A Guide for Charities: How to Develop an Effective Digital Marketing Campaign
When generating a marketing plan, digital can be both your best friend or your worst enemy. The opportunities available are vast, but so is the competition.
The attention span of an online audience is shorter, so digitally marketing a charity on a budget can be a tough task.
But we’re 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.
Establish your main campaign goals
The internet is a vast space, and everyone wants a slice of the cake — 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.
To get started, begin with asking yourself… what is my campaign aim? 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.
Who is your campaign audience?
Doing your homework such as compiling audience research, is important – regardless of whether you’re going down the route of 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.
Why not start with creating a typical target audience member using 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.
Also, why not do 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.
Decide on your main message and how to push it out
Now, you need to work on forming a chief marketing 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? 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.
You want to remain memorable, so your campaign message needs to have a strong connection to 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 good quality imagery, use 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.
Reaching people with your campaign and getting noticed
Social media is free so make the most of it. 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.
There are plenty of examples of social media marketing having a positive effect on charities, over the last decade. 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.
Digital content: how to make it effective
Video content is growing in popularity as a means of marketing and engaging online. 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!
Of course, fantastic imagery and insightful videos can only do so much. You must merge these with 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.
You have less time to engage with an online audience. 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.
Even if your campaign is supporting hard-hitting issues, your digital copy must 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.
Have you considered seeking additional funding?
If you’re new to this and need some help for seeking extra funding, here are a few options:
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.
Achieving success with your digital campaign might be a challenge, but it’s a reachable goal. If your charity has little cash to spare, follow these digital marketing tips to help cut the costs of creating a successful campaign.