One of my clients is a small charitable group who are looking to find new volunteers and increase the publics awareness of what they do to generate higher donations to their good causes.
Whilst the majority of the team are onboard with the idea of employing a professional marketeer to achieve these goals, some are sceptical due to the additional expenditure they now have.
Of course, budgets always come into play and smaller charities might not have the budgets that the likes of Cancer Research or the RSPCA might, but nonetheless, charities of all sizes should be doing more to raise awareness of their cause through digital marketing.
There have been some great examples of charities using digital over the years. From giving a voice to the unheard to helping people help each other, charities have proven the effectiveness of digital engagement.
Investing in digital marketing can make a huge difference to any business, charities perhaps even more so. Here’s why...
A Wise Investment for Budget Conscious Business
Charities often work with very restricted budgets and it’s important that every penny spent helps the charity to spread the word of their cause and to ultimately achieve their goals, be it awareness, fundraising or recruitment.
Digital marketing is the most cost-effective way to reach the largest audience possible. When done well, digital techniques such as search engine optimisation (SEO), paid search advertising (PPC) and social media can enable charities to speak to huge numbers of people very quickly.
Digital is also an arena in which brand advocacy really comes into its own. Consider your charities loyal supporters; no doubt they’d relish an opportunity to help you to further build cause awareness and if you check, they’re probably doing it already through social media posts and the things they share online. By investing in digital marketing, charities can better equip their supporters to be really valuable brand advocates too.
Building Cause Awareness
With so many charities (there are 183,230 charities registered in the UK today according to the Charity Commission), it can be difficult for charity supporters to find the charity that’s right for them. Everyone wants to support charities but it’s impossible to support all 180,000 – so each charity needs to let people know exactly what their cause is and how support can help them.
Digital marketing can enable charities to highlight their cause – even if you don’t have the bigger budgets that the likes of Macmillan, who advertise on TV etc., do. Search engine optimisation, as an example, is a really strong place to associate your charity with its cause, by ensuring your charity appears when people search for relevant terms like ‘how can I help people with disabilities in my area’.
Digital Marketing for Charities: Tips and Advice
The website is the online shop window of a charity. It is where the charity can showcase its values, highlight its cause and encourage people to donate.
But despite the importance of websites, many charities are missing out because they simply fail to address the basics.
Charities investing in digital marketing for the future should be reviewing their website design and making use of strong calls to action and the power of faces. They should also make their job easier by choosing easy to use, easily modifiable content management systems to build their sites on from inception: this will only help with marketing efforts in future, as well as making it easy for customers to navigate.
SEO for Charities
SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process through which companies can improve their website’s visibility in the Google search results. For charities, it’s a particularly important digital marketing discipline because it enables them to build brand and cause awareness.
Whilst big name charities can invest in TV advertising and so on to spread their message, charities across the UK should all be investing in SEO to build their visibility in search for terms related to their brand and also relevant to their cause.
Think about other ways people might look for your charity. Did you know, there are nearly 1,600 searches every month in the UK for ‘charity fundraising ideas’? 210 for ‘charity days’? It is using SEO that charities can ensure their websites appear for these search terms – thus helping them to build brand and cause awareness to people who might not already know their name.
The future of digital marketing for charities will see savvy charities taking advantage of the opportunities of SEO by:
Charities on Social Media
Social media marketing is an important element of any business’ digital marketing strategy. It provides a huge opportunity for charities in particular to spread their message and engage with potential fundraisers and benefactors.
One charity making social media work for them is the NSPCC. With over 352,415 fans on Facebook, the NSPCC boosted its donations and continues to build its profile through its Page. And what makes it so successful? The Page is kept up-to-date, content is posted regularly and the charity interacts with its audience.
Charities looking to grow their digital presence in the future will be innovative in their use of social media and make use of the many channels available, such as:
Digital Marketing for Charities
The charity sector has experienced a boom in digital in recent years. Big name charities are using digital technologies and techniques to raise brand awareness and to increase donations.
But there are still many opportunities available to charities, both large and small.
I was at a meeting last night made up of respected leaders from a well-known membership organisation that provides volunteers and funding to local and international communities. We were all there to talk about how we might be able to work across the boundaries of our individual clubs to create a bigger impact with regards to the public image of the organisation.
