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.
Content marketing is a powerful weapon for influencing brand development and attracting new customers. It is also among the fastest growing branches of digital marketing. If you’re a content marketing veteran, you know how important it is to keep up with the emerging trends and innovate. From implementing new technologies to putting new spins on old tactics, the content quality bar is rising. To help you level up, we present you with the ultimate content marketing tips for 2019.
1. Have a Documented Strategy
A great content strategy starts with a simple content marketing assessment. Did you know that marketers with a documented content marketing strategy are five times more likely to succeed? In order to leverage the full potential of content marketing, you need to have a guiding strategy.
A great content strategy starts with a simple content marketing assessment that identifies the primary challenges and outlines the steps you’ll take to overcome them. Certain points of interest like lead generation and SEO are a good start, from which you can customise the strategy depending on your specific goals. Furthermore, you should include a unique perspective of your organisation and find an approach that will set you apart from the competition.
2. Tell a Story
Sticking to the good old “How To” lists won’t always do the trick. That’s where brand storytelling kicks in. Brand storytelling gives a whole new perspective to content marketing and gives you an opportunity to connect authentically with your audience by humanising your brand. This is particularly important now, when people appreciate the brands they can connect with.
You can start by sharing your own experiences. How the company started and what it took to get it where it is now is an excellent beginning. You can also reach out to customers who claim your products have changed their lives. Talk about their experiences in a way that your potential customers can relate to.
3. Take Advantage of Live Video
It’s safe to say that video is the future of content marketing. Cisco’s predictions indicate that by 2021, video will take up as much as 80% of all internet traffic. The wide acceptance of the video format opens up numerous possibilities to communicate your story and build relationships. One of the trends that should be singled out is live video.
Facebook users spend triple the amount of time watching live videos over traditional videos. Similarly, social media stats show that Instagram’s videos get two times the views of its photos. Live video creates a real-time connection with the audience, driving engagement and response.
People love seeing their favourite brand humanised, showing that not everything is always perfect. There are endless possibilities, from using live streaming, hosting Q&A sessions, and giving product demonstrations, to hosting interviews with topic experts.
4. Embrace Artificial Intelligence
Ever since it was introduced, artificial intelligence has been one of the hottest topics in the marketing world. You can use this powerful technology for discovering keywords, planning blog topics, and reviewing analyses, as well as accessing data reports that would guide the creation process, shaping it for your core audience. Furthermore, AI-powered predictive intelligence enables the gathering of information that can be used for offering personalised experiences. You can instantly get valuable insight into what your target audience is searching for, when they do it, and what content would be the most successful at any given point.
5. Go for Micro-Influencers
Influencer marketing has come a long way. In 2009, content marketing strategies generated over £68.98 billion in revenue, and, in 2019, they’re expected to generate more than £237 billion. Influencers continue to utilise social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to grow their base of followers and then leverage them to ensure a six-figure income from featured brands.
But in 2019, predictions are that the micro-influencers — those with smaller yet dedicated following—will overshadow the ‘big sharks.’ The main reason for this shift is the lack of dedication coming from macro influencers as they take on more sponsored posts, thus reducing the authenticity and, as a result, the impact of the marketing. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, build more personal relationships with the audience, delivering an authentic message.
While there’s no doubt that it will continue to be one of the most important tools for boosting brand awareness, building trust, generating leads, and educating audiences, you need to be aware that trends change. Start with preparing a documented strategy, dive into your storytelling, embrace live video and AI, and you may as well proclaim yourself the king of content marketing.
According to an article by the American Marketing Association (AMA) in 2017, individuals are smacked with 10,000 marketing messages per day – but probably don’t remember even 1%, because as savvy consumers, we’re experts at tuning out marketing and advertising, unless it strikes us personally. From advertisers who scream in their ads, “Buy me because I’m awesome” to marketers who say “content, content, content – oh, and read this, too.” Mainstream and viral forms of media seem to communicate with arrogance, as if we, as media consumers, should wait with bated breath.
If someone talks AT you instead of TO you, do you listen? (Let’s hope the answer is NO!) Marketing is no different. Prospects and customers (and every stage between, before, and after), want to be part of a conversation, not a victim of a marketing rant. Her's how to do it right
SAVE YOUR BREATH FOR THOSE WHO CARE
Not everyone will be a prospect for your company. If you do business right, only a sliver of what you consider your target market will be a prospect. If you make it seem like you sell to everyone, you’re not targeting anyone. Step back, study, and consider who you want to appeal to. Don’t be afraid to pick verticals and be intentional about who you want to target. Prospects may want to find a company they like, know, and trust, but your business also deserves to work with customers you like, know, and trust.
