Have you ever started recycling and then suddenly stopped at some point later? My guess is the only reason you would stop is because of an event. Maybe you moved into a new home or the recycling company made things more difficult. I don’t think you would have stopped without some type of external event. This seems pretty straightforward, so why are we talking about recycling? Because what’s interesting about this scenario is trying to remember why you started recycling in the first place.
This is tricky because humans often apply reasoning to things after the fact. What I mean is the real reason a person started something isn’t necessarily the reason that person will tell you why they started it. In the case of your recycling, maybe there was a free gift offered to start recycling and you really wanted that gift. So you started recycling, but why not stop after that?
Doing the Right Thing for the Wrong Reason is Still Good
You won’t stop, because doing so would harm the environment. And that is the very reason you will tell someone why you started recycling, not because of a free gift. You’ll even convince yourself it’s because of the environment. This is something we do all the time. We see a discount or cool product and we buy or accept the offer because we want it. Then we see the good that was done by our action and we tell ourselves that’s why we did it.
Another example is saving for retirement. We all know it’s important to do, but we can all explain away why we don’t contribute more of our income. However, if your company provided a one-time $1,000.00 bonus to your paycheck for increasing your retirement contribution to 15% of your income, doing so would be much more enticing. I think you know where we’re going with this. You would sign up because of the bonus, not because of responsibility to your future self. A few years down the road, you would tell yourself you are contributing 15% of your income to retirement because you are responsible. Whatever you tell, yourself, you’re very unlikely to reduce this amount.
It’s a Responsibility
So what are we to do as business owners, entrepreneurs, marketers, etc.? Well, we know people want to feel like they are doing good and we know they will be more likely to start doing good by getting something of value. Don’t think we’re duping people here. People want your product and they want to do good. It is your responsibility to provide them the chance for both. Many businesses have figured out how to make this work and are quite successful.
To do this yourself, find something you’re passionate about and set up a give back program. To really drive this home, you should offer a one-time introductory price to customers for your best product. Then, let those customers know what their purchase did for the community, environment or cause. What will happen is purchasing customers will convince themselves they purchased because of the giving side of your business. They will be very unlikely to stop supporting you and your cause.