Part 3 of 3 – 10 Online Marketing Strategies For Non-Profit Organizations

By: Nick Damoulakis, Orases
| JPD Guest Blogger

Read part one of this 3-part series, 10 Online Marketing Strategies For Non-Profit Organizations (Part 1 of 3)

Read part two of this 3-part series, 10 Online Marketing Strategies For Non-Profit Organizations (Part 2 of 3)

Non-profit organizations don’t usually have the same resources that their for-profit counterparts tend to enjoy. Online marketing opportunities, however, give NPOs an edge because users appreciate the chance to be associated with good causes and are willing to let that affiliation be known. Below are my final recommendations for implementation and analysis actions items that will take awareness of your organization’s goals and needs to the next level.

8) Go mobile.
Forrester research’s latest report (January 2011) finds that consumers will spend over $1billion in online transactions for 2011. Your website should have a mobile presence that works on the top mobile platforms such as iPhone, Android and Blackberry. In addition to creating a mobile site, text messaging campaigns are becoming the new norm and, in some cases, slowly replacing newsletters. The New York Times stated, via research from a cell-carrier, that 97% of all marketing messages are opened and 83% are opened in the first hour. These statistics are too powerful for any organization to ignore and speak to the need to include this kind of approach in your overall marketing plan. Text-message marketing can be used for events, donations, promotions and even important news updates. Companies like MobiQpons offer great options to start incorporating this strategy.

Keep in mind that mobile phone numbers are considered extremely personal and, as such, are well-guarded—more so than email addresses or home phone lines. Make sure your users opt in for this kind of contact and that your organization uses it sparingly.

9) Monitor your brand continually.
Nothing is more important than knowing how your organization is being perceived online. Brand monitoring is a way to find out where conversations are being had and what is being said about your firm. Following social media sites along with other blogs and websites will enable you to keep a close tab on your organization’s online persona. While some tools are free, you will need to find a mixture of monitoring tools to really help you get a full picture. Below are a few resources we find work best on a limited budget:
  • Google Alerts: email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.
  • Techrigy: A software solution designed specifically for PR and marketing agencies to monitor and measure social media.
  • Google Reader: web-based feed reader to keep up with blogs and news.
  • Twitter: Search Twitter in real time – see what the world is saying right now.
Don’t forget that these tools can also help you keep an eye on your competitors and stay current on other industry topics. What you find can provide you with opportunities to plug your organization’s comparative strengths, placing you on a level playing field. I call this reverse brand monitoring and it works like a champ.

10) Track your progress.
Once you have built a strategy with all the options detailed above, and have started implementing it, make sure you put methods in place to track and analyze traffic. Google Analytics (GA) is a great tool to help you measure your advertising ROI as well as to track video, social networking sites’ reach and usage of particular applications. Use this free service to build goals in your GA dashboard and send yourself weekly comparison reports of the traffic on your website. By tracking your organization’s and visitors’ activity, you will be able to make better decisions as to where to best spend your organization’s time and direct your online efforts.

Whether you use all 10 of the strategies I’ve described or just a few, it is critical that your organization’s effort is sustained over an extended period for the most return on your and our supporters’ time investment. As with any marketing strategy, a steady approach will create the opportunity for a steady following, and ultimately, a steady stream of online conversation about you. And as new online marketing opportunities present themselves—and they will—be flexible and ready to try different methods of reaching out, branding on new platforms, and empowering your users to be your voice on the World Wide Web.


Part 2 of 3 – 10 Online Marketing Strategies For Non-Profit Organizations

By: Nick Damoulakis, Orases
| JPD Guest Blogger

Read part one of this 3-part series, 10 Online Marketing Strategies For Non-Profit Organizations (Part 1 of 3)

Non-profit organizations continually face an up-hill battle for funding and support. In part 2 of this 3-part series, I share some additional tips on how organizations can connect with their audience and make getting the word out about their cause and needs a lot less dependent on internal resources, and much more enticing and easy for online users to carry out on behalf of their favorite non-profit.

4) Make email newsletter sign-up simple, easy and prominent.
Newsletters are key for non-profits to deliver news to members who have opted in for regular updates about the organization. Make sure your sign-up form is simple and easy to you use. The call to action should say “Sign Up” or “Join our Newsletter” instead of the generic “Go” or “Submit” buttons commonly seen. The newsletter area should also tell the user what they are signing up for. For example, a brief description could read “Learn more about our news and events with our monthly online newsletter” or “Keep up to date with our bi-weekly digital newsletter.” We have found that asking for just an email address versus a first name, last name and email will generate more opt-ins.

Once the user signs up, direct them to a page that confirms their request to receive the newsletter, thanks them for subscribing, and gives them the option of viewing the current newsletter along with other information about your organization. You could also provide a link so the member can instantly Tweet or share on Facebook about having signed up and can encourage others to do the same. Make sure the font in the text field is large enough to read, so the email is entered correctly.

5) Be consistent and timely.
If there is one thing that makes a great website, newsletter, user interface or digital outreach program outstanding, it is consistency. Consistency is critical for users to believe in the organization and build trust. If a user signs up for a monthly newsletter, your organization needs to deliver. If your firm plans to implement a social media strategy, it must be consistent, interactive and ongoing. Most importantly, if you plan on having news and information on your homepage, make sure your news is fresh and not more than two weeks old. Consistency and timely content are critical for making users trust that your non-profit is active and working hard to serve the community.

6) Simplify the online donation process.
The number 1 request from non-profits is a LARGE donation button. Donation buttons are great, but keep in mind many users still send in checks or want to provide other means of giving a donation. After all, when was the last time your non-profit received a $100,000 donation via a website? What about a person who cannot give financially, but is willing to volunteer time? Make sure your donation page clearly gives your users those options. With that said, always keep the process simple and with as few steps as possible. A user should be able to donate in less than 3 steps. Once a user donates, give the user the opportunity to access Facebook to talk about the donation or link to Twitter to tweet about how s/he supports a particular non-profit. Similar to an endorsement, this will encourage others to donate online knowing that the recommendation to do so came from a familiar and trusted source.

7) Create viral programs.
Viral programs are a great way to raise awareness about your non-profit. They are a form of marketing in which you use social media to promote your cause by allowing users to easily replicate your message or carry out your requested action, and prompt others to do the same. As stated earlier, brand enthusiasts are great for creating and syndicating content about your non-profit. To create a viral campaign, simply offer a one-click or extremely easy method to help users share information about your non-profit. These programs, for instance, ask users to change their avatar or profile picture on a particular social networking site. Others might place a badge or share button on an engaging story that your non-profit supplies. Whether you are planning on promoting your organization or a particular event, viral programs are a great way to let others spread awareness about you.

The web is a great resource that provides organizations with tools that not just reach out, but as discussed above, are tried-and-true means of letting users reach in. In my final post, I’ll look at trends and best practices that will help organizations understand and measure why online marketing efforts pay off.

Stay tuned, next Tuesday JPD_adchat and Nick Damoulakis will bring you part 3 of 3 of 10 Online Marketing Strategies for Non-Profit Organizations