Digital Strategies for Community Businesses
During our latest Economic Exchange webinar, we shared different ways to shape and realise digital strategies for community businesses.
We reviewed strategic approaches to communications, and how to collect, manage and use stakeholder information using a range of digital tools and systems to better engage your community. To help achieve these outcomes, we also looked at funding options from Power to Change, and other sources.
Here are a few of the ideas we discussed…
Community businesses have an important responsibility to manage communications effectively:
- To engage their community –generate awareness, gather perspectives and evidence of market need and demand.
- To be accountable to their community – to gather people’s views, analyse and communicate the response to be visible and transparent.
- To market to their community – to showcase what’s on offer and generate sales with the public.
“No one better understands the problems of a local community than those who live there.”
Step 1 – Collect and Analyse Data – Building a picture of your digital customers, and how they behave is key:
By understanding who your digital customers are, you can provide effective content to reinforce your local identity, sell services and give local people a voice:
Digital data capture allows for flexibility of your data for analysis, segmentation and to help push out targeted, effective communications. Use data capture methods which feed straight into your CRM to save you time and money, and give reassurance that your data is stored safely and compliantly.
We looked at options for easy data capture, like creating online forms to feed data straight to your CRM system, offline forms via apps (which can be completed offline and uploaded once you’re able to connect to a Wifi network) and options to provide tablets to your volunteers – all with the intention of capture data to feed directly into your CRM. These are all solutions that we implement for clients at Salesforce CRM.
Step 2 – Engage – How to create effective content for your audience, and which channels to consider:
We discuss the importance of creating personalised digital communications to your local audience, how to approach digital communications, and the range of tools available to help you create relevant and engaging content which serves their needs, puts your business at the heart of the community, and ultimately helps your community business to thrive.
And we share our top tips for creating impactful digital campaigns:
- Collect and manage your data efficiently and securely with a digital tools and a CRM.
- Filter and analyse your data to segment and profile your digital audience
- Develop communication strategies for specific audiences and goals.
- Work with your digital community – share successes, news, ask for help, recruit
- Check the engagement rates of your stakeholders and adjust your strategy
- Integrate your digital and offline content (e.g posters, flyers etc)
- Plan your content – there are a lot of free digital tools available to create brilliant content
- Engage with a wide range of local people, businesses and other stakeholders
Talk to Economic Change about solutions for data capture and management of stakeholder information and communications using Salesforce CRM and integrated tools e.g e-marketing, online payments etc. Salesforce.org offer free and discounted licenses to non-profits. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Support and Funding
Charlotte Cassedanne, Communications Manager from Power to Change also talked through available funding. To keep up-to-date on funding news, you can sign up to their newsletter at powertochange.org.uk
You can view the full webinar recording here.