Community service can be a vital marketing tool, but be selective in how you invest your time and dollars.
Think locally. Well-organized causes with a vested stake in the community have a feel-good effect on homeowners. Local media enjoy these upbeat stories, and involvement “shows that your business is concerned for the community and you are a team player,” says Amy Hager, who handles marketing for Landis Construction, in Washington, D.C.
Showcase your skills. Construction-related causes such as Rebuilding Together and Habitat for Humanity (national, but their work is carried out locally) let remodelers do what they do best. “We like the fact that we can use the strengths of our business to impact the people that Rebuilding Together touches in a very positive manner,” says Todd Polifka, president of Vision Remodeling, in Little Canada, Minn.
Lead the way. Polifka is president of his local National Association of the Remodeling Industry chapter, which not only partners with Rebuilding Together but makes him the go-to person for press interviews about those projects. Landis Construction principal Ethan Landis volunteers on local boards that introduce him to reporters as well as to potential clients.
Be a billboard. Be personable and positive, and wear your company gear as a brand reinforcement as well as a conversational icebreaker. Your competitors might also be involved, so “make sure you’re the one that’s always friendly,” Hager says.
Community service may not pay back immediately, in strict revenue terms, but your active presence will elevate you in the public eye. “You’re showing homeowners that you’re serious about giving back,” Hager says.