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Basically, you can sum up cons to this: spend lots of time or money for little/no return.
Not a good marketing strategy.
But, it doesn't have to be that way. You can and should find ways to increase your ROI (return on investment) for all community relations activities you take part in. And one good way to do that is to leverage them into marketing strategies.
Creativity Exercise -- How to get a return on investment with community relations
Grab some sheets of paper and a pen (I like fun gel pens myself) and get ready for some brainstorming.
First, list all activities you're doing that are considered community relations. Write them all down.
Next, analyze those activities. What ROI are you currently getting from them? Do your customers know you donate time and/or money to those activities? Do you get sales because of your involvement? Are you building your brand and/or awareness of your business because of your donations?
Don't know? Well, then you probably aren't getting much return.
Next, I want you to brainstorm ways you can start leveraging those activities. Can you devote a section on your Web site to telling people about your involvement? Can you use your Web site to help raise money and/or volunteers for causes you support? If there's an event involved, can you more aggressively market your services during it? (Set out flyers or brochures or have a really good elevator speech if you're able to introduce yourself.) Can you send out press releases? Can you have your logo added to organization's marketing materials? Or have organization link to your Web site?
Try and brainstorm 20 ways you can increase your ROI. Some will be silly, some will be completely impractical -- but that's okay. All you need are one or two gold nuggets to really jumpstart your marketing and make that investment in time and money really start to pay off.
Michele Pariza Wacek is the author of "Got Ideas? Unleash Your Creativity and Make More Money." She offers two free e-zines that help subscribers combine their creativity with hard-hitting marketing and copywriting principles to become more successful at attracting new clients, selling products and services and boosting business. She can be reached at http://www.TheArtistSoul.com. Copyright 2005 Michele Pariza Wacek