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How Should Non-Profits Use Digital Marketing?

Brand 15th Oct 2014

Hello. Today I just want to do a quick video regarding how a non-profit should use digital marketing and what it can actually do for them. Traditionally, charities and non-profits are quite still centred or seem to be centred around telephoning people, traditional mail, TV advertising, events, stuff like that.

Now that’s all good, but obviously times have moved on, and digital is quite a big deal these days. It has a lot of benefits for any business, but obviously in your non-profit situation, you need to be maximising on every piece of marketing you can do and obviously cutting costs wherever you can. Digital can play a really big role in that. It’s a ever-changing landscape, which I think has put some non-profits off a little bit. Sometimes the mentality is a little bit on the old school side, but more and more seem to be coming around. There’s more digital going on, but maybe a bit fearfully, or as in these companies aren’t quite exactly sure what they should be doing. So we thought we’d just go over a few bits and pieces for them.

Now the first thing is website optimisation, obviously what we guys do. How your site reacts to people, what their user experience is can have a massive impact on what they actually do next regardless of how they feel about the cause that they’re looking into. A good user experience, nice, clear, clean, crisp pages, good imagery, an easy site to use, to navigate to find what you’re looking for will make a massive difference to how far people go. If they find that they’re getting confused or they’re not quite sure what they should be doing, or they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll go, they’ll disappear very quickly, and that’s true for any website.

Your message needs to be really clear as well. So whatever it is you do, big, front centre, make sure everybody know what’s going on, there’s no questions about it. People will be researching. They’ll be looking to see how we perform, how you behave, what sort of code of conduct you use, all that sort of business. So keep everything really, really obvious.

Also, your website is obviously the main point for your marketing strategy, so make sure people will see what can be achieved if they help you. Push them towards the goal that you’re trying to get them to. Show them what you’ve done so far with X amount of money, or with X volunteers, or X whatever the subject matter is, and show what can be done next if you were to just get this next step farther and really sort of encourage them to head for where you want them to be.

Content is the next thing. Content is probably more important for non-profits than maybe even anybody else. Your story, what you do, whether it’s sharable, whether people are going to like it, whether people are going to read it is absolutely vital. Obviously, if you had like an industrial site or something website, people know what they’re getting. They’re researching a certain thing, and they go, “Yeah, this forklift does exactly what I want it to do,” etc., etc. But it’s an emotional journey with a non-profit. You need to be really capturing people’s imagination, inspire them, make them want to share it, make them want to tell people about it, and obviously most importantly make them want to get involved.

So your content strategy needs to be very well thought out, very well planned, and very well done. If you don’t have the time or maybe there’s nobody particularly on the team, if you’re small, that can do proper content, like proper sharable, professional content, you may want to look at outsourcing that because it is absolutely vital. Storytelling, as I say, biggest thing.

Again, with the content side of things, video is massive for non-profits. Say the TV adverts that guys like that would normally use, transfer them to video, put them online. They’re so much more sharable. A TV advert is great, but it’s not sharable. If you put it online, people can share it with their friends, their families, other people who might be interested. It might even go viral, you just never know.

The next thing is social presence. Some charities do, some charities don’t have very good pages on social media, such as Twitter, Google+ to point, and particularly Facebook. Facebook is a very much more personal situation than say Twitter or Google+. It’s not aimed at industry. It’s aimed at individuals. It has that emotional ties. That’s where you want to be.

By having a well maintained, well planned plan for Facebook, you are going to increase your reach and increase your followers very quickly and very well, if you apply all the things we’ve already talked about to it. If it’s run badly, same as anybody else, it won’t do a lot for you. This needs to be done well, and you need someone specifically dedicated to this sort of thing, who’s going to keep on top of it, who’s going to engage people, add new content, respond to people, replies to people’s questions and comments. It can’t be a tag on to somebody else’s job. We discussed this in previous videos. It just doesn’t work. Also, you’re increasing your social proof. Social engagement you’re just generally building a community around what it is you’re trying to do.

Next point is pay per click and remarketing. So paid advertising, obviously not necessarily going to be cheap, but certainly worth a look at, and particularly the remarketing side of it. With pay per click, what you’re really doing is while you’re trying to get your website optimisation all together and push your website up the rankings of what people are looking for, which is obviously quite competitive in that area, paid search will allow you to get tools at top of the first page quickly. It may be expensive, it may not. It would require a lot of research and a very well built campaign to maximise your efforts and minimise your cost, but it can be done.

The other side of this is the remarketing. So once people have seen your pay-per-click advert, they might go off to other websites, investigate other alternatives, but your remarketing advert will keep popping up wherever they go. So they might have looked at say Water Aid and like five other water based charities, but if you’re remarketing to them, they will keep seeing you coming up wherever they go. So you’re not going to be forgotten in that long list or that URL they looked at five days ago or something. You will keep popping up. They will keep seeing you, and you will stay in their mind. That can be a really effective way to get more people involved.

Next is email marketing, which I believe charities generally and non-profits are getting much better at. Your email marketing obviously goes out to people who have already signed up to you — we’re not talking about spamming people — people who are already involved. But email marketing obviously isn’t necessarily designed to bring on new people, because it’s not always going to, but it will encourage people to engage with you more. It will keep them more loyal. They’ll get that lovely warm feeling from seeing what it is you’ve done with their money and what you’ve achieved next. They may well send it on to other people. You can pop something at the bottom about getting them to encourage other people to join you or to refer people, etc., etc.

If you can put all of this together, what you should have is quite a good sort of digital plan. Keep referring back to your original goals and what it is you were trying to do in the first place, because you can very easily wander off. But if you can pull all that together, what you should see is obviously less administration, less manpower being required, a lot less spend compared to mail or phone calls and all that sort of business. It’s going to cut your admin cost. It’s going to cut your admin, and you should start seeing an increase in people donating, volunteering, boycotting, whatever it is you’re trying to do. If you can pull in a good digital strategy and tell people what it is you want them to do and make them passionate about it, for not very much money you should see an increase in whatever it is you’re trying to do.

I hope that helps. If you have any questions at all, obviously contact us at Koozai. You can find the details at the end of this video.

Laura Phillips
About the author

Laura Phillips

Laura has experience of SEO, PPC and Social Media both in-house and within an agency environment. Having worked across a variety of industries from travel to law, and retail to education she is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the search and social visibility of her clients across various platforms.

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