18 Jul How to use your positive impact to attract new customers
If you’re operating your business ethically and sustainably and giving back to good causes, you can use your positive impact to attract new customers.
Research shows that consumers expect brands to have a positive impact – and that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be a big competitive advantage.
According to Inc, 70 percent of millennials say that they’ll spend more with brands that support causes, and research by Forresters found that when faced with a choice between two companies that offered products and services for the same price, 82% of customers said their decision would be affected by whether a company engaged with charities and its local community.
Reporting on your impact and sharing stories about the difference you make are an essential element of any ethical marketing strategy and an excellent way to attract new customers by building emotional connections based on the causes they care about.
Here’s how you can use your positive impact to attract new customers
Involve them in your giving back
Depending on how you choose to give back, you can get your customers and followers involved.
For example, if you have a charity or not-for-profit partner of the year, you could present a shortlist of causes on your social media platform of choice and allow your customers to vote for which one they think you should support next.
You could even tailor your impact to the customers you’re working with.
At Ethical Hour, we partner with a range of good causes through B1G1 and our charitable partnership with Lend With Care microfinance loans.
That means we can tailor our impact according to the brands we’re working with.
For example, we recently supported an ethical fashion brand with their Instagram strategy – helping them grow their audience, plan some larger influencer marketing campaigns and start turning followers into email subscribers and paying clients.
Once our coaching programme with the client had come to an end, we sent them a personalised thank you message, along with an account of the impact they’d helped us make.
We re-invest a percentage of our revenue into microfinance loans for entrepreneurs in developing countries, so to celebrate the work completed with our ethical fashion client, we chose to support Johana, an entrepreneur in Ecuador, who currently works in a textile factory and wants to set up her own business. She will use her loan to buy an overlock machine, sewing machine and supplies to get her business off the ground.
When we told our client, she was thrilled to hear we’d helped a garment worker, and really enjoyed hearing Johana’s story.
Involving existing customers in your impact gives them an extra reason to talk about you and sing your praises to their friends and contacts, and as word of mouth is one of the most effective ways of marketing your business, this can attract new customers and help you grow!
Tell your impact story
As an ethical business, your impact story is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have to attract new customers.
Consumer demand for businesses to make a positive impact is growing, and you can tell your impact story to current and potential new customers to help build trust.
Last year, I visited ‘Choose Love’ – a pop up shop in London with a difference. When you chose your purchase, you didn’t actually leave the shop with anything (other than good karma!) – because whatever you purchased was donated to a refugee in need.
I bought a ‘snug pack’ containing a hat, scarf and gloves, and a hot meal.
6 months later, I received an email, which included some impressive stats about the number of people who shopped at the stores over the Christmas period, and how many people they were able to help as a result.
There were stories about the people who received the items and direct quotes from them saying what a difference it made.
Photos from the stores, and showing the items being delivered, brought the stories to life. And they included a link to their impact report.
This email brought Help Refugees right back to the front of my mind. I even went back to their website and purchased an insulated baby grow for a refugee child in need – as a special gift for my friend who’s just become a first time Mum.
I probably wouldn’t have remembered them in my search for the perfect gift, but their email hit my inbox at just the right time and turned me into a repeat customer.
Sharing your impact story can build trust, help your word of mouth marketing and bring previous customers back for more. And it’s not just charities that benefit from sharing their impact story.
I recently celebrated some clients publicly on social media for their role in helping me provide 17 days of sewing training for women in Bangladesh.
They were so pleased to be a part of the impact story that they shared the post on their own channels too – which extended my reach to 1.2K!
Your customers help you make a positive impact, so don’t forget to share it with them. If you can get progress reports from your beneficiaries, you can use these to check back in with your customers later and bring your business back to the front of their minds too.
Ned Heaton, an 11 year old surfer from Australia, is on a mission to tackle the ocean plastics problem. That’s why he started The Turtle Tribe.
He’ll send you your first bamboo toothbrush for free to get you to try it, so you can turn your back on the single use plastic ones that stay in the ocean or landfill for thousands of years.
Like many impact entrepreneurs, Ned knows that to create change, he needs to get his product into the mainstream, so he’s working on ways to approach manufacturers, big retail stores and the decision makers with the potential to create widespread impact.
To help him get seen and heard by the right people, Ned entered our Be The Change Awards in 2019.
When he was shortlisted for Changemaker of the Year, Ned appeared on national television, and his Dad messaged me to say:
“HUGE news….after Ned was on telly, a major national retail chain invited him to supply their 400 stores with bamboo toothbrushes.
They’ve tried selling bamboo toothbrushes before, but admitted sales were poor. They said they were attracted to selling Ned’s brushes entirely because they have a story behind them.
A mission. A message, that they can use to get consumer buy-in.
The media love him, and every time he appears in the media more doors open for him. I honestly don’t think there’s any way I could get plastic toothbrushes banned. But I reckon he could. I really do. And so does he.”
Being shortlisted and winning awards won’t attract new customers on their own, but using the logos on your website adds credibility to your impact, showing that you’ve been independently vetted by an outside organisation.
It also gives you an opportunity to meet new contacts, including industry experts who may be judging the awards, and to get your story featured in the press…
Get featured in the press
Getting press coverage for your business can be a great way to reach new audiences and attract new customers – but journalists aren’t here to give you free advertising.
If you want to get press coverage, you have to find the right angle.
That’s where your impact story comes in.
If you’re making a positive impact in an area that the media are interested in, or if you’ve got a unique angle to your impact story, you can pitch for features, which will put your brand in front of a wider audience.
Sustainable accessories start-up From Belo capitalised on the recent interest in plastic pollution and reports of the environmental damage caused by the fashion industry to secure a feature in Forbes, which also showcased how the brand are giving back by donating meals to the homeless in Brazil, where their accessories are made.
Buzzfeed, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan have all curated lists of brands that give back, which is the type of feature that can put you in front of customers searching for their next purchase or perfect gift.
You’re working hard to make a positive impact, so don’t be afraid to share that story with the world, pitch the right angle to journalists and leverage opportunities to get in front of potential customers!
Want to make more impact in your business, but don’t know where to start?
You’re never too small to start making a difference. You can even begin before your business is profitable – and it could help you attract more customers and reach profit faster too!
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