When you’re immersed in online and traditional marketing activities for your fundraiser, it’s easy to get caught up in the details. The challenge is to step back and understand the bigger picture when it comes to combining your online and traditional marketing activities in to one strategy that you can be in control of.
The good news is, with some planning, you’ll be able to form a strategy that incorporates all the seemingly disparate elements which can benefit each other and reinforce your overall marketing message.
Developing a Strong Brand for Your Group and Fundraising Efforts
Linking all of your different marketing activities together makes it much easier to deliver a consistent message. One of the first tasks to undertake is developing a strong visual brand for your communications by using the same logo and themes throughout all of your on- and off-line activities. This will help make your brand and your cause more recognizable within each published item, gradually building up awareness for your cause.
Another way to strengthen your brand would be to use a tagline consistently throughout all your communications. This could be taken from your mission statement, but it has to be something that will work for different projects and for different communication channels. It’s not as easy as it sounds, because it has to be unique to your group (do your research), shouldn’t sound ‘generic’ and has to be simple and somewhat memorable.
Target Content Delivery to Audiences at Different Channels
The best way of linking all your communications is by drawing up a plan for your content delivery. Not every article, call for donations, or other communication may be ideal for every audience across all channels, or to be delivered at the same time. Target each message or communication to a specific audience channel and at a specific target date. For example, a formal call for donations may be appropriate for mail delivery, maybe an e-mail campaign, but may not work at all for your audience on Facebook or Twitter.
Conversely, design messages specifically for your target audiences at different channels. For example Twitter lends itself to get snippets of information about your group to the public, or keeping your followers informed about a current campaign.
Differentiate your messages by audience and content and tailor your communications for each media you publish to. You don’t have to communicate the exact same words with everyone at the same time.
Coordinating Online Efforts
Your website acts as the main hub that contains all your group’s background information and that you can link to from all your other online activities. E-mails, blogs and social media channels all refer back to your main website. That way if anyone would like some more information about your group or fundraiser, they’ll be only a click away. You’ll also be able to keep most of your messages short, sending those interested in more detailed background information to your main website.
Conversely, your group’s website should link out to all other channels available: your social media accounts, newsletter sign-up, physical address and map etc. Social media icons make sharing of your posts easier and inform your audience about your different social media groups at the same time. Don’t forget to add social media icons to your e-mail signature.
Coordinating with Traditional or ‘Offline’ Activities
All of your traditional marketing activities that take place on-site at your group’s physical location can follow a similar principle to your online marketing activities. Networking presentations, paper messages, newsletters and business cards should all direct people to your online activities by adding your website URL and/or social media addresses. (Reminder: keep all your URLs and social media account names as simple as possible.)
Consider your offline marketing as a conduit to your online activities. Your audience can take your printed communications, look you up online, get a ‘bigger picture’ about your brand and your group’s key messages, or connect with you through social media or your blog. Make sure that your traditional marketing strategy always includes all information about your group as well (incl. contact information), since not everyone can or wants to go online for more information.
Also read: 9 Tips for Running a Marathon Fundraiser
Monitor Your Marketing Efforts Continuously
Have your latest posts on Twitter – or lack of them – resulted in losing followers? Have you received negative press? Have donations been unusually low? Have you not been able to reach as many people as you hoped with your latest fundraising efforts? Causes for any of these can be many and even though a knee jerk reaction is usually not to your advantage, listening and acknowledging what’s going on is, especially when you have received complaints or any other kind of negative feedback. You can use several tools to monitor your online reputation; but when it comes to how to react you should have a plan in place, especially when you’ve had negative press. How exactly you will address it may be subjective, but to address it at all and in a positive and timely manner will be very important.
It can be quite a handful to get organized and coordinate all marketing efforts into one complete strategy. How to get started? Make a list! For example, list all your upcoming events incl. calls for donations (leave plenty of space underneath each point), then add the channels that each event will be held at or communicated about next to the events.
Or you can start out with a list of your channels (website, social media accounts, printed newsletter, e-mail newsletter etc.) and then add to them news, upcoming events, calls for donations and how or if you’ll communicate them through each channel. Finally, assign responsibilities based on each channel or based on activity.
Even though it takes some time to get organized, coordinating your online and traditional marketing efforts will pay off in the long run with a more consistent message for your group and more efficient use of your time, because your efforts will be more targeted and there will be less room for errors or miscommunications.