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It is always a great idea to have a marketing strategy for your nonprofit organization. Many do not see the value of having one, but marketing for a nonprofit should be similar to a business. While your goals may differ, the same methods are still used to gain support and funding for your organization. Marketing is also seen as very costly, which is a reason why some nonprofit organizations steer clear of it. However, there are several low-cost options that can be used to effectively use web marketing without emptying your entire budget.

Here are five low-cost marketing strategies and tips that can help increase your exposure through web marketing:

1. Create an incredible and memorable site.

First and foremost, develop a fully functional website that represents your organization. If you are serious about your organization, then you want to make sure you have a professional website. While there is nothing wrong with a do-it-yourself website with free hosting, it is not advisable for a serious endeavor. It is better if your website does not include words at the bottom such as “This is an XYZ (free web host) website.”

Also, no matter how small or big your website is, an aesthetically pleasing design and royalty-free photography will give a great impression and bolster trust in your website visitors. You can always make a very small nonprofit organization look magnified with a professionally designed website.

2. Blog often.

Just like having a nice website is important, so is having an updated blog. A blog will allow you to post new and up-to-date happenings within your nonprofit, relevant feature stories, press releases and more. By having this item, you will keep your visitors interested, improve the stickiness of your website, and encourage your content to be shared on social media and elsewhere. Do some research into your demographic of customers to find out their philanthropic interests, as well as how your organization can assist and motivate them to get involved in your organization. Highlight all the incredible things your organization is doing in the community and how you are working hard to accomplish your mission. Provide useful and applicable information that will keep them coming back for more. Blog often, at least once a day. More is always better! This will bump up your information in search engines and make your material easier to find across the web.

3. Develop simple, sleek, and consistent branding for your organization.

Many times nonprofit organizations will not put a lot of thought into branding. First, nail down a very simple logo that is memorable and attractive, but not too complex. From there, develop a list of what you want the organization to be about, such as quality service, excellent results, etc. Determine who you are and what sets you apart from other nonprofit organizations with similar goals. From there, make sure that all of your website, letterheads, signage, and so on are all branded with the same logo and communicate the same language and ideas. It is important to be focused because individuals will not trust brands that seem to be all over the place, without a consistent idea, vision or plan.

4. Become active on social media.

Social media has become a force to reckon with these days and must be a part of the marketing toolkit of every business and organization. In any marketing strategy, it is important to go where the people are. The majority of individuals you are looking for tend to frequent major social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram. To simply neglect social media can be detrimental to your organization. Individuals want to know that you can relate to and reach them, and are relevant. If you seem like a dinosaur company, your support will be minimal. Create engaging content. This will capture the interest of your target group.

5. Don’t forget about your opt-in.

Create an email opt-in at the top right side of your website page. Ultimately, when you transmit content through social media, you want to send clients to your website through links, with the opportunity to capture their email through an opt-in form. If you offer something for free, in exchange for email, you may have a higher rate of opt-ins. This is important is because you do not want your organization to be fully dependent on a social network. If that social network disappears, starts charging outrageously, or kicks you off for some reason, you will have collected value email addresses so that you are able to smoothly continue your relationship with your clients. Email them often with useful information.

In sales, a “hook” is something catchy or enticing that attracts attention and, hopefully, leads to a mutually beneficial business transaction. However, the term also has an older and far less positive connotation.

During the vaudeville shows of years past, acts that didn’t immediately capture the audience’s favor were pulled off the stage with a long-handled hook. No second chance to show their stuff. Exit stage left.

So how do you make sure your “hook” is good enough to keep you from being “hooked” like those performers of the past? Let’s say you have crafted the perfect subject line for your email. Is that enough to keep you center stage so you can seal the deal?

Absolutely not. Every word, every phrase, in the content of your email has to be carefully chosen.

Spam filters are becoming smarter and more efficient. They have to. According to a report on NBC Nightly News, the number of spam emails in 2015 doubled, soaring from 30 billion to 60 billion. The use of Artificial Intelligence in monitoring emails has created filters that have the ability to adapt to any attempts to deceive the system.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get your message delivered and not dumped:

  1. Don’t show it; say it. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a single image in the body of your email will almost surely send you directly to the junk folder.
  2. Don’t repeat yourself. If you use the same wording in your content that you used in your subject line, your message will most likely be flagged as spam.
  3. Don’t be long-winded. Keep your content concise and clear. More than 750 words of content will target you as spam that must be sent to the internet landfill.
  4. Don’t use “do not pass go” words. These are the words you have been warned against using in your subject lines. “Free,” “Guaranteed,” “Winner” and the like will be picked up by spam filters and your message will be trashed.

  5. Do look into some of the programs and websites that offer the opportunity (some without charge) for you to discover possible problems before you send your emails. Here are some that might work:
    • http://mxtoolbox.com/deliverability – This tool enables you to send your email to ping@tools.mxtoolbox.com, and then click “View Report” to receive your full analysis of their SPF records, their headers, and the reputation of your outbound IP.
    • https://www.sendforensics.com/email-deliverability-test/ – This tool enables you to run a free report that monitors delivery performance that includes deliverability scoring, layout, link quality and vocabulary analysis, and more. You can also purchase additional features for a paid plan.
    • https://www.emailonacid.com/ – This simple email testing tool tests your email on 47 different email clients and mobile devices, including Mail Chimp, Marketo, Vertical Response, and more.

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Meetings – some love them, some hate them; some want them short, others want them lengthy. Truly, the length and breadth of a meeting is not as important as its objective. In 1896, when the idea of meetings was established, it was prompted by the need to share information among schools. Today, this concept remains the same.

With Planned Growth, our monthly meetings are a chance for us to share information with hopes for a reciprocal effort from our clients. This is part of a marketing strategy, as our Client Service Manager Brenden follows a specific agenda that includes: Continue reading Growing and Succeeding with our Monthly Overview Meetings

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Planned Growth has a new addition to its force. He is Brenden Hojara, our new Client Service Manager, who is “really excited to be working with Planned Growth.” Brenden has big plans, which mainly include helping you turn your dreams into actionable initiatives.

Today, a service-focused business is incomplete without that one person who takes charge in working closely with clients. It isn’t an easy job but it is one of the most rewarding because the client service manager can observe clients’ dreams coming into fruition.

Planned Growth has innovatively mastered the integration of key elements in Internet marketing and standing guard over the implementation of this working model. There are numerous benefits of having Brenden work with you, as you will see below: Continue reading The Value of a Great Client Service Manager to Your Business