You’re busy doing important work. Your nonprofit exists to meet a need, solve a problem, and contribute to a cause. It’s easy to put something like getting strategic about marketing your nonprofit on the backburner. We get it.
Here’s the thing though, it’s vital to your continued ability to positively impact your cause.
Putting pen to paper and creating a marketing strategy for your nonprofit can pay off in big ways—including saving you time down the road. It’s a road map for your online presence. Should you create a Facebook account? What should you write about on your blog? Is spending the time and energy to create some videos for your latest initiative really a good idea? A well-crafted marketing strategy will answer these sorts of questions for you.
There’s a lot to consider when planning out the best way to market your nonprofit online. We’ve compiled the big pieces you’ll want to think about when planning out your approach.
Your tagline, that one-liner summarizing who your nonprofit is and what you’re all about it, should capture the essence of your work. It doesn’t need to include every single service you provide, or mention every need you’re meeting. It just needs to get the gist of your nonprofit’s reason for existing across.
A tagline may not seem like a big deal. It’s one sentence. But, it goes a long way in establishing your nonprofit’s brand. It clarifies your overall message.
It’s important to know how you fit into your cause’s landscape. What other organizations are doing similar work? And, how do you compare? What makes you different from those nonprofits? What are you strengths and weaknesses as an organization?
Being able to answer questions like these will help you determine the best approach for making your voice heard in the crowd.
Knowing which people you want to reach is important. Who’s interested in supporting the type of work you do? What people have a stake in your cause? All of your online efforts should be aimed at engaging and building relationships with these people.
Once you know your target audience, things feel less directionless. You’ll be able to keep these people – their wants, needs and preferences – top of mind as you make marketing decisions moving forward.
Your nonprofit has organizational goals. It’s important to align your marketing strategy with these goals. Its purpose is to help you achieve them, after all.
We’re big on data-driven decision making over here, so we recommend planning what data you’ll use to determine and track your progress in achieving your goals. Boosting fundraising, increasing the number of volunteer signups, and ramping up event registrations are all examples of tangible goals you can track.
Set concrete goals based on your historical data. Be ambitious, but realistic. Focus on the goals that will truly benefit your organization in a clear and compelling way.
There are a lot of options when it comes to online marketing channels. Websites, blogs, SEO, email marketing and social media are some of the bigger players in the nonprofit sector, and should definitely be included in your marketing strategy. All of these channels are a great way to drive the right people to your organization using inbound marketing. By providing your target audience with content that is valuable to them, you’ll pique their interest and inspire them to start engaging with your organization.
It’s important to think about how these different channels will work together. What role does each play in your larger strategy? These channels should take a unified approach in driving towards your overall marketing goals.
Think of your website as the mother ship of your online marketing channels. Nearly every other channel drives potential supporters to your website. Your site needs to inspire visitors to take meaningful actions aimed at achieving the goals established in your marketing strategy.
We advocate your blog live on your website not only for a more seamless user experience, but for the SEO benefit to your site. It exists to provide your community with valuable content in the form of news updates, volunteer stories, event promotions, insight into your work and more.
Blogs are often the entry point to a website, and even an organization, for people. By filling yours with helpful content, you’ll create a resource visitors will come to trust. And, the more visitors trust your organization, the more likely they are to support you.
Search Engine Optimization
Optimizing content with targeted phrases helps drive more visitors to your website from search engines. It also helps get the right people on your site by using keyword phrases members of your target audience might search for on a search engine like Google.
Email is way to distribute valuable content you’ve created for members in your community. It’s a way to not only establish trust and credibility with potential supporters, but a way to drive interested people back to your website in the hopes of continuing to engage with them.
Social media is a great way to share your content with people who aren’t checking your website on a regular basis. It’s also an opportunity to share useful, relevant resources you come across with your community and engage in conversation around your work. The more you provide people with things that prove valuable to them, the more likely they are to engage with your organization.
Hopefully, we’ve inspired you to start thinking about investing in a more strategic approach to your online marketing. Developing an online marketing strategy definitely takes time and thought, but is well worth the effort. By thinking through things like your target audience and where you fit in with other nonprofit’s offering similar services, you’ll be able to more effectively and efficiently utilize the different marketing channels at your disposal.
Do you have a nonprofit online marketing strategy in place? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
And, if this post has you thinking you’d like to start a conversation about how you can improve your current online marketing efforts, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to hear from you.