Whilst talking about the various ways we can market ourselves it became clear that some clubs re still scared by social media, fearful that it will only bring negativity and downgrade their good name and good standing in the community.
This got me to thinking, is social media really something we should still fear in 2019?
Social Media Is Where Your Customers Are Spending Their Time
If you are afraid of or confused about the social media landscape and are avoiding it, I am here to help. Stop keeping your business in the dark ages, it’s time to get on social media and connect with your potential customers and dedicated fans.
If you think social media is just a fad, then I’ve got news for you… social media is here to stay.
Furthermore, I have had the pleasure of working with many amazing clients over the last few years by helping them grow their social media following from ground zero. So don’t worry you aren’t the only one who is afraid of change or investing in a “new” marketing strategy.
But trust me, if you are not using social media just keep in mind your competitors are using it to attract your target market away from you! So don’t miss out on the opportunity, especially if you are a small business!
If you are hesitant about using social media to build a community around your small business, you aren’t the only one. In fact, I have noticed that there are three specific reasons many small business owners are hesitant about investing in a social media strategy but why they should today.
1. Small Businesses Want Immediate Results
One of the biggest reasons many small businesses stay away from social media is because they want to see immediate results. Unfortunately, growing a social media following takes time and if you want to build a community of fans around your brand, that also takes time. Unlike traditional advertising methods, social media is a long-term strategy which is often a scary thing to hear. Especially if you are a small business, every pound counts, I get it. But just think of it like this, an investment in social media marketing today could pay dividends in the future!
For example, one of the biggest business social media influencers right now is Gary Vaynerchuk. But how did he rise to fame? He invested years into growing his personal brand on social media through the creation of inspiring content, entertaining viewers through a Wine show called, “Wine Library TV”, and providing value to people on their entrepreneurial journeys. Over the years, Gary’s brand has adapted and grown to new heights which have allowed him to not only leverage new content but build trust with viewers. In addition, this newfound “trust” has allowed him to generate new clients for his advertising agency, Vayner Media!
So think of social media as a long-term marketing strategy and you can leverage it to grow your personal brand and your business’s brand online!
2. Small Businesses Don’t Understand the Benefits
Another reason many companies are behind when it comes to social media is that they don’t understand the benefits of social media marketing. Social media has the power to connect a company directly to their target market while providing them with actionable insights. Are you still not impressed? Well, social media has the power to drive traffic to your website, create a community around your brand and help your bottom line.
If your goal at the end of the day is to get more customers, social media can help you on your journey. For example, one way many companies use social media is by driving customers to their website through entertaining or educational content. Don’t believe me? One brand that has become well-known for educational and inspirational videos is Goalcast. They have grown a substantial following on social media by creating biographical videos of famous individuals such as Elon Musk and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
So don’t underestimate the power of social media, it has the potential to take your business to the next level by generating more potential customers while creating valuable brand loyalty.
3. Social media creates negativity
A successful business cannot lay in fear of risk but embrace the rewards it can achieve. Brand negativity by those few you speak about will occur even if your business never logs into a social network. In fact, there's a greater risk since that negativity will be the only content feeding social proof around your brand. Social media does embolden haters but it also provides a new soapbox for great experiences. If anything, social media has increased the importance of building positive customer experiences online and off.
Social media does have a powerful amplifying effect. But just like any technology, it can be used for good or evil. The key is building the right social strategy for your brand. It's not a "one size fits all" marketing solution. It has to be adopted in strategic, tailored ways
There is no reason to not invest time, money, and effort into a social media strategy this year. Social media has truly changed the way that businesses can communicate with their customers. That’s because it gives businesses an affordable and accessible way to grow a community around their brand.
Seriously, don’t fear the social media landscape. Think of it as a way to communicate with your customers and grow a community around your brand!
So what are you waiting for? Get your business on social media today, contact LjH Consulting to start that journey.
Lisa Hunter is an experienced Marketing, Events and Project Manager. She has over 10 years’ experience working in the IT and marketing industry, delivering strategic marketing support and managing creative projects for a wide-range of clients. In this blog she shares her knowledge and experiences…we hope you enjoy it.