No matter how noble your cause, if no one knows about your nonprofit, you won’t be able to achieve any of your lofty goals.
This is where strategic nonprofit marketing comes in.
To market your nonprofit online successfully, you need to have the right data, use the proper social channels, and the employ the correct tools. Here’s how to do all that.
Recommended reading: 10 Web Trends for New Generation Nonprofit Websites
What data do you have on your target audience?
Your nonprofit has access to a huge amount of information on your target audience. This data helps your nonprofit create targeted marketing campaigns, putting your nonprofit in front of the right people at the right time.
But to create successful campaigns, first you need to establish what data you already have on your target audience. Buying data can be costly and ineffective — try to source it first.
Firstly, your content management system keeps a record of customer data once you align it with Google Analytics (a free web-based analytics plugin).
As a minimum, you should collect information each time someone from your target audience:
- Visits your website — track the acquisition channel: was it search, social media, or direct?
- Buys an item from your nonprofit — which products and resources sell well?
- Navigates through your website — which pages are popular? Where does your web traffic go?
Once you’ve found this data, you will start to build a picture of how people are engaging with your website and cause. This article has some top tips on what data you should be collecting.
There is also free customer and demographic data available via social media analytics, email platforms, forums, even competitor sites — scour the web far and wide to help ‘fill in’ any data gaps. Don’t forget the power of surveys and interviews — sometimes you have to go straight to the source and ask donors (and potential donors) what makes them tick.
Which social channels does your nonprofit should use?
Social media platforms have billions of active and engaged users. It’s not a question of whether your nonprofit should be on social media, but which social channels are best for your nonprofit niche and how to use them to maximize return on investment.
The answer to this is twofold:
- Which platforms is your nonprofit comfortable using (creating regular content has to come easily)?
- Which platforms does your target audience use the most?
The answer to the first question is easy. You know yourself which platforms your nonprofit is able to use most effectively (usually this falls into either visual or word-heavy content categories). However, there may be a disconnect between the platforms your nonprofit likes to use, and the channels your audience actually prefers.
Each social media platform you use collects data on your audience (and it’s free to access). Just look for:
- Facebook Analytics
- Twitter Analytics
- Pinterest Analytics
- Snapchat Insights
Looking at your audience data can help you decide which platforms are best for marketing your nonprofit. To do this you must see which platforms tend to get you the best engagement rates, impressions, and visitors.
You should also do some more generalized research to find out demographic data for each social platform — usually this information is pretty easy to find and open source. Try searching for: “social media platform + demographic data + 2018.”
Ultimately, you have to consider what your individual metrics for success are — do you want to reach a large amount of people, or are you seeking to become a niche expert?
What are your metrics for success?
Once you have data on your audience and know which social platforms they prefer, you must know how to use this information for your benefit. Online marketing success is all about tracking.
Start by determining your metrics for success – what is the ultimate end goal to market your nonprofit online.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you want to raise awareness?
- Do you want to increase donations?
- Do you want more people to buy your products?
After you’ve established this, you can pick the right metrics in order to determine whether you’ve met your goals.
There are a huge number of metrics: for example, Forbes lists 50 content marketing metrics. Social media marketing has many of its own metrics, and there are plenty of metrics that apply to email marketing.
You need to consider which marketing format(s) line up with the goals you have for your nonprofit’s campaigns. There is no point in tracking everything — you need to take a strategic approach in order to succeed.
Do you have the tools to support your marketing efforts?
There are many marketing tools and formats available to your nonprofit. Selecting the right ones depends on your goals, budget, and the time you want to commit to them. In order to help you make your decision, I’ve looked at some of the things you should consider.
- Does your content management support marketing interactions? Some of the major CMS options have their own inbuilt marketing systems, while others sync with major marketing tools through plugins and APIs. Shopify’s nonprofit CMS has a range of easy options to help you market your nonprofit online if you’re going down a more ecommerce-focused route, but marketing-friendly WordPress is also renowned for great nonprofit WP themes if you’re looking to get started quickly
- Do you want to use an email marketing tool? Email has the best ROI of any type of marketing, with an average return of over 3000%. MailChimp is the leading email marketing tool and has a free plan for up to 2,000 contacts. It has a range of great features that allows you to segment your audience. This enables you to put your nonprofit in front of the right people at the right time
- Is paid social media marketing right for your nonprofit? I mentioned earlier that social media platforms have a huge audience. What I didn’t say is that you have to pay to get your nonprofit in front of as many people as possible. The major platforms offer a range of paid advertising campaigns and many have a nonprofit discount. This article has some great tips on how to get the most out of Facebook advertising
For even more great advice on which tools will help to market your nonprofit online, check out the video below:
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Marketing your nonprofit online helps get your message to the right people at the right time. While each nonprofit will have a different strategy, the tips in this article will help you set yours on the right path.