One of the fastest growing, and constantly changing ways that businesses AND nonprofit organizations have begun to market themselves is electronically - on websites, by the use of email, e-commerce and through Social Networking. Let's take a look at how nonprofit organizations can get up to speed and take full advantage of these exciting and effective marketing techniques that are quickly becoming the norm.
SOME RECENT STATISTICS TO CONSIDER
- Web traffic to nonprofits continues to expand. Average monthly Web site traffic grew year over year at a rate of 20 percent in 2008.
- E-mail file growth grew 28 percent from 2007 to 2008.
- Increase in number of gifts drives online revenue. Fourteen percent growth in online revenue was fueled by a 14 percent increase in the number of gifts nonprofit organizations received in 2008.
WEBSITES 101 - simple tips about your website
- Information should be kept current at all times
- Information should be easy to locate
- Include your web address on all of your marketing materials
Below is a list of elements for an EFFECTIVE WEB SITE: courtesy of Forbes.
- Who and What
- Just like declaring a thesis in a term paper, a Web site has to scream the basics at all who land there. Don’t leave people guessing.
- Front-and-Center Contact Info
- Give web surfers the information they’re searching for before they move on to find it more easily at a competitor. One easy step: Make sure your company’s contact information is conspicuous and ubiquitous throughout the site.
- Clear Path
- How often do you land on the right Web site but can’t find the right link or the right page? Simple solution: a tab on the home page called “I’m looking for...” with a drop-down menu including a bevy of the most visited links, pages and products.
- The old eight-second rule-the maximum time consumers generally wait while a site loads-has collapsed to the three-second rule according to Compuware. If you’re going past three seconds, de-gunk your home page, simplify your code or upgrade your servers.
- Some Sizzle, More Steak
- Flashy effects aren’t worth much without edifying content.
- The Drum Beat
- Humans can only process a limited number of facts at a time. Quickly highlight the company’s two or three most salient features and hammer those themes throughout the site. “This is your chance to tell people why your company is special,” says Cross.
- Clubby Atmosphere
- Educating visitors is a good start. Getting them to return again and again is the real trick. One technique: Make free feature available only to registered users. Those free and meaningful features require continual updates from customers-and that keeps coming back.
- Fresh content drives traffic two ways: It gets the attention of the search engines, and it keeps people coming back for more. Whatever you do, make it easy to update your site’s content says Shaun Walker, co-founder of DotNetNuke.
Some very basic information to provide your visitors:
- Donation information - How to donate and where the money goes.
- Donation appreciation - Follow-up thank you messages. Something simple like an email.
- How people can get involved - Volunteer information, contact information for your office, etc.
- Annual reports - Keep these up to date
- Newsletters and Upcoming events (but only if the site is maintained and the information is timely!).
USE WEBSITE TRACKING INFORMATION & STATISTICS
Marketing dollars are preciousand should be used to their fullest potential. Web tracking software is inexpensive but can provide valuable information about who visits your website. Trackers document the number of visitors to a site, indicate which links were most popular, what was downloaded, which page was most commonly exited. Trackers can monitor fundraising effectiveness and provide a comparative analysis ofpromotional campaigns, the success of press releases, and other services. Google Analytics is a great tool!
EMAIL 101 - ways to pump up your emails
There are many email services available - and some are free or at a considerable discount to nonprofit organizations. These services allow you to add your own logo, identifying graphics, color - other elements to call attention to your message. Online templates and support make this relatively easy to accomplish.
What's even better, these services also keep track of your mailing lists, update them automatically, separate and categorize your mailing lists- AND report back to you on how many of your emails are getting opened, who's email addresses are out of use, etc. All of this is very valuable information and will save YOU a lot of time.
Two well-known services today areConstant Contact - discounts to nonprofit organizations -- andVertical Response - free to nonprofit organizations. Your onlineresearch on the topic will turn up even more services you may want to try.
Get more information from The Basics of Email Marketing for NonProfits.
SOCIAL NETWORKING - What you should know about YouTube, Twitter, and FaceBook, others --- find out which one is for you...and how a nonprofit organization can use this marketing tool to its advantage.
Youtube - YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.
Facebook- Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. Facebook's mission to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting. Small bursts of information are called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters long—you can discover a lot in a little space. You can see photos, videos and conversations directly in Tweets to get the whole story at a glance, and all in one place.
Marketing Nonprofit Programs and Services:
Proven and Practical Strategies to Get More Customers, Members, and Donors
By Douglas B. Herron
Marketing Workbook for Nonprofit Organizations Volume II:
Mobilize People for Marketing Success
By Gary Stern
Fieldstone Alliance Press
Do – IT Yourself Marketing Research
By George Edward Breen
By Shell Horopito
AWM Books Press
Cause Related Marketing: Who Cares Wins
By Sue Adkins