One of the biggest challenges that non-profit organization face when planning to implement a marketing strategy is MONEY. Especially when the goal is to grow and to do more for less--creating impact having as a goal social and environmental causes, rather than financial gain, and reducing the marketing budget. It seems impossible to make these two worlds match, make valuable changes, help society and, at the same time, develop a strong marketing strategy. However, believe it or not, it is not so impossible to leverage a cost-effectively marketing strategy.
The secret is in twisting the common idea that we have of Digital Marketing, and think outside of the box!
You are probably asking yourself: Ok, but how?
The answer is IN-BOUND MARKETING.
In a world where you GO DIGITAL OR GO HOME, it has become even harder for non-profit organizations to establish an online presence, increase awareness and reputation, and attract new members. People paradoxically have become more disconnected and feel overwhelmed by the number of messages and advertisements that organizations push towards them. The most significant opportunity, Digital Marketing, is also becoming the biggest challenge for organizations; this is why it is not sustainable anymore to invest in out-bound marketing.
76 percent of 1500 Non-Profit leaders declared that their messages "some-what" relate to the target audience, or not at all. This phenomenon resembles the first mistake organizations make. They try to get the message out to as many people as possible using out-bound marketing strategies such as direct email, paid mailing lists, and advertising. The secret here is to change the marketing perspective. Instead of pushing a message to a broad audience, you create appealing content for a restricted target audience, which will pull this audience towards your organization. Therefore, it is fundamental to strive for quality instead of quantity and implement an in-bound strategy.
Here are few tips on how to establish a robust in-bound strategy for a non-profit organization:
1. DEFINE YOUR TARGET
Non-profit organizations tackle specific causes that appeal to a reduced amount of people. This is why it is essential to have a clear picture of who your target audience is, and what kind of message appeals to this audience the most.
To have a clear idea of who your target audience is and what its needs and wants are, it is crucial to building a persona. Thus, characters that resemble your target audiences (donors, members, partners, volunteers) the most. These fictional characters are going to become your best friends as they help you understand from the bottom of your hearth your audience.
To develop a persona, you have to impersonate the role of a detective fully. Investigate in every possible way what your audience likes; for example: where do they live, and how much they earn.
Here is the step you need to follow when creating a persona:
Once you have identified your persona, you are going to understand who can be an influential member, volunteer, or possible donor of your organization, and who won't.
2. CREATE TARGETED CONTENT
Once you have identified your audience profile, you can understand what attracts them the most. Therefore, it is crucial to create tailored messages that are meaningful to them by creating content that answers to their wants and needs.
Make sure that your message is relevant in terms of time by continuously monitoring how your audience needs change over time, and what are the hot topics in your sector.
How do you do that?
The answer is one by continually researching. Ask your audience questions to get insights and always try to be updated on what is going on outside. It is essential to adjust your content over time. Personalize it based on the insights that you gather by tracking your audience's engagement with your previous messages. Therefore, it is always beneficial to keep track of the analytics, which will help you detect whether your content is relevant and current.
Remember to find the context that your audience can relate to, develop an editorial calendar that tackles what your audience likes, and what is more relevant for them is a specific time of the year. Last but not least, always curate your content and make sure that it is of high quality.
3. INTEGRATE SEO
SEO is an inevitable component of a successful marketing strategy. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a technique that helps potential tour audience find you when they search on the internet. How? If used will SEO will allow your website to rank higher on the search engine making it more visible to people.
SEO's three pillars are:
A good in-bound marketing strategy is long-term and requires a lot of reserach and learning. Still, it is a great methodology to make your organization grow without investing a lot of money.
If you you are an organization that aims at creating a positive social and environental impact, and you want help in transforming challenges into opportunity, you can contact us by email. 180 Degrees Consulting is here to help you.
Master student of International Marketing and Brand Management at Lund University. The author holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a Minor in Entrepreneurship from John Cabot University, Rome, Italy. Besides her academic career, Federica one of the Co-Founder and Marketing Director at 180 Degrees Consulting Lund .