Non-profit organizations don’t usually have the same resources that their for-profit counterparts tend to enjoy. Online marketing opportunities, however, give NPOs an edge because users appreciate the chance to be associated with good causes and are willing to let that affiliation be known. Below are my final recommendations for implementation and analysis actions items that will take awareness of your organization’s goals and needs to the next level.
8 ) Go mobile.
Forrester research’s latest report (January 2011) finds that consumers will spend over $1billion in online transactions for 2011. Your website should have a mobile presence that works on the top mobile platforms such as iPhone, Android and Blackberry. In addition to creating a mobile site, text messaging campaigns are becoming the new norm and, in some cases, slowly replacing newsletters. The New York Times stated, via research from a cell-carrier, that 97% of all marketing messages are opened and 83% are opened in the first hour. These statistics are too powerful for any organization to ignore and speak to the need to include this kind of approach in your overall marketing plan. Text-message marketing can be used for events, donations, promotions and even important news updates. Companies like MobiQpons offer great options to start incorporating this strategy.
Keep in mind that mobile phone numbers are considered extremely personal and, as such, are well-guarded—more so than email addresses or home phone lines. Make sure your users opt in for this kind of contact and that your organization uses it sparingly.
9 ) Monitor your brand continually.
Nothing is more important than knowing how your organization is being perceived online. Brand monitoring is a way to find out where conversations are being had and what is being said about your firm. Following social media sites along with other blogs and websites will enable you to keep a close tab on your organization’s online persona. While some tools are free, you will need to find a mixture of monitoring tools to really help you get a full picture. Below are a few resources we find work best on a limited budget:
- Google Alerts: email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.
- Techrigy: A software solution designed specifically for PR and marketing agencies to monitor and measure social media.
- Google Reader: web-based feed reader to keep up with blogs and news.
- Twitter: Search Twitter in real time – see what the world is saying right now.
Don’t forget that these tools can also help you keep an eye on your competitors and stay current on other industry topics. What you find can provide you with opportunities to plug your organization’s comparative strengths, placing you on a level playing field. I call this reverse brand monitoring and it works like a champ.
10 ) Track your progress.
Once you have built a strategy with all the options detailed above, and have started implementing it, make sure you put methods in place to track and analyze traffic. Google Analytics (GA) is a great tool to help you measure your advertising ROI as well as to track video, social networking sites’ reach and usage of particular applications. Use this free service to build goals in your GA dashboard and send yourself weekly comparison reports of the traffic on your website. By tracking your organization’s and visitors’ activity, you will be able to make better decisions as to where to best spend your organization’s time and direct your online efforts.
Whether you use all 10 of the strategies I’ve described or just a few, it is critical that your organization’s effort is sustained over an extended period for the most return on your and our supporters’ time investment. As with any marketing strategy, a steady approach will create the opportunity for a steady following, and ultimately, a steady stream of online conversation about you. And as new online marketing opportunities present themselves—and they will—be flexible and ready to try different methods of reaching out, branding on new platforms, and empowering your users to be your voice on the World Wide Web.