Guest post by Laura Hampton of Zabisco
Digital marketing is all about engagement. It’s about creating an online profile and showing your personality as a means to interacting with the end user and better appealing to their needs. But how exactly is this achieved?
It’s one thing to be ‘doing digital marketing’, quite another to be making it work for you. Since joining Pimp My Cause, we’ve seen charities making the same mistakes again and again. So, following chats with three of the causes on the site - Avert, Upbeat Music and Rainbows, we’ve put together our top tips for digital marketing success:
1. The Website
The first step to digital marketing success is to have a well-planned and well-executed online profile. This means making sure your website is up to scratch.
Your website is your online representation and it should represent you in the best way possible. Whether you have a website already or if you’re just starting out in the online world, it’s important to think about what your charity is trying to achieve through the website and what information you want to get across to potential audiences.
A large part of this communication is in your design, branding and tone of voice. Keep this consistent with input and guidance from your branding team or, if you don’t have a branding team, create the documentation yourself. This will help you focus your aims and also give you something to refer to if/when you employ an agency to create your website or any other materials for you. You will also need to refer back to your branding and tone of voice to guide your social media and PR efforts.
Upbeat Music lacked clarity in their brand and their website looked out-dated and difficult to read. The user experience could be improved by rethinking the design and updating the page titles.
Another huge consideration is user experience, as this will say a lot about your brand too. How do you present your request for donation and how does that process work? How easy is it for the user to find what they need? What accessibility options, if any, do you have in place?
Avert was lacking clarity in their message and their website was confusing. They needed to rethink what was important and how best to structure the content and navigation around that.
You can then keep your website relevant and up to date with regular new content – perhaps consider adding a blog to your site to keep visitors up to date with what you’re up to, or a more formal news feed which will also be useful for the press. You could also link to your social media, so your audience can see all the places you’re active on the web.
By investing the time and money in your website, you can ensure your brand is understood as you want it to be.
2. The Social Media
Of the causes we spoke to, all were already using social media. The problem was regularity.
It’s a common mistake that charities (and other businesses) make; they attempt to be active in a wide range of social media and, in doing so, are properly active in none. But, as we all know, it can be tough to find the time or the resource to invest in digital marketing.
To make the most of your time, first consider where your audiences are already active. It may be that your typical user is a fan of Facebook, in which case you’d want to be active on Facebook too. Alternatively, Twitter may be their network of choice and, in the same way, you’d want to be active on Twitter too.
By identifying where your audiences are already active, you can target your activity to those areas, putting the effort in when it counts and not spreading yourself too thinly.
Rainbows had profiles on various social networks, but lacked consistency and regularity in all of them.
Again, refer back to your branding and tone of voice guidelines. Be clear on what you’re trying to say and how you will say it, as well as how it will benefit your audience and your organisation, and use that understanding to inform the work you do. By keeping branding and tone of voice consistent, your social media activity becomes the voice of your organisation and takes on a personality with which people can engage and empathise.
3. The Online PR and Link Building
Don’t expect your audience to find out about you and what you’re up to without any work from you. It’s up to you to maintain and build on your online reputation – both for your audiences and for search engine optimisation purposes.
The best place to start with online PR is to start writing a blog. As mentioned previously, you can add this into your website and it will give your audience and media the chance to stay up to date with your activity. And it doesn’t need to be taxing or formal; so long as you are regularly sharing your news, you’ll build up engagement and increase traffic to your site.
Through your blog, media contacts may decide to get in touch with you, so you may wish to highlight newsworthy stories and ensure your contact details are clear on all of your posts.
The next step is to start taking that content directly to relevant media contacts. This include relevant trade magazines and websites (consider sites like CharityComms, Third Sector and Charity Times), as well as influential bloggers and social media brands who might be able to help you raise your profile. Identify those sources which are relevant to you and tell them about your news.
When a piece of news is featured, be sure to include a link back to your website. This will send more traffic your way and also increase your prominence in search engine results pages. And it doesn’t stop there - make the most of the feature by sharing it through your social networks and on your site so your audience can see that you’re out there spreading your message.