You’ve embarked on a journey to effect change in the life of an individual you were fortunate to meet. Your own life changed when you realized that individual’s potential to use her craft to sustain a better living for herself and her family was stifled by her local economy. Determined to be a help, you took action—making her your artisan partner and building relationship while learning all you could about her craft. You consumed endless volumes of content about consumer business and began leveraging that knowledge to give your artisan partner (and others like her) access to a broader market. You chose a company name, cobbled together your first logo and launched your social impact brand.
How do you get customers to feel some portion of what you felt for your artisan partner and her products? How do you convert that feeling to a purchasing action? And, once they purchase, how do you get them to share that act-inspiring feeling with those close to them?
Have hope. The answers are plentiful, I assure you. But being overwhelmed with heavy business books and brainy branding insights won’t help your artisan partner or social enterprise right now. So to encourage you and keep your business lean and growing, this week I’m sharing seven simple tips you can use to get customers and sustain impact.
1. Sell an amazing product.
Your journey as a social entrepreneur inspires awe—make sure its products do, too. Customers are yearning for something new and are drawn to unique offerings. Seek objective feedback on your product sketches, prototypes or finished pieces from people who don’t feel obligated to support you. Their unfiltered reactions can help you develop products that breathe fresh air into a crowded marketplace.
2. Know your purpose.
Confidence of purpose is magnetic. There’s an alluring quality to the behavior of an impact brand that suffers no crisis of identity. Spend time defining (in writing!) your purpose, mission, vision, values and short term goals. Knowing these things will inform your decisions and cause customers to perceive your impact brand as one worthy of their trust—and money!
3. Introduce your artisan partner.
Customers are moved by a good story and are more likely to buy from someone they at least feel like they know. Make sure you’re doing all you can to bring the market to the maker. Use imagery and video to tell customers your artisan partner’s story. Create short films that take customers through her process of crafting a product they can buy.
Bonus tip: For your first few films, you can do wonders with a $10 video app like FiLMiC Pro and your smartphone.
4. Tell your story, too.
From your first step to the third stumble to last week’s triumph as a social entrepreneur, this journey you’re on is a tale worth telling. One that will resonate with someone—enough someones to sustain the impact you set out to help achieve in your artisan partner’s life. Online, in print, in person—tell your own authentic story to connect more deeply with customers and inspire purchases.
5. Keep your promises.
Your social enterprise’s brand is defined by a batting average of kept promises. (I wrote about this last week.) An emotional record of stated, kept and broken promises is kept by your customers, shaping your reputation. Make sure you’re delivering on clearly-communicated promises, building an impact brand people know they can trust.
6. Don’t just deliver, delight!
Push past merely filing a customer’s need. Become a student of the need, observing it from every angle and tirelessly seeking ways to fill it delightfully with your product and your service. Attend to details like packaging, customer service and the customer’s overall experience when interacting with your social enterprise. Delightful experiences build preference and inspire social sharing.
7. Make hope visible.
When people gain sight of hope, they make choices that benefit generations. This is true on both sides of your social enterprise; the artisan’s and the customer’s. Draw customers to your social enterprise by sharing the overt benefit of your business. Make it plain to see. A social good that customers can easily see is an impact brand that customers can easily select.
By the way, have you seen the The Make Hope Visible Project?
Should I go on?
I want your impact brand to become irresistible and indispensable to 80% of your customers—or better. I want you helping that artisan, her family and her community in a way that inspires others to look for similar impact opportunities—internationally and locally. To that end, I’m willing to expand on any of these these seven simple tips.
Reach out to two fellow impact business leaders. If the three of you request I elaborate on any one of these tips, I’ll dedicate a future article to the topic, mentioning and thanking each of you.
Raising a compelling brand of social good is a team lift. You can do this. I’m here for you.