Guest post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
I work with clients on a regular basis to help them "figure out who they are" and to spread that message
across their various social media platforms and in their blog posts so I was intrigued by the BogPaws 2013 session on Strengthening Your Brand: Better Relationship Marketing for Rescues and Shelters. I don't typically work with rescues or shelters, but the messages that Kristin Elliott and Sybil Stershic passed along is advice that any business owner can utilize.
Whether you're a not for profit or a for profit business, here are some bits of advice to keep in mind when you're working with your customers and for those times when you need to approach business associates and ask for a donation:
- Remember that "marketing is supposed to build up share of mind and share of heart." Share of mind means your client understands who you are and what you do. Share of heart means that your customer likes and appreciates what you do and likes how you do it.
- You need to understand who your customer is — those that benefit from your service; and those who support your customers — help you provide the service. This is relevant if you're an animal shelter. The customer is the family looking to adopt a pet, the those who support your mission are the feet on the ground people that are on site to meet with prospective families.
- Sybil spoke about the seven steps in a Service Delivery System — environmental, financial, informational, aesthetic, interpersonal, procedural and deliverable. These steps need to work hand in hand in order for the "message" to be heard and delivered to a customer.
If you're a business owner that is approaching another business in search of a donation (or a not for profit seeking a donation) you need to keep several things in mind, including:
- Know who you are contacting. Don't send a blanket message or a To Whom It May Concern missive. Do some research and send the message to the correct person, ex. Dear Ms. Smith.
- Don't contact a business that provides Doodie Packs for dogs if you are seeking donations for your bird group. Match the donation you're seeking to the segment of the market you're serving.
- Do you need a donation TODAY? Chances are, you will be out of luck. You can't expect an organization you're approaching to drop everything and accommodate your needs. Be mindful of your time lines and plan requests for donations accordingly.
As with all business transactions, whether in cash or merchandise, follow up with a thank you. Ask the individual about their experience. Grow your brand and build your relationships with thoughtful follow up and interaction.
Stay tuned for more Lessons Learned and don't forget to register for BlogPaws 2014 in Vegas — who knows what you will learn?!