Internet marketing should be considered a true art. Also called digital marketing, the term is actually complex which can lead to confusion and even misleading information. So let’s begin with a definition: Internet marketing is the skill and art of capturing the attention and interest of one or more specific groups of internet users, identified and targeted according to one’s unique needs through specific distribution channels. Or, even simpler, internet marketing is the art of promoting, branding, and selling products and services in the online environment.
The use of specific resources such as human force or digital tools as means to improve the performance of the marketing process is also an essential component of the entire internet marketing “equation.”
Using digital marketing effectively has direct implications for nonprofits. Harold Carves, Marketing Manager at AustralianEssays relates, “As you may clearly see, the world is becoming a digitalized environment in all aspects. For nonprofits to thrive in this competitive marketplace, internet marketing knowledge is required. No matter what type of nonprofit organization you run, be convinced that your prospects are spending time online, on social media, Facebook, YouTube, and on various websites and blogs.”
Therefore, if you want your organization to be noticed by the right people, the ones who are passionate, interested, and genuine, you must invest time where your target audience spends their time. This basically means that you must leverage the best internet marketing methods and strategies to become present and noticed in your niche sphere.
In today’s post, we’ll explore the 5 most effective internet marketing methods that will help nonprofit organizations take their mission to the next level. These could be considered the “fields” of internet marketing. Understand how each field works and then you’ll understand the big picture. Let’s get started.
Content is everywhere and it’s really the most important component of any internet marketing strategy. Think about it – in order to publish something online, you have to use language. You can write it or speak it, publish blog posts, podcasts, or videos – it doesn’t matter because it’s all content. Therefore, you must understand that every piece of content that you develop and publish must follow an effective promotion strategy. That’s why we call it content marketing.
Assuming that you’ve already created a professional website that showcases your cause, or you’re in that process right now, think about what would “touch” or impress your target audience the most. Everybody is approachable as long as your approach is well-thought-out. You should aim to make it as emotional as you can – maybe a problem, a need, a belief, an attitude, a desire, a craving. You have to find out what they think about and care about the most and use that knowledge to properly craft your content marketing strategy.
A content marketing strategy is basically a well-written plan that includes the development, publishing, and the marketing of future content. Great content marketing strategies also take the branding factor into consideration; all content is aligned with the brand’s mission and concise objectives.
Social Media Marketing
Social media networks are the current “big thing.” According to a recent study, 76% of the US population actively uses at least one social media network. Moreover, 26% of the world’s population uses Facebook, and one-third of millennials have stated that social channels are the best way to communicate with organizations, whether profit or nonprofit.
The impact of social media channels is hard to miss. No matter what cause you’re promoting, you should definitely leverage social media marketing to improve the awareness of your organization, spread your message far, and eventually acquire “leads.” In a nonprofit organization’s case, leads represent the recruiting of supporters who are willing to contribute to the cause. Develop an exceptional profile on each of the social media channels that you decide to focus on. Ideally, you should choose one to three social networks depending on your specific target audience and also on your organization’s specific culture and needs.
Your content marketing strategy should be expressed through social media. You should view social media primarily as a front-line for first time interactions. All the content you post on your website should also be effectively promoted on your social channels. Improve your followers base by sharing great content and, in time, people will remember your organization’s name and they’ll come back every time you call upon them.
Lastly yet very importantly, you should treat social media like the driver who slowly drives the passenger (the user) to your nonprofit website. That is the place where you and your potential supporters can start developing a relationship based on trust, value, and respect.
Build a list as soon as you possibly can, or you’ll regret it forever. That’s what most of today’s successful digital marketers suggest, and they do so for a very good reason. As I mentioned in the previous subheading, social media channels are more like an environment to interact and communicate with random internet users for the first time, letting readers know that they must pay attention to your work.
E-mail channels allow for a more complex type of communication. Building a list allows you to grow and nurture 1-on-1 relationships with each of your supporters. With the use of email autoresponders, you can easily schedule and send your emails by simply deciding what emails to send, at what times, and to what segments of your list.
Building an email list is not hard. You must provide something valuable first, so people will have a reason to want to join your email list. Offer a free e-book, promise exclusive information through email, or simply engage your prospects and ask them to join your goldmine newsletter.
Develop an email marketing strategy by establishing the content you’ll send, the events you’ll promote, the interval and sequencing of your emails, and so on.
Forum marketing is the easiest type of marketing as it doesn’t require anything but time, knowledge, and persistence. In simple terms, forum marketing is the practice of generating targeted traffic from niche forums by commenting on different threads and topics.
Leave a valuable, helpful, or interesting reply that can prompt readers who find your comment useful to contact you for a fuller explanation or insight into related topics. Link your comments back to your nonprofit website so readers become informed about your mission and can become potential members and supporters.
A good thing to remember: forum marketing is not about spamming your nonprofit’s content and pages. It’s about developing a great reputation in specific niche forums so your organization improves its credibility and trust in the public eye.
Internet marketing is both a skill and an art. To truly master it, you must commit to understand the basics and then continue with your study. Indeed, this is a study, and you’ll be surprised how challenging it gets (in a positive way). Keep this one last thing in mind: to generate real results, your knowledge must always be put into implementation. Be consistent, work hard and smart, and never give up!
Howard Robson is a blogger from Melbourne. Feel free to reach him at howard.robson8 at gmail.com.