PERSONALISE, BUT DON’T BE OVER THE TOP
Everyone knows there are personalisation tokens in emails that sync up to your contact database, but if you insert too many, you’re practically begging to look like a marketing automation robot.
Remember about saving your breath for those who care? Try personalising emails with information that relates directly to the prospect; for example, include an interesting fact you learned about the prospect, follow up on an event the prospect shared with you, etc. If you show you care, if your empathy is apparent, if you see more than a number or an email address, you’ll set yourself ahead of the competition. You can’t beat authenticity.
EMPATHY WINS. ALWAYS.
Merriam-Webster defines empathy as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this.
Doesn’t it make you feel good just reading this definition?
Empathy pulls at your heartstrings. It makes you feel alive. It makes you feel appreciated and understood. From a prospect’s perspective, it makes them feel like their challenges and problems matter. Having received empathy is a building block to the foundation of trust. And you know where trust gets you in a relationship – everywhere.
If you can’t be empathetic in your communication and how you handle prospects, customers, and colleagues, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Go beyond being believable – be real.
CREATE CONTENT THAT MATTERS
Your marketing folder is likely chock full of stuff – eBooks, webinars, guides, etc. But do the marketing materials truly matter? And salespeople, this goes for your sales materials, too. Yes, it may have taken a lot of time and money to create that eBook three years ago, but if there isn’t authentic value in the material, don’t offer it to your prospects. There’s no sense in judging their intelligence or wasting their time.
Instead, focus on creating marketing content that’s engaging and packed with valuable insight and expertise that goes above and beyond what your competitors are offering. Invest in quality content writing, killer graphic design, and an aesthetically pleasing layout. (Shameless plug: talk to our team at Leading Results to nail the above.)
Your prospects are testing the waters to see if your company is the best fit, and this is when you put your best foot forward. You can’t know – or even predict – how they find you first, so make sure every interaction with your prospects is top notch.
BE WHERE IT MATTERS
I’m a rock fan, and I thought of the song ‘Everything’ by Everclear, a 90s alternative rock band, as soon as I thought of this blog.
You do what you do
You say what you say
You try to be everything to everyone
You know all the right people
You play all the right games
You always try to be
Everything to everyone
It’s exhausting to be everything to everyone, and it’s exhausting to be everywhere to attract … no one. Remember: if you target everyone, you’re selling to no one.
If you’re intentional about prospecting to your defined target market, be where they are. If your target market reads scientific journals, then by gosh, your company better be finding creative, engaging ways to be seen in scientific circles. The important thing is to avoid wasting your time in spaces your target market doesn’t frequent. You’re wasting time, energy, and resources that could put you in front of the prospects best suited for your company.
Clear goals, a clear direction, empathy, and authenticity win. This form of marketing and communication isn’t just refreshing, it’s how prospects want to be courted. It’s how HUMANS want to be treated.
Does your marketing need humanisation? Contact us – we’d love to chat with you about a marketing strategy and program that will align and resonate with your target market and prospect base.
Content is at the heart of today’s marketing strategies as businesses use websites and blogs to demonstrate their own expertise. "Content marketing is the only marketing left." Seth Godin.
If you run any type of professional business today you’ll know that, in terms of marketing, the world has changed dramatically. Tried and tested activities for getting client attention just don’t work like they once did:
You are expert in what you do and know that there are clients out there who would really value your assistance. How on earth do you get their interest?
Changed buying behaviour in a web-driven world
In the past five to ten years, the web has transformed buying behaviour. In the past, if a potential client wanted information on your services, they’d call your office and engage you or one of your sales team to get the lowdown on your offering.
Today, their first port of call is undoubtedly the internet. They’ll search on Google, check out your website and expect to sign up to article updates or social media feeds to find out more. They are checking to see who they could best trust to solve their business problem. They expect to find valuable content.
Your clients are in control, and you’d better make sure that the information you put up about your company answers their questions and positions you as the trusted resource they seek.
Today, effective marketing is all about creating high quality content and sharing this across the web. By quality content we don’t just mean information that is well-written or artfully produced. We mean information that is first and foremost of real value to your particular client base.
Educate your clients, show them best practice, tell them what to look out for, give them valuable tips on how to achieve success, demonstrate how you’ve helped others in their shoes, answer their problems, open their eyes.
Creating and distributing this kind of relevant, valuable and compelling information will help you turn prospects into buyers and buyers into long-term fans.
