Marketing is one of those things that seem like a luxury and in some ways that's true. You can run the day-to-day operations of your business without touching any marketing areas (if you're careful) HOWEVER; that day-to-day business will remain a DAY-TO-DAY business until such a time that your marketing efforts make it a year-to-year business.
Marketing is needed to help attract new customers, keep your current customers engaged, and increase the overall awareness of your brand, your services, and sometimes even your industry or cause. Nowhere is there more true than with non-profit organizations but unsurprisingly the luxury of marketing is usually a woefully underfunded line item on the balance sheet.
And this is a shame. A truly shameful facepalm situation because if there were one single industry that could benefit from the magic of marketing the most it's non-profits.
So today I'm stepping in to do what I do best, break some myths, backhand some excuses, and give you some real and actionable tips on how to get started today with a marketing strategy that converts- even on the shoestring budgets most not-for-profit organizations are working with today.
Step 1: Define your Marketing Goal
This is a good first step for anyone getting started with marketing - or anything for that matter. Before we get started we need to define what we're trying to do. We do this for a few reasons. First, so we can make an intentional plan. Those always work better. Secondly, so know what to direct people to do. Marketing always has a point. And finally, so we can evaluate that plan based on pre-determined KPIs (key performance indicators), making adjustments as we go to NEVER waste a dime!
Defining your marketing goal is simple. If you're accepting donations it can be something like increasing donations by X% or getting 5 new donations a month. If you're in the awareness stages it can be something like getting people to sign up for your newsletter or increasing your social media following count. Whatever it is just make sure you're attaching something measurable to the goal - otherwise you will never know when to celebrate.
Step 2: Set Your Budget
A short but integral step. As soon as you know what you're trying to do and BEFORE you can know how you're going to do you have to know what you can afford to do. This will vary based on your budget and can even vary from month to month but knowing what money you can spend on marketing will save you from setting up entire marketing strategies that you couldn't really afford to be thinking about in the first place or on the contrary prevent yours from unnecessarily limiting yourself based on ill-founded conclusions that certain marketing projects are just not for small non-profits like yours!
Step 3: Choose your Platform of Attack
With our budget and our message in mind, we can go forth and choose a platform from which to spread it! How do we know what platform to use? That will depend on a few things.
First, budget. Your budget will give you a rough estimate of what you can afford to do. For example, let's say you have a budget of $300/month. You can rule out paid ads, as ad spend alone will eat that up. But you can easily afford monthly blogs + email marketing newsletters and some website updates. OR a full-hands-off organic social media marketing. (speaking with our prices in mind - of course - I cannot speak for the other guys and gals.)
But your budget is NOT the only factor that comes into play on where you should market- in fact, it's not even the most important. It is just perhaps the most practical to consider first. Much more importantly than knowing what you can afford is knowing where the people you want to reach - your ideal customers - are spending their time.
Tiktok for example is all the rage right now but if your ideal client isn't on Tiktok or even if they are but they aren't looking for the content you would provide then the work (which isn't a small thing when it comes to Tiktok) would be all for not.
You should also keep in mind things like what you have the capacity to create on a consistent basis. Youtube channels or podcasts are great - for example - but require huge time investments on the part of the client and aren't something everyone can take on.
Finally, don't forget to consider the goal. If for example, you are a yoga instructor that focuses on relieving hip pain for fourth-trimester mamas you are likely going to need to use a platform that incorporates video content.
Step 4: Evaluate, Adjust & Repeat
Once you create and implement your killer marketing plan you are far from done! Remember to check in on a regular basis (or ask for regular checking with key metrics from your marketer) and make adjustments to your plan.
Make more of the content that is working and less of what isn't. Listening to your audience can rarely lead you astray.
(Optional but Awesome) Step 5
So those 4 steps seem simple enough, right? But, do you want to know what's even simpler?! Getting a clever ally in your corner. We can help in loads of ways and plenty of them are 100% free! Our shop has dozens of free downloadable social media templates and awesome tools like the Complete On Page SEO checklist. Our blog and newsletters are packed with useful and actionable tidbits like this awesome how-to. And you can text, call, message or email us any time with any question and we're quick to lend some helpful advice.
We do, of course, offer paid marketing services but never with the help of peer pressure and always with plenty of flexibility and no contracts!