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Digital marketing 101: how charities can generate a successful strategy on a budget

Charities are often challenged with navigating their digital marketing campaign on a tighter budget. But does that mean you need to compromise on the quality of your strategy? Certainly not. Granted, the available methods within digital marketing are vast and yet so is the competition, but when there’s a will, there’s a way…

UK based specialist display boards company, Where The Trade Buys, are here to lend a hand with their insightful guide below.

Campaign goals: nail them down

The internet is a big arena, and everyone wants to standout — including people and organisations that are competing for your audience. In order to create and effective digital marketing strategy, you must create a chief campaign goal and let it guide everything else you do. Going off-course will make it harder to manage your campaign and keep costs down, while deviating from what makes your charity unique could mean accidentally copying another organisation’s idea. Not good on the notoriously competitive digital field.

Get your campaign aims nailed down to begin with… what are they? Whether it’s to achieve a certain fundraising target, improve your site’s authority, drive increased traffic to your site, or boost followers on your social media accounts; anything is achievable. Just ensure that everyone on the campaign is moving towards the same goal and make your objectives precise, measurable and realistic — Google Analytics is an excellent resource if your goal is web-based.

Campaign audience: drill down into the detail of who they are

Audience research is vital, whichever route you choose: digital or print marketing. You need to understand your audience and be aware of social and economic factors that might affect them engaging with your campaign. No matter which issues you face, being conscious of them means you have a much greater chance of overcoming them without having to start over, which is costly.

Define your typical target audience member by employing the assistance of digital tactics. You can find out interests, likes and motivations using your website’s analytics, as well as they’re typical gender, age and location. Who’s following your organisation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? These are also people who might engage with your campaign. Do you write blogs? Your Google Analytics data will tell you what type of content is popular on your site, so you have a better understanding of what people are wanting to read from you.

It would be beneficial spending some time gathering analysis using social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Find out which posts/Tweets get likes and which don’t — this also lets you know what content might work in your campaign. Also, don’t forget to make the most your email list. Fire off a survey to these contacts for a better understanding of who they are.

The main message of your campaign: what is it?

Deciding on your main message might be straightforward but conveying it carefully is key. What do you want people to think about after you’ve launched your campaign? In other words, what do you want people to associate with your charity and what it does? This differs from your campaign goal, as it’s more to do with: the issue you want to solve, the answer that you propose and the action the audience can take.

Your campaign message needs to mean something to your organisation and have an impact. For example; US organisation, charity: water, dedicates a section of its website to real-life stories of people the charity has helped, and is renowned for its vivid images and poignant videos. Showing the world how your charity engages and helps its causes adds personality that can’t be copied.

Pull together all your best imagery and utilise Instagram and Facebook to showcase your charity at work. You can even use the photos on roll-up banners and place these in busy public spaces. Record interviews, upload pictures, create memes, and even do a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity and upload this to YouTube. After all, showing people what your charity can do is far more effective than just telling them.

Plan out the suitable marketing methods of reaching your audience

In the current digital age we live in, we are fortunate to have the free medium of social media at our disposal. Use your charity’s online platforms —Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — to boost your campaign and encourage people to share your posts, videos, photos and Tweets.

Marketing via social media has had a positive impact on charities, over the last number of years. In 2014, the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) launched a video marketing campaign to raise awareness and hallmark the 100thanniversary of the First World War. Despite only running for two weeks, the campaign was covered hundreds of times in the media and achieved more than 14,000 social media shares.

Seek maximum engagement with your digital content

Engaging online using video content is growing in popularity, according to experts. If that’s the case, why not get ahead of the game and start creating plenty of video content to push your campaign today? Aside from being a faster and easier way for the public to engage with your campaign material, video and image content is also free to capture using a smartphone!

Along with fantastic imagery and insightful videos, you also need strong, emotive and informative copy to support them. Content online varies from words you’d read in a book or in a magazine, so you need to be aware of the differences to maximise on its potential. Online content needs to be punchy, short and powerful.

Remember, the length of time you have to engage with an online audience is much shorter. They typically devote less time to reading so avoid longwinded sentences, incomprehensible paragraphs and difficult words. Place a strong key message — such as the taglines: ‘Likes don’t save lives’ from UNICEF Sweden or ‘Help is a four-legged word’ from Canine Companions — next to a striking image, to increase your chances of engagement.

Whilst pushing out marketing messages with hard-hitting issues, your digital copy must still retain a chatty, familiar tone at all times. A light-hearted persona is key if you want people to carry on reading — nobody wants a lecture when they’re scrolling through Twitter or reading their emails during a break.

Does your campaign require extra funding

Interested in seeking extra funding? If so, here are a few options:

  • Local government: browse a list of local authorities for more information on funding across the UK.
  • Public: according to Company Giving, funds from the general public account for about 35% of voluntary sector income.
  • Business: since donating boosts goodwill and staff morale, corporate donations are growing in popularity.
  • Lottery: nearly 30% of lottery ticket sales are donated to charities.

Now you’re more equipped to achieve success with your digital campaign, go start planning your next one! If your charity has little cash to spare, follow these digital marketing tips to help cut the costs of creating a successful campaign.

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