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A guide for charities: digital marketing on a budget

Martin Castilla            No comments            Jan, 4

Creating a marketing campaign using digital marketing tactics is a challenge. Digital methods can be both your best friend or your worst enemy. The opportunities available are vast, but so is the competition.

A true fact: the online audience has a much shorter attention span, so digitally marketing a charity on a budget can be a tough task. Luckily, Where The Trade Buys, experts in creating dibond signs, are here to provide a helping hand with this step-by-step guide. We aim to show you how you can design and launch a successful marketing campaign using digital opportunities without spending unnecessary cash.

Defining your campaign goals: your starting point

Everyone wants to standout in the vast space of the internet – 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.

Have you figured out the aims of your campaign? 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.

The campaign audience: who are you targeting?

When planning any type of marketing campaign, carrying out some audience research is hugely important. 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.

Digital tactics will help you find out who your typical target audience is. 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.

There’s a lot to be gained from doing some 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.

A primary message for your campaign

You want to make a last impression with your main campaign message. 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? It helps to include a nonprofit annual report if you can, to show your viewers just what your organization can do to help people. 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.

Decide on a campaign message that has a deep resonance with your organisation. 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.

With the help of social media channels such as Instagram and Facebook, use imagery 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.

Reaching your intended audience with your campaign message

The free medium of social media, certainly provides more scope to reach your audience when you’re on a budget. 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.

Social media has really helped charities market to their audiences effectively, 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 100th anniversary 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.

Creating engaging digital content

Video content has been a big hit in recent years and is set to grow 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!

You don’t just need standout 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.

Your engagement time with an online audience is much shorter, so make it count. 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.

Striking a balance with digital copy is key. Whilst communicating hard-hitting issues, your messages 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.

Do you require additional funding?

Extra funding may be available, if you need it? Here’s some options to choose from:

  • 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.

Hopefully, you’re feeling much more confident to achieve success with a digital campaign? If so, 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.