Create the type of information your buyers actually want to consume. Marketing with valuable content is a win-win for your company and its customers - your potential clients get the information they require and you get to demonstrate your expertise and usefulness.
Valuable content will help you sell. It helps your ideal clients find you and makes it easier for them to buy from you. It’s an opportunity to position your company as the place to turn to when the time comes to buy.
A different approach to client communication
If you want to reap the rewards that valuable content brings, you need to start communicating differently. There are different rules of engagement here. The valuable content approach is not about continuing to holler about how amazing your firm is, as we all did in the past. Unthink what you learned about sales and marketing messages.
Your position should be not "look how great we are" (as in a traditional brochure) but "look how useful we are - we have the answers to your problems."
This approach is truly customer-centred. Create content that is genuinely useful to your customers. Make yourself indispensable.
Not easy but essential
Creating and consistently delivering this type of information takes effort. You need to build a deep understanding of the needs of your target client base and of where and how you add value. It also takes time and skill.
Valuable content may not be easy but it is an essential tool if you are going to grow and sustain a successful business in today's web-driven world.
Testimonials are an extremely important part of the success of your business. On your relationship-building journey, which is lined with credibility and expertise, testimonials from loyal customers are a critical part of the presence of your business.
What is a testimonial?
Testimonials are written or recorded statements that support your credibility and level of expertise. They also strengthen your reputation by expressing the trust that other people have in you and your business offerings. They are a wonderful tool that helps you to attract a deeper interest from perspective clients and existing clients and will ultimately make you and your business increasingly more successful.
Simply claiming to be "the best" is not enough to convince people to try your products or services. Testimonials offer an independent indication that you have done a good job and can help reassure new or nervous buyers, as well as distinguishing you from your competitors.
Here are ten easy steps to generate customer testimonials:
Credibility is essential to the success of your business. Strategic and intelligent use of testimonials can go a long way in promoting your business. The more online visibility and stronger reputation you have and continue to maintain, the stronger your business will become.
Content marketing has become a core business activity. For small businesses, sharing useful content online offers a powerful way to engage with customers - via blogs, case studies and email newsletters.
At the same time, social media is helping new types of content to fly - as videos, infographics and more are all shared on the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook.
What can content marketing do for me?
Relevant, interesting and valuable content allows businesses to build relationships. By sharing useful information that solves your customers' problems, you can improve your customer service and inspire loyalty and trust.
By providing evidence that you can meet your promises - such as case studies and testimonials - you can also convince prospects to become customers without having to resort to a hard sell.
Today, everyone expects to find the answers to their questions on your website. The right content can demonstrate your expertise, show you understand your customers and their needs, and position you as a leader in your field.
Marketing content works incredibly hard for businesses. It can show your brand values and prove that you're up to date in your field. What’s more, it can attract more website visitors, improve your search rankings and widen your reach.
Web copy that works
To make the most of your web presence, you need to ensure the content is fresh, relevant and accurate.
If you want to attract new customers as well as keeping your old clients, your website needs to send out the right message. From product information and news to client testimonials and blogs, you need to think through carefully what content to include and how to write and present it online.
The number one rule is to meet your customers' needs. Website copy is the meat of all business websites, but you've got to tell people what you can do for them rather than simply how great you are. It's no good having rambling mission statements or visions of the future - make sure your copy really helps the visitor.
You should be addressing your customers and their needs rather than talking about yourself. It's less about the "I" and "we", and more about "you".
Anticipate online customer questions
Start by considering all of the questions people might have about your business and writing down the answers in straightforward language. Put yourself in your customers' shoes. They'll be thinking 'Is this company reputable? Who else have they worked with? What is the standard of their work like? Will I get value for money?' Answer their questions and you're more likely to convert a visit into a sale.
Don't forget the information that guides people through registration, sign-ups or purchases. Many websites suffer drop-outs at this point simply through a lack of clear information or over-complicated processes. Tell people exactly what they need to do at each step, and ensure your online forms - such as registration or order forms - are simple and require the minimum amount of information.
Organise your website information
When it comes to structuring your content, bear in mind that people tend to scan websites rather than read them, so break up chunks of text with headings, subheadings and lists.
Repeat key information on each page because customers can land anywhere on your site, make sure that each page can stand alone.
To keep things fresh, update your site regularly, particularly date-sensitive blogs and news announcements, but think carefully about removing old copy. You can do some tweaking if the information is out of date, but once the page is in a search engine index, you could lose your ranking if you fiddle too much.
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.