Marketing is something that all business owners have to tackle, often from the very early stages when they may have just launched in the market. Entrepreneurs want to make the most of their budgets and connect with their potential audience by using effective marketing strategies so they can make the sales needed to grow their businesses, and hopefully put a few dollars back in their pockets. Today’s businesses are also putting more consideration into how they can use their platform to give back to their communities or to the charities that mean the most to them. These were the topics that we tackled in the fourth volume of Founders.

In addition to the highlight video included above, you can also watch the entire event here.

The attendees at the January Founders event got to learn from three local entrepreneurs about how marketing and social good has impacted their business strategy and what they have learned while growing their business. Our January panel included Hannah Cree, Founder of CMNGD, Shawn Freeman, CEO and Founder of TWT Group, and Lucy Dunne, Founder of Dunnebells.

Here are some of our favorite questions from the evening:

Question 1: How do you decide which charities or organizations you are going to support?

Lucy – I actually give the money to my clients, they are all gifted funds that they can give to the charity of their choice. I use a platform that requires the companies to be a registered charity, and then if the client isn’t sure, my charity is highlighted there so they can always select that.

Question 2: How do you involve your staff and get them involved while balancing getting the work done?

Shawn – Part of it is just teaching them that it’s okay to take a break and give back, the work will still be there when they get back. Even if it’s something that we plan, like our Stampede party, when they see how much we can raise it helps them feel proud of the effort.

Question 3: Can social good be a good marketing engine?

Lucy – The simple answer is yes, but I think there are so many companies out there starting to introduce it for the wrong reasons. My personal belief is that passion trumps all, and if you’re actually passionate about giving back, then that trumps the organizations who are just doing it for the marketing.

Hannah – Social good works well because there’s emotion and a story, it’s about what people care about so it’s actually great marketing. What Lucy is referring to is that it then it has to match us and make sense to our customers and values, it has to be about more than just writing a check. If you’re not authentic and you’re not doing it for the right reasons you will be found out.

Question 4: If you had just $10,000 to spend on your advertising where would you spend the money?

Shawn - Dial in on your product and know what you offer and what you’re really good at then spend time building content and making relationships. Share useful information that people can take and use and run with. The key with building relationships is to plant the seed well before you need it, if I have a beer with someone tomorrow, I’m not planning to do business with them for two years.

Hannah - I think you need to know where your customers are, it’s a bit different for us because restaurant owners and chefs are busy, and they are not on a lot of social media. We found that we have to walk in when the restaurant isn’t busy, sit down, have lunch, and talk to the staff.

Lucy - Right now, Facebook. Over 60% of my business comes from social media, it’s crazy what you can do with targeting. Throw a bit of money at it and see what sticks. I would recommend starting with $20 a day for 14 days to test things and then check Facebook to see what worked well and what didn’t.   

Question 5: If you were to start over again, from the marketing side, what is the one piece of advice you have?

Hannah - I think too many people wait until they’re ready and perfect, they wait for way too long and they don’t do simple things like collect email addresses.

Shawn – I call it proof of concepting, work with your initial clients and ask them what they think and what they need out of your initial offering.  

Lucy – Invest, I sat on things for way too long when I started the company trying to keep the overhead as low as possible. There are certain investments I should have made, like an app, before I wasn’t really thinking about the customer experience and I ended up sitting on investment for too long that would benefit my customer’s experience.

A huge thank you to The Ace Class for being our event partner in this series and helping us share these entrepreneurial stories with everyone. We hope to see everyone at the upcoming events!

Don’t miss out on these upcoming Founders events, there are only two events left! You can purchase tickets at the links below:

Monday, February 25thTechnology

Monday, April 8thAsk Us Anything