The reason for undertaking digital marketing activities is to draw attention to your brand and ultimately attract growth. Whether that’s through conventional sale of a product or service, sale of a membership, subscription or securing a donation. The goal is growth, so whatever growth looks like to your organisation, we need to keep that as our point of reference in ascertaining if our digital marketing activities are successful or not.
In 2018 the expectation is often that distributing your digital marketing campaigns will be multi-channel. Email has been joined by a plethora of social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest…) as well as SEO, PPC, Display ads, your website and online blogging space etc.
Personality is a relational builder or breaker. That expectation is as relevant to brands as to people. Developing your brand is key to success. When we talk about brand, that term is no longer reserved for your logo or trademark, it encompasses everything that determines the personality of your organisation, it’s how you think, how you communicate, how you behave and how you are perceived.
When we are responsible for representing the brand we need to be conscious of communicating that personality. In order to get closer to those we are seeking connection with, we need to enter into dialogue and participation, securing their engagement. Communication is key to the success of any relationship. It’s a tool worth investing in, respecting and recognising as all-powerful.
Brand and personality are ‘always on’ entities, especially in the realms of digital marketing. We no longer determine our ‘business hours’. Our digital presence makes our organisation accessible 24/7 to those we exist to serve and seek to connect with. We don’t determine how or when they connect with us, but we can ensure that our brand personality is present in the conversation, however and wherever they want to communicate and interact.
Your website and social channels are the places that people gravitate towards to connect with you and seek help, so they exist to serve and add value to your audience.
For those operating in the commercial space your website is all about enabling customers to find product and relevant information to make their purchase quickly and easily.
In the most basic sense membership organisations exist to serve a community by providing a straightforward joining process which provides access to the values of membership. These values often include easy to find, quality relevant content and services that will keep them coming back and renewing with ease year-on-year.
Providing information and a public face to your charity plays an important role in helping you to gain and maintain trust whilst inspiring potential fundraisers and donors with heartwarming life stories. Digital is a fantastic conduit for this with its many channels and tools. Charities that provide additional support to fundraisers such as materials, shareable content for social media and easy sponsorship portals such as Just Giving pages are likely to experience increased giving and fundraiser loyalty with repeated patterns of involvement.
The essence of serving is keeping your intended audience at the centre of everything. How is this piece of content going to add value? How is this offer or service going to benefit them? What can we do better? What can we tell them we’re going to do to address their needs/questions/complaints? Most importantly how can we demonstrate that we are listening, and that we value their connection?
Having a content strategy is really key, the saying may be ‘content is King’, but ‘context is Queen’ and she tells the King what to do! Make sure to give your audience what they came for, with some additional value add take-aways! Ensure your content is easily sharable whether that’s onsite through social media sharing options, or through your social networks. Where feasible make sure you get all the value you can out of it by breaking it down into smaller pieces to broadcast appropriately across channels, driving traffic to your site. And don’t forget to monitor the success of what’s working, use Google Analytics to prove what’s working and develop your strategy based on that. Success breeds success!
Demonstrating the value of connection is a critical marketing tool and action motivator. For commercial organisations demonstrating the value is somewhat simpler with offers, promotions and clear fiscal benefits of shopping online.
Charities ordinarily are demonstrating a different kind of ‘saving’, often relating to lives, species, environments etc. The value that charities contribute to society needs to be conveyed clearly at every opportunity. The messaging around this value is critical to success in harnessing the buy-in of potential supporters.
Membership organisations widely fall into two general categories – those where it is mandatory to be a member to function in a professional field, and those where membership is optional.
Regardless of whether membership is compulsory or optional, many membership organisations are working in increasingly competitive environments and need to prove the value they provide. Whether this is as a Union, making the voice of members heard at Government level, petitioning for rights, or providing advice, information, legal cover or other services, focusing on the differentiators has never been more important.
For those where membership is optional, it is vital to take a pro-active approach to providing value in membership. The drive to not only meet but exceed expectations is imperative in harnessing the ultimate asset of recommendation so critical to securing and retaining members.
The other aspect to ‘Save’ is the impact on your organisation internally. What efficiencies can be provided through use of digital? Is there an integration project that would save your organisation time and money by making systems connect and reduce the need for manual intervention, and the risk of costly errors? Would an integration between your CRM and website provide value to members in streamlining and improving their user experience?
Are you setting goals and KPI’s for the performance of channels and activities? Where you can demonstrate success and savings (potentially against more traditional channels and activities) you are adding value to your organisation. Presenting those savings internally will help to secure your budget and future funding and prove the value they add. In certain cases, sharing those savings publicly can be of additional value. Being able to demonstrate to members, fundraisers and donors how their contribution to your organisation is being invested and grown increases trust through transparency. This kind of visibility and accountability provides an assurance of your responsibility and the value of connection.
‘Sizzle’ is the ultimate aspiration of a marketeer. It’s about creating an effective, positive, engaging experience of your brand online that increases satisfaction, advocacy and recommendation from your audience. Ultimately, these are the magic ingredients that will help to grow and sustain your organisation into the future.
When thinking about creating the ‘sizzle’ its worth thinking about both the pain and pleasure points of your audience. What buttons can you press in your communication or methods that will grab their attention and get them to engage with you. How can you provide a rewarding experience, where’s the ‘feel good’ factor when they donate, or register? How do we reinforce the message of value back to them upon interaction?
Where are the opportunities to innovate? Thinking outside of the box and doing something new and exciting (although not contrary to who you are as a brand!) can also add to the ‘sizzle’ factor. Take time where you can to do some lateral thinking, even better, get some heads in a room and throw some ideas around – who knows what might happen!?!