Everyone knows that if you want to sell a product or service you have to market it. Unless you have some very special product, it probably is not going to sell itself. Many people, however, find it difficult to market their product effectively. This is especially the case for social entrepreneurs, many of whom consider focusing on sales and profit contradictory to their goal of contributing to the social good. Nevertheless, for social entrepreneurs marketing is necessary, too. Without it, you will not be able to sell your product, and so will never make a change in society either.
A social enterprise is not called that way for no reason. It is an enterprise or, in other words, a business or company aimed at making profit. At the same time though, it also has a social goal. Enablecode is such an example of a social enterprise. We earn our incomes by creating websites for clients, while simultaneously trying to change the way society perceives people with disabilities. We can only do this though, if our company is successful, meaning we constantly have to market our services in order to find new clients. This is where it becomes challenging. Not only for us, but for many social enterprises.
Before getting into the topic of how to market your social enterprise, let’s quickly consider what marketing actually is. Unlike many people think, marketing is more just sales or advertising. According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients partners, and society at large.” Or, in clearer terms, marketing is “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably” (Chartered Institute of Marketing).
So, how do you go about doing this? A growing number of businesses is working for the social good now. How then, do you make yourself stand out from the crowd?
The first step is deciding what your company’s selling point should be. Is it the social aspect of your business or is it the actual product? Think very well about this. Do you think people will be more likely to buy your product if they know they will be helping other people with their purchase, or will they buy it simply because your product is so great?
Once you figure this out, it is time to develop a marketing plan. This is a comprehensive plan, which details all of the company’s marketing strategies and objectives and how to achieve them. Developing these strategies can be challenging, but if you use the “periodic table” of content marketing, you should be able to come up with a great, effective marketing plan. The periodic table of marketing was created by Chris Lake, CEO at EmpricalProof and former Director of Content at Econsultancy, and provides a seven-step guide to achieving your company’s goals.
Using the periodic table of content marketing
1. Strategy: Take time to define clear strategies. Ultimately, business goals can only be achieved if you have effective strategies in place to reach potential clients or customers.
A great tool to that you can use to develop strong business strategies is the SWOT-analysis, which is used to evaluate your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are often found inside your company, while opportunities and threats typically relate to the external environment. Conducting a SWOT-analysis can help you determine your company’s strong suits and can uncover opportunities in the market. As such it can help you identify your business niche and provides a valuable tool in distinguishing yourself from the competition.
2. Format: There are many formats to choose from: blog posts, videos, podcasts, images, events and so on. Think about which formats will best convey your message and keep in mind that you can use different formats for the same piece of content as well.
3. Content: Try to determine which types of content will appeal most to your target audience. In marketing, one of your main goals is of course to create content that will draw potential customers or clients to your business.
For social enterprises, in particular, content is extremely important. There are many different types of content to choose from, but what better way to convey your message than through stories? People want to hear stories that they can identify with, or that impress or inspire them. Such personalized stories will get people to somehow feel connected to your company, which is exactly what you, as a social enterprise, need. The stories do not necessarily have to be articles. They can also be videos, infographics or images, for instance.
A little secret from us at Enablecode: if there is one thing people who come to our website like, it is the personal stories of our web developers. People can relate to these stories, which is exactly what you as a social entrepreneur, or as a content marketer, are aiming for.
4. Platform: This is another very important step in a marketing process. Sure, you can create content, but it will not do anything for your company if you do not actually get the content out there. Luckily, we have the internet, which has made distributing content quite easy.
The easiest place to start sharing content is of course the company website. You can design your website completely to your own liking and can share unlimited content, for free nonetheless. Additionally, you can use social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. There is no one best social media platform; this is very much dependent on the business and the type of product or service that you are selling.
The best way to share content on social media is to post a link to a page on your website, rather than publishing content directly on the social media site. This will generate more traffic to your website, thus enabling you to reach more people.
5. Measuring goals: Tracking key metrics allows you to determine how well your content is performing, and consequently shows you how well your content supports your business goals. A great website for tracking web metrics is Google Analytics. This web traffic plugin keeps track of the number of page views, tells you the bounce rate, which is the number of people who leave your site after viewing only one page, as well as how much time people spend on your website, among many other things.
6. Sharing triggers: Again, think about how to add emotional value to your content. If you can get people connect to your stories, they are much more likely to share them, which is an amazing way to garner more attention and get more visibility for your business.
7. Checklist: Always double-check your work! Mistakes are easily made. Make sure there are no typos in the text, that content is formatted properly and that images are loading as they should, because if not, this can be very annoying. Moreover, make sure that all content is optimized for search engines, because you do want people to be able to find you. Finally, one of the worst marketing mistakes you can make is to spread incorrect information so always make sure that all the information that you use in your posts is correct.
Following these few simple steps should get you a long way in marketing your social enterprise, but there is one last piece of advice we would like to give you. Make your product (or service) great! You can do all the marketing that you want, and this may get you very far, but the better your product is, the easier it will be to convince people to buy it. And ultimately, that is what your social enterprise needs in order to make a difference in society.
Do you want to help Enablecode spread awareness about people with disabilities in the developing world or do you want to receive more information about what we do? Register to our website here.