The latest in our guest blog series is from Sian Conway, at Ethical Hour - the award-winning, ethical marketing specialist. Sian shares 3 ways to use your impact report in your marketing. If you’re not already doing these they’re fantastic easy ways to share your story.
As a social entrepreneur, you’re working hard to make a positive impact through your business.
Whether it’s a Fair Trade supply chain, pro bono work for a not for profit or giving back to good causes, you’ve found an opportunity to make a difference.
The statistics show that demand for ethical and sustainable products is growing, and consumers now expect businesses to have a positive impact.
According to Trendwatching, “it’s now simply assumed your organisation is working to reduce its impact. For example, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced in October 2018 that over 250 organisations, including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever and H&M, had signed its pledge to eliminate single-use non-recycled plastics by 2025.”
But just because consumers assume you’re already doing it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t communicate your impact with them.
In fact, in a world where big brands are spending more money on “purpose washing” and “greenwashing” to make themselves look good, without the positive impact and ethical credentials to back it up, your impact report needs to play an important role in your marketing strategy to help you stand out from the crowd and show potential customers how genuine you are.
Here are 3 ways to use your impact report in your marketing:
1. Include your impact on your website
Your website is your shop front on the internet. Whether you sell products or services, it’s where your potential customers will come to decide if you’re the right fit for them or not.
Your impact can play an important role in that decision.
Including an impact page on your website is the perfect opportunity to show potential customers, investors, stakeholders and collaborators what you’re all about.
You can share your vision for a better world, and include facts, figures and stories from your impact report that showcase the progress you’re making towards your impact goals.
2. Tell a bigger story
Many social entrepreneurs worry that they’re too small to make a meaningful difference, which puts them off communicating their impact to the wider world. But small businesses make up 99% of the private sector in the UK, which means they are an incredibly powerful economic force, and potentially a force for social and environmental good too.
It’s important not to over-inflate your impact story or make it look like you’re doing more than you are. Ethical consumers can spot greenwashing and it can lead to very bad press! But even if your impact journey is just beginning, you can use frameworks like the Sustainable Development Goals to show how your impact feeds into the global plan to create a better, more sustainable future.
This is also a good opportunity to create collaborations with businesses who are working towards the same goals as you, by featuring them in your content or showcasing your causes together - which can help you reach a wider audience.
3. Involve your customers in giving back
Depending on how you give back, you might make your impact once a month, once a quarter or even once a year - which means it could be a long time between someone making a purchase from you and the impact of that purchase coming to life. But that’s no reason not to tell them about it!
It’s often easier (and cheaper) to sell to a repeat customer than to attract and convert a completely new one - and communicating your impact with past customers is the perfect excuse to get back in touch with them again.
Consider sending an email campaign, or even handwritten thank you notes, that share the impact stories from your report with the people that helped you make them come true - your customers. Remind them what they purchased, how it helped and how they can help you make even more impact by sharing the story on their social media channels, leaving you a positive review or even making another purchase.
You’re working hard to make a positive impact, and although it may feel uncomfortable at first “using” your cause to make more sales - it’s important to remember that the more income you make, the more impact you make. Don’t be afraid to leverage your impact report to create more opportunities to tell your story, connect with your customers and win new business!
Sian Conway is an award-winning ethical marketing strategist, bestselling author, UK’s Green & Eco Influencer of the Year 2018 and Founder of Ethical Hour - the world’s first and largest online community for people who want to live and work more ethically.
She left the corporate marketing world in 2017 to focus on living a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle, and to help purpose driven businesses make more income and impact through coaching, strategy development, and her membership community for changemakers - where you can access tailored marketing training, support and like-minded friends and collaborators for an affordable monthly subscription.