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5 Ideas for Low-cost Yet Effective Nonprofit Marketing
Nonprofit marketing often faces many of the same challenges as any regular for-profit enterprise’s. The critical difference is how both types of enterprises respond to customer needs. The way NPO’s operate often means cash flow is more of an issue compared to for-profit enterprises.
While the following marketing strategies are also applicable to for-profit enterprises, they are especially suited for the current environments NPO’s often find themselves in.
5.) Integrate both social media and print marketing
Social media is probably the best thing to have happened to nonprofits in the past generation. But even if you have a good social media team, it can be very difficult to get good conversion rates simply because most of the people we reach out to are constantly bombarded by information online.
Before social media became a fact of life, nonprofits used to invest heavily in print and other traditional marketing avenues. The far lower cost of running social media campaigns has curtailed investment in print promotions, but the trade-offs have included far lower conversion rates.
The current trend in for-profit businesses has been to combine both print and online marketing, which can mean a slightly larger cost, but for a much better response rate. The idea is to only send print materials to prospects who have already signaled some interest online, thus increasing potential conversion rates, while preventing the need for the waste generated by the print marketing campaigns of yesteryear. The same can apply to nonprofits.
It’s funny this is all about “low-cost nonprofit marketing” and we tell you to spend on printing. But consider this: a purely online campaign is useless if you aren’t getting any conversions. However, the data you get from social media analytics and from your online interactions can be leveraged for a print marketing campaign — which tends to have higher conversion rates.
Related Article: Guide to Planning a Sticker Marketing Campaign
4.) Creatively curate content
Content is what keeps people interested in nearly any brand. We all love stories, but it takes a lot of talent to be able to tell them well. The same applies to content creation for nonprofits.
Creating quality, original content from scratch is worthwhile, but the short-term gains are not that much different from when you just share and curate content from other avenues. I’m not saying you should plagiarize or rip off anyone. But given that most nonprofits may not have the production budget or manpower necessary to create quality videos, posts, and other kinds of quality content, it often makes sense to find content from other sources your own audience might be interested in. Be sure to include at least some original insights and to give credit when it is due!
Remember that many creators create content specifically for sharing. Infographics related to your organization or posts by key people of interest are some of the kinds of content you should curate. Other kinds of useful content may include video clips from YouTube channels related to your cause, and industry statistics from think tanks and educational sites. News articles from sources trusted by most of your audience is also fair to share.
The good thing about this strategy is that you don’t necessarily need to be a good writer to do this!
3.) Reuse and repurpose old content
Let’s face it – only a comparatively small portion of the people who visit your site or social media pages are repeat visitors. And the repeat visitors who follow your every post, are rarer still. Very few will mind if you re-share old content. For most of the people who encounter it, it will be new to them anyway!
A better way to go about this would be to repurpose old pieces so that they are “fresher” and more in tune with contemporary issues concerning your organization. If applicable, yearly holiday pieces can be repurposed and updated for as long as that holiday exists!
Cross-channel promotions are another reason to repurpose content. A video can form the basis for a blog or social media post, or be used in an email campaign. A positive email exchange can likewise be the basis for a vlog or podcast. An e-book can be turned into anything. With some imagination, you can repurpose any type of content into something else, for relatively little effort.
2.) Automate your social media shares
Social media management can take up a significant portion of your organization’s time. Using automation tools such as Hootsuite, or Buffer, or any of the other dozens of other sharing platforms can help save you a significant amount of time, and possibly even help you keep manpower needs low.
Here are some recommended social media sharing platforms:
1.) Use as few analytics and reporting tools as possible
Getting bogged down in reporting tasks can often prevent your campaign from getting the timing and momentum it needs to really work. Sticking to one tool or having just one place where all important data can be accessed will simplify things.
Another significant advantage of having few (or even just one) reporting tool or a place where all data can be centralized is that any new people you bring on board can quickly find all the actionable info they need in one place.
The most significant advantage of having all the data in one place is that you can report to sponsors and other stakeholders without getting bogged down in cross-platform confusion. As these people are the lifeblood of any NPO, you want to be able to recount your performance as clearly and concisely as possible.
Nonprofit marketing presents a set of challenges somewhat different from what a business would experience, but at the core, it’s not really all that different. Remembering that your real customers are different from the ones you might be providing services to can be a crucial factor in helping you understand your own marketing efforts.
Arthur Piccio is a feature writer and subject matter expert for the PrintPlace Blog. In his spare time he studies guitar and writes about goats.