From the Mag: Building Bridges

Growing up in what was then a small town in the Southwest, there was always a crowd at Wilky’s Speed Shop. A feeling of camaraderie existed, but this wasn’t exclusive to our industry.

Bob’s Sporting Goods in Longview, Washington, for instance, has been in business since 1947, and each day hunters, fisherman, outdoor enthusiasts and bike riders congregate there.

In marketing terms, it’s called community outreach—an attempt to build bridges with the groups you impact. When interacting with your target audience, you want to connect with them in meaningful ways to grow participation and build sales.

Think of it as a way to engage your neighbors at times when they may not need what you have to offer. Outreach can be as simple as social media posts or appearing in a local newspaper, but today we’re going to delve into what happens when you devote time, space, staff and money to strengthen your outreach efforts.

Community outreach requires you to proactively create value for your community. If successful, the community will treat you as a respected resource. That’s where the importance of having and maintaining a good reputation comes into play.

Outreach isn’t about free money or giving away your services, but an effort by shops like yours to add benefits to your environment by incorporating all the resources and support you can provide and marketing your products and services by appealing to the goodwill of your neighbors.

Companies that engage in community outreach have found that these efforts help attract new customers, increase employee morale and promote a positive image in their neighborhoods. Think of it this way: Outreach rewards the community, and this in turn benefits your shop.

Let’s look at some retailers who have participated in community outreach, and the results of their altruism.

Click HERE to read the full article in the November issue of THE SHOP

Jason R. Sakurai

Jason R. Sakurai heads up Roadhouse Marketing, a marketing, advertising and sales solutions firm dedicated to the automotive aftermarket. A frequent contributor to THE SHOP, Jason’s byline appears in many enthusiast and trade publications, in print and online.

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