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Marketing is a must-have component to getting your nonprofit message out

Adapted from a post originally published on the GuideStar Blog.

“Marketing?” you ask.

“Who, us? We’re a nonprofit. We shouldn’t be thinking about marketing — we need to concentrate on our mission.”

Let’s get two things straight: marketing is just as applicable to .orgs as it is to .coms, and a nonprofit can and should approach marketing the same way as (if not better than) a for-profit. In nonprofit terms, marketing is informing people about your mission and attracting those who care about your cause to your organization.

Digital and online marketing can be a powerful tool for nonprofits. Every organization is different and must create and evolve strategies to meet its users’ needs. But I hope that you’ll be able to apply key points in GuideStar’s experience to your organization.

Meet the attention economy

We are currently living in an attention economy. The digital world is inundated with products, brands and people seeking attention. To attract eyes to your organization, you must be more interesting than your prospect’s current subject of attention.

The best way to break a potential prospect’s preoccupation is to incite a feeling of curiosity, wonder or concern. But the good news is that nonprofits tend to have a natural advantage provoking these feelings compared to their for-profit counterparts because their missions are generally geared toward inspiring change.

The GuideStar experience: personas

GuideStar attracts more than 87 million unique users a year, and those users visit GuideStar for a wide variety of reasons. That's a lot of attention focused on many different parts of our organization. To best serve our users, we identified and segmented these visitors into 17 different personas.

Segmenting our audience in this way allows us to create a vast library of different messaging and content for our multiple value propositions as well as a different user experience for each persona. With this tailored approach, we can educate our users on how GuideStar can best help them achieve their goals on our site.

Wait! What is a persona?

Defining personas is one of the first steps in creating a top-down, funnel approach to marketing. The funnel approach not only lets you create your footprint in digital marketing but also an ever-increasing, evergreen strategy that will keep your organization marketing successfully far into the future.

How good is your website?

Before you begin extensive outreach, you must ensure that your website offers your users an optimal experience. This process can be simple as making sure your landing pages are clear and concise with intuitively navigable conversion and registration points. Pretend you’re a first-time visitor. Does the page load quickly? Do the hyperlinks, tabs, or pull-down menus work? Are the content and next steps easily navigable? Was there an easy transition to the next page?

Read the full article and more nonprofit marketing advice from GuideStar here.

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MissionBox editorial content is offered as guidance only, and is not meant, nor should it be construed as, a replacement for certified, professional expertise.

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