There are three main ingredients in a good marketing strategy.
If your online presence isn’t enhancing the services you provide, it’s wasting you money.
Online marketing isn’t all tweets and blog posts. How can your organization go beyond the normal channels, to delight a wider audience?
Case Study: Putting Service Before Social Media
COSA, a nonprofit for people affected by compulsive sexual behavior, was struggling on an annual budget of roughly $45,000. Roughly half came from their annual convention, and another quarter each from donations and literature/CD sales. An expensive convention year could (and sometimes did) destroy the budget for two years.
My proposals included researching and implementing remote convention attendance, recurring online donations, and mp3 downloads. We worked to make as much of COSA available instantly, from home, as possible.
This had a significant impact not only on membership growth, but most importantly, on short- and long-term member engagement. Members with small children, financial struggles, or in remote locations, were suddenly able to participate as fully as those with fewer challenges. Members who would have had to scale back, or stop participating, due to life events, were now able to remain an active part of their community.
COSA’s unique website visitors increased by 50% within the first year. Event attendance, previously static, began to increase annually. Four years later, they’ve discontinued CD sales entirely, in favor of mp3s.
And total donations rapidly tripled, with recurring donations making up more than half of that; total sales nearly doubled. Their total annual budget rapidly increased by 60%, and continues to grow. All without spending a penny on advertising.
Musica Pacifica, a top-tier baroque ensemble, had a hard time tooting their own horn. Talking about themselves seemed like boasting, and their largely older fan base wasn’t engaging with them much online.
Crafting intriguing, well-researched content that resonated with their demographic resulted in an average open rate of 44%, in an industry with a 19% average.
Tailoring different content on other platforms, which skewed younger, broadened their fan base. Restructuring and redesigning their website to better showcase their music resulted in a 7x increase in sales year-over-year.
The NUMMI Re-Employment Center (NRC) was created in 2009, to help lifelong auto workers change careers after mass layoffs. The NRC positioned itself as the premier career center in California, by supporting the whole range of needs a worker and their family might face.
In order to achieve this, I researched and created powerful publications for both the case managers and their clients.
These included a comprehensive guide on where to get free meals and groceries locally; one on accessing free and low-income health care for your family and their pets; a brochure on successfully networking at career fairs; and an infographic on tailoring and elevating your client’s resume.
The best way to turn a good product or service into a great one is to elevate your content.
To share not only what you do, but how and why you do it. To share insider knowledge about your industry, or what fascinates you about your own business. To give customers the tools they need to go even farther with what you do.
In any industry, the organizations who appear to magically attract lifetime customers, and stellar word-of-mouth, are the ones who overpromise and overdeliver.
The way to do that is to (briefly!) take your eye off of profits, and focus everything on your audience’s perspective, challenges, and goals.
They have the potential to be as giddy and passionate as you are about what you do. What can you tell them, and do for them, to help them see how great it is?
When you have that answer, you go back to the question of profits by continually testing and measuring your results.
The result: an effective, audience-centered, data-driven content strategy.
Or, to put it in more human terms: an ongoing heart-to-heart with your ideal customers.
About Dani Aidan Stone
Ever since I taught myself to read at the age of 2, words have been the air I breathe. Ever since my dad got me my first email account, through his work, in 1990, the internet has been my home.
As a teenager, I worked as a community manager for AOL. After college, I worked in UX testing and digital branding for Ask.com.
Because I essentially grew up online, I have experience with every aspect of online spaces, from obscure niche message boards to Facebook ad optimization.
I’ve spent the past 15 years using these passions to help all of you share yours with more people.
I specialize in nonprofits and small businesses. That means my clients need to squeeze the most out of each penny. So my focus is on innovative practices, highly tailored to each brand.
What challenges is your business facing? Where do you want to grow? Drop me a line for a free consultation over email.