.
In this day and age, there’s no shortage of competition, and that’s true no matter what industry you’re in. If you want your business to not only survive but to thrive and to be successful, you need to figure out a way to set your business apart from your competition. And while lowering your prices and investing in state-of-the-art equipment and products are probably the most convenient ways to set your business apart, they can also adversely affect your bottom line. Luckily, giving back to your community — and to the world — can make your business stand out.
One of the best examples of this is TOMS Shoes. Those canvas slip-on shoes are adorable, but it’s not as if they’re a super unique product. You can find shoes like that in every department store and shopping center in the country, but what sets TOMS apart and makes people willing to spend a little more on their shoes is their commitment to social responsibility. TOMS is well known for donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased, and that key part of their business model has made the company explode.
#4. Gain new customers.
These days, when a business wants to grow and expand their client base, they typically invest in marketing and ads, which certainly is a great way to get noticed. However, it’s not as if your ad is the only one potential clients and customers will encounter, and you need to give them a great reason to choose you over the others. Of course, you offer high-quality service and affordable prices! But so does every other business. And as we mentioned in our last point, making it a point to give back can be a great way to set your business apart and gain new customers.
Your community isn’t just where you do your grocery shopping and go to the bank; it’s full of your potential customers and clients, and when you make the choice to give back to them, they’re going to notice. In fact, 88 percent of consumers say they would prefer to buy a product from a company that’s driven by a purpose.
#5. Build support within your community.
When you make it a point to give back to the people within your community and work hard to make the world a better place, people are going to sit up and notice, and when they do, they’re going to be passionate about your brand and willing to support you no matter what.
Not only will the people in your community be more willing to shop with you or rely on you when they need your services over the competition, but many of them will also spread the word for you! Interestingly enough, almost 80 percent of Americans say that they would advise their friends and family to buy products from a company that’s driven by a purpose.
#6. Get your name out there for free!
Visibility is key in today’s competitive business market. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd, but if you want to succeed, you should absolutely make staying visible a top priority. Of course, you could and should invest in marketing to get your name out there, but by giving back, you can generate great publicity without having to spend an arm and a leg.
All it takes is one blogger or reporter to pick up on your efforts to give back, and you’ll enjoy a ton of free publicity. But you don’t even have to wait for that! If your team volunteers to build a home for Habitat for Humanity, or if they organized a food drive for the local homeless shelter, take pictures of your team at work and share them on social media!
You can also get your customers involved in your efforts to give back, too! For example, you could offer a special discount or promotion for customers who volunteer with your team, or you could donate a portion of your funds for a day or on a certain product to charity.
#7. Make valuable connections in your community.
Chances are, there are a lot of other businesses out there you could send customers to, or that could send customers your way. For example, say you own a jewelry store that specializes in custom jewelry and repair. If you were to partner with a jewelry store that has a wide selection of options but may not handle repairs or offer custom pieces, partnering with them will mean more business for both of you and happier customers all around. And when you give back to your community, making those valuable connections is a lot easier.
When you volunteer and get involved in your community, you’ll meet like-minded people and business owners, without having to ever step foot in a networking event.
#8. Improve your bottom line!!
The fact is, when your business gives back and supports your community, your community will do the same for your business. There are a lot of business owners out there who are unsure of investing their time and money into their community because they have so few resources to begin with, but we’re here to tell you that doing so will eventually come back to you and help you make more money.
Many of the benefits we’ve already discussed affect your bottom line. Whether your employees are more productive, you lower your turnover rate, customers are more loyal to your or customers tell their friends and family about your business, it all comes back around and leaves you with a little more money in your pocket.
Now that you know about the benefits of giving back, it’s time to learn how you can give back — make sure you stay tuned for our next blog!
Let us help you build the kind of online reputation you want.
As you can see, giving back to your community is a powerful way to build a strong offline and online reputation for your business, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. At Top Rated Local, we can give you the tools you need to help you find the rest of those pieces and build the kind of online reputation any business owner would envy.
The first step is to get your business listed for free! Get started today.