Marketing teams in nonprofit organizations need a lot of creativity to carry out their roles. This is not to say that corporate ones don’t need the same skill. But, the latter typically have a budget to do their work.
They take a share of the company budget for advertising, experiential marketing, and branding. Non-profit marketers do not have that luxury. Many have to get by on whatever the organization gives them. Sometimes nothing at all.
Yet, the reality is that marketing for nonprofit organizations has many benefits. These include attracting funding, raising awareness, and building long-term relationships with stakeholders.
And that’s not all. Nonprofit marketing establishes credibility by showcasing the work the organization is doing. And, tactics like content marketing allows the organization to position itself as an authority.
There is some good news for the nonprofit digital marketing team. Inbound marketing strategies are effective and require minimal or zero spending. Let’s explore the topic a little more below.
Understanding Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing provides a subtle, yet creative way of getting audiences to you. Think about it this way. How many times do you switch channels when the adverts come on? Even if you don’t switch, that is usually the best time for a bathroom or refreshment break, right?
For many people, ads are too ‘in your face’. The repetitive nature makes it feel like the brand is being too pushy. There is no subtlety, the aim is to sell.
Now here is where inbound marketing is different. Marketers use digital tactics that will get people to come to them. Everything the nonprofit digital marketing team does should revolve around:-
- Attracting audiences with relevant content in the form of blogs, whitepapers, studies, and so on.
- Providing solutions to identified needs
- Engaging through constant interaction and communication. Take the case of having an active presence on social media platforms
- Search engine optimization to ensure good rankings on search engines
- Link building to high authority sites. It is an excellent way to show credibility and authority.
Here is a simple way to look at it. What do you normally do when you need some information? One thing would be to use the search engines, right?
When you click on one of the results, it redirects you to a website. If you find the content relevant to what you are looking for, you will read on. In the end, the article gives you the solution you were looking for.
You may even take some time to browse through what else they have on the site. Now, that is an example of inbound marketing. You went to the brand, they did not come looking for you.
Nonprofit marketers can use inbound marketing to achieve a lot. But, is it that simple? The truth is that it isn’t. Yet, with the right tips, mastering outbound marketing is not difficult. We will share some with you.
1. Think Beyond Donations Only
Conversion for nonprofit websites indeed comes in the form of donations, or sometimes, support. That should remain the key driver for all your nonprofit marketing activities.
But, achieving micro conversions are a step in the right direction. Let’s say your nonprofit is creating sustainable energy solutions. You have tons of articles and research papers on this.
An online visitor searching for such information may land on your pages. And, they agree to sign up for emails, newsletters, and notifications on new content.
That, in itself, is a win. It is the first step to achieving macro conversion. The individual may end up supporting your cause because you provide value and solutions.
2. Make the Audiences Major Players in Your Story
The digital marketing team must change its approach to talking to audiences. It should not be about the nonprofit organization. Rather, shift the focus to the stakeholders who contribute to the success of the organization.
Wrong approach: Our organization delivered on its mandate to change the lives of 1,000 school-going children, through feeding programs
The right approach: You, our donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders, changed the lives of 1000 school-going children. It is through your support and encouragement, that these children get to eat at least one balanced meal a day.
Now, include some video content showing behind-the-scenes images of the feeding program. And, the final kicker should be happy smiling kids or parents, thanking the donors for all they are doing.
By making audiences part of the story, the teams achieve so many things. First, you appeal to that emotive part that appreciates recognition. Video content is engaging and interactive.
3. Create Content for Each Touchpoint in the Donor Journey
If you think about it, the donor journey is not much different from a typical buyer journey. There is awareness, consideration, and decision stage.
The nonprofit digital marketing team must create content specific to each step. That means:-
- Awareness stage – what do they need to know about your organization? Include your vision, mission, and other pertinent information. The visitor will probably take a glance at the About Us page, FAQ page, and contact page. Incorporating the right mix of social media, blogging and other inbound marketing tactics can help.
- The consideration stage is where the visitor needs some convincing. What makes your organization worthy of their donations? So blogs, videos showcasing success stories, testimonials, and reviews can help. Do check out for signs of micro conversions. These are the warm leads the teams need to nurture. If you manage to capture their attention, they will not be averse to filling in contact forms or subscribing to emails or newsletters.
- At the decision stage, the visitor is deciding whether or not to support the organization. Interesting campaigns can work here. Give plenty of choice in how they can help. It doesn’t only have to be monetary. It won’t hurt to have some words from donors or other stakeholders. A third-party endorsement may just be that push the online visitor needs to start donating.
Inbound marketing is effective because it turns the power back to the audience. The digital marketing teams look for ways to engage and attract attention.
All these, without hard sell or pushy marketing language. The aim is to get audiences to come to you, rather than the other way round.
And, the best part is that inbound marketing is cost-effective. In fact, the nonprofit can achieve a lot without spending any money.