Marketing a social enterprise on a shoe-string budget

 
 
Jane, with Joanne Malin at Radio WM
Jane, with Joanne Malin at Radio WM

Evenbreak exists to help inclusive employers and disabled job seekers find each other. So the challenge is to make those two groups of people aware that we exist. The task is the same for any small business, whether profit-making or otherwise. As a small not-for-profit social enterprise the challenge is to find ways of raising awareness in as many different ways as possible and for as little financial outlay as possible! Some strategies are aimed at attracting disabled candidates, some at attracting employers and others will work for both.

In order to attract disabled candidates we have relationships with all the agencies and charities that help disabled people into work (Remploy, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the Shaw Trust, the Richmond Fellowship and many others) to access all the candidates they are working with. We recognise ‘tho, that most disabled people won’t necessarily have contact with those agencies, so we are in many online and offline forums for disabled people, e.g. the Association for Disabled Professionals and Phab, and groups on LinkedIn and facebook. I have also written articles which have been published in the main disability magazines, such as Disability Now, Enable, British Deaf News, Disability, and I write a regular column for Posability magazine. I also give talks and have stands at various colleges and other venues/conferences where disabled people might be. A regular e-bulletin is sent to registered candidates to ensure ongoing engagement.

Similarly, we use a range of strategies to engage with inclusive employers. We have a group called Employing Disabled People on LinkedIn. A number of articles have been published on and offline in places such as HR Zone, HR Magazine, Recruitment International, HR Director and writing guest blogs for other sites. We write to, email and telephone people and we had the fantastic launch event at the House of Commons last month. Various press releases are sent out when we have something important to say. We send out e-bulletins to an opt-in list of employers.

Some media can be used for both audiences. Social media is a great way of involving people – we have a page on facebook and a twitter account (@evenbreak). We have been interviewed on a number of radio programmes, including our local community radio station, Bridge radio, and our regional BBC programme, Radio WM. We work hard with SEO to keep the Evenbreak high on google for a range of key phrases, and of course, we have this blog!

So – do you have any ideas about how we could raise awareness of Evenbreak to those two groups of people – inclusive employers and disabled job seekers? I’d love to hear your suggestions – the more creative the better!

11 thoughts on “Marketing a social enterprise on a shoe-string budget

  1. Your doing lots already – writing articles etc. But a couple of suggestions to gain maximum use from your marketing activities :

    * produce a regular online newsletter and/or twitter paper and include reader contributions and articles you produce. And it could include current job vacancies.
    * Have this newsletter (or e-bulletin) accessible from your site.

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  2. You seem to be doing many of the right things already! The only opportunity I can think of that isn’t already on your list is YouTube – the world’s second largest search engine.

    Video is the online medium of choice for many people, especially when the videos are no more than 1 or 2 minutes long.

    You can set up your own YouTube channel – just log in with your Google account – and upload videos with a keyword-rich description and tags. This should help your visibility and search engine rankings even more.

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  3. I agree with having a Youtube channel. It has been said that in five years’ time 95% of search will be video.

    I think case studies work really well in your business. Certainly the real life stories at the launch event were very inspiring.

    I think you’ve got a really good marketing plan in place, Jane. The key is to keep the actions regular. It’s easy to be busy for a few weeks and the marketing falls by the wayside.

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    1. In Canada, Disability is not paid thourgh a job but thourgh the government and is available to anyone. However, it is very difficult to get on, and most people are denied at least once before being approved.

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  4. My aim is to have videos with vignettes of lots of different people with different disabilities doing a wide range of jobs – to challenge the stereotypes around what disabled people can and can’t do. This is what any surplus income will go towards. At the moment there is no budget for this, but hopefully by the end of the second year we can commission videos, arrange conferences and do all the other activities I’d like to do – not just to promote Evenbreak, but to raise awareness of the benefits of employing disabled people generally.

    I hope to put some footage of the launch event on YouTube soon, which will start this ball rolling – thanks again for your suggestions!

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  5. Agreed, there are more ways than ever to market a social enterprise or small business on a shoe string.It’s all about being creative and proactive.

    I regularly deliver Making Lemonade motivational workshops to disabled job seekers and I tell them about Evenbreak and have your website sent out in the follow-up information.

    It’s all about networking and supporting each other. Personally, I am delighted that Evenbreak exists so I can shout about you where I can.

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