When considering your marketing campaign, have you considered cause marketing?
What Is Cause Marketing?
Cause Marketing is a collaboration between a for-profit business (i.e., your practice) and a nonprofit organization.
According to a Markstein survey, consumers expect companies—yes, even your practice—to be socially responsible. Your patients, like most of society, are concerned about the impact of businesses on society. To wit:
- 70% of consumers want to know how the businesses they frequent address social challenges.
- 46% of consumers report that they pay close attention to a brand’s actions.
The Benefits of Cause Marketing
- Increased referrals
Repeat patients come to your practice because they appreciate and value the results they receive there. While some of your patients do refer others to you, the percentage of referrals is likely to increase if you involve yourself in causes that are dear to the hearts of your patients. Do you have patients that are cancer survivors, for example? Aligning yourself with a cause such as breast cancer, childhood cancer or other diseases such as MS, dementia, autism and the like show your shared concern about this issues.
You will also increase your patient traffic by participating in events sponsored by a nonprofit, such as a silent auction, bikeathon or other event. See more ideas below about how to increase your visibility at these events.
- Good Citizen Marks
Your contribution to the greater societal good puts you above others in your market and shows your patients—and the public—that you aren’t in business just to “make a buck,” but to contribute to the community you serve. This is great PR!
- Boosting Employee Morale
Your employees may have a cause that’s important to them. Have you ever asked them about that? You don’t have to select a dozen nonprofits to pair with, just one or two is enough. Ask your staff if they are involved with a nonprofit and think about contacting one or two to discover the potential opportunities for mutual benefit.
- Cause marketing also increases brand awareness and exposure for the nonprofit(s) that you pair with.
Nonprofit entities generally have a very limited budget for marketing and partnering with them can dramatically expand community awareness with individuals they might not otherwise influence.
How to Create a Successful Cause Marketing Campaign
- Identify your cause
Finding a nonprofit that reflects your values is important. In your vertical, breast cancer nonprofits provide an obvious pairing. However, it doesn’t have to be simply contributing to your local breast cancer organization, as there likely are other entities that support women with breast cancer, such as nonprofits that provide rides to treatments, that provide special bras to mastectomy patients, or temporary household help to women undergoing cancer treatment.
Knowing your practice demographic is an important part of choosing one or more nonprofits to work with. What are your patients’ demographics? Do they tend to be older, or younger? Parents or retirees?
Again, ask your patients and staff to tell you about the nonprofit entities with which they have an affiliation. Perhaps they sit on the board or otherwise participate.
Keep an eye on the news. What’s happening in your area about which the community is aware and concerned?
What Can You Contribute to Cause Marketing?
While supporting a nonprofit financially is the most obvious way, it is also be the least obvious to the public. Here are some ideas for you:
- Participate in their events
This is, by far, the most bang for the buck, so to speak. Most nonprofits have an annual event to which you can contribute. If they have a silent auction as part of the event, donate a gift basket. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of attendees will see your practice name repeatedly as they circle the table of items. This creates “stickiness,” so that when they see your practice advertised elsewhere it gives them a warm and fuzzy feeling that you went out of your way to support a cause that’s important to them.
- Be sure to leave brochures in a nice stand so people can take them.
- Offer to donate gift certificates for each goody bag. Don’t worry: less than a handful of attendees will use them but, again, it fosters name recognition. A facial if your aesthetician does them or a discount on Botox or fillers, are options that hit the highest number of targets.
- Remember, attendees at nonprofit events are often the highest echelon of the community in terms of income.
- Attend the event! Visibility is just as important as your contribution.
Involve Your Staff
If it’s a bikeathon or similar outdoor event, ask employees to participate in it with you. Create a team and let patients know they can “sponsor” your team. Put the info out on social media, in your newsletters or other communications with patients. Create a poster and place it in the waiting area for all to see. Make flyers and attach them to patient receipts. In other words, make patients know you’re involved!
- Monetary contributions should be creative
Think about a promotion in which your practice donates $X to the nonprofit for every sale you make on a specific service or product. For example, if you choose a breast cancer charity, donate $X for every breast procedure you perform in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
- Involve your patients
Make sure your audience has the opportunity to join in your cause marketing campaign by posting repeatedly on social media and/or creating a custom page on your website. Ask them to donate, to share your info on their social media pages and to participate in the event with you.
- Co-promote with your nonprofit
The campaign will likely be more successful if both your practice and your nonprofit partner are promoting it.
- Create a press release and send it to all the news outlets in the area, including the “rag” newspapers, TV and radio stations, and local bloggers.
- Be sure it’s mentioned in the nonprofit’s communications with their audience.
- Use the nonprofit’s logo in your marketing of the event.
Doing the work above will help ensure that both you and the nonprofit will benefit.
Cause Marketing has multiple benefits, is generally easy to manage, and will bring attention to you and your practice. Don’t neglect this important and inexpensive way to promote your practice to your greater community.