5 Signs You May Need Help With Your Nonprofit MarketingJun 23, 2022
We’ve talked in previous blog posts about how important it is to track your nonprofit marketing metrics. You know the difference between vital metrics and vanity metrics. But all the data in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t know what to do with it — or, worse yet, if you DO know what to do with your marketing insights, but you simply don’t have the time or team necessary to properly act upon them.
Marketing is like one of those staggeringly tall tower cranes you see in big cities. A tower crane is an enormously powerful work of engineering, capable of moving massive amounts of weight far and wide with seemingly relative ease. As you watch them from afar, they slide and shift and spin with steady grace. Before you know it a new skyscraper begins to sprout and stretch high into the air.
We tend to overlook that Tower Cranes require a serious and secure foundation. It takes extremely strategic planning, long hours, and immense amounts of hard work to get that huge piece of equipment up and running in the first place. A single crane requires a highly-trained and dedicated team to construct, maintain, and effectively operate. And you can’t build a skyscraper without one.
For your marketing to be successful, you have to build a strategic plan and a steady foundation. Marketing requires time, training, talent, and teamwork to function. And if, as the leader of your nonprofit, you’re reaching for the sky… well, you’re going to need some help with that crane.
These are some key factors to watch out for when deciding whether or not it’s time to seek outside assistance and expertise for your nonprofit marketing and communication efforts:
1. You Struggle With Your Nonprofit Website SEO
Fortunately, there are a number of tools for analyzing different elements of website effectiveness. Here are just two of the most useful and accessible among them, to help get you started:
If you aren’t already investigating and utilizing the insights provided by Google Analytics, this should be your first step. It is a valuable and vital tool for a number of reasons.
Google Analytics is “a free web analytics tool that can help you analyze your website traffic and measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. It can help nonprofits optimize their website to turn their traffic into donations, event registrations, or volunteer applications” (Google Analytics Guide for Nonprofits).
The tool allows you to better understand who visits your website, how they got there, and how those visitors engage with your website. What pages do they view? What information do they read? Where do they click? How long do they stay?
Once you get a grasp for these figures, you can start to identify trends among your visitors to your website. You’ll learn more about the makeup of your audience and their digital “journey,” and identify the ineffective or problematic parts of your site that may need an update or redesign.
Google Search Console
Whereas Google Analytics focuses on your website traffic, Google Search Console instead targets your website SEO. This data is crucial, as it allows you to monitor the impressions and clicks your site generates, and how your site performs in regards to Google Search results.
While useful, this tool is where things start to get a little more complicated, as you begin to dig into the backend of website design, optimization, and performance. Optimizing a website for search is no easy feat. There are many factors that go into SEO, ranging from the proper use and placement of relevant keywords to the speed at which pages on your site load.
The Google Search Algorithm can be a mighty and mysterious monster. It takes time, effort, and more than a few deep breathing exercises to get on top of all of the factors that go into nonprofit SEO. But the Google Search Console is a good place to start.
Still Struggling With SEO?
An effective website is foundational to proper nonprofit marketing. It can be easy to get a little lost amongst the dizzying array of different reports, graphs, and statistics, especially if you’re new to these sorts of metrics. And to top it off, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s much more lurking below the surface.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to fall on your shoulders to master the intricacies of SEO. There are experts out there who specialize in making sure your website is effective and improving your visibility in search results. And just like you'd hire an outside specialist to do your legal or accounting work, this is an area where getting outside help is ultimately your most cost-effective path.
2. Your Nonprofit Cannot Afford To Employ A Full-Time Marketing Team
As you well know, the number one concern for nonprofit leaders is funding. Whatever your mission, the money your organization raises is a fickle and finite resource, which must be used with care and precision to achieve the best results — in terms of both social impact and organizational stability.
To make matters worse, the 2022 Nonprofit Trends Report reveals that no less than 73.2% of nonprofit leaders are even more concerned about their financial position this year than they were last year. As if it wasn’t challenging enough already.
Although an in-house marketing team staffed by the right people would be ideal, it may not be in the cards for your organization at this time. But the success of your marketing is synonymous with the success of your nonprofit as a whole. One way or the other, you still have to spread the word, find support, acquire volunteers, and raise donations.
If you need help with your marketing, but cannot pay for your own team, it may be time to bring in outside expertise. That way you won’t break your bank, or your back from trying to do it all yourself. You’ll spend less, sweat less, and achieve more.
3. You Need To Revitalize Your Nonprofit Messaging (But Don’t Know What Else To Say)
Have you ever said a word so many times in a row that it stops sounding like a real word?
Try it out: Bowl. Bowl. Bowl…bowl, bowl, bowl, bowl… bowl. Bowl. Booowwwllll.
Weird right? Even as I typed the word, it became stranger and stranger. I’m no longer convinced I know what to put my cereal in, anymore.
This is a phenomenon known as Semantic Satiation: “a psychological phenomenon wherein the repetition of a word, whether it’s visual or oral, causes it to lose its meaning for the viewer/listener, and makes it seem like it’s just a meaningless sound.
Historically, the term ‘semantic satiation’ has been used to refer to the subjective loss of meaning that comes as a result of prolonged exposure to a word.”
This isn’t just a fun fact. It’s also an important consideration when it comes to your messaging. When you’ve said the same phrase, written the same tagline, used the same slogan, and spun the same story over and over for years and years, the message you’re attempting to share literally starts to lose its meaning, to you and others alike.
But it can be enormously difficult to envision a change to the words, phrases and communication styles you’ve used for so long. They become so ingrained within your conscious and subconscious that it becomes difficult (if not impossible) to craft an effective, alternative message yourself.
In short, you just don’t know what else to say.
Given how fast-paced and ever-shifting the world of digital marketing is, and the countless other responsibilities on your shoulders as a leader, you don’t have time to sit in the throes of writer’s block, staring at a blank word document, thinking about how weird the word “bowl” sounds.
Instead, bring in new minds and new ideas from the outside to help you with your messaging. You’ll be amazed at the simple, yet profound impact a fresh pair of eyes can have on reenergizing your marketing efforts.
4. You Feel Overwhelmed By Your Nonprofit Marketing
There’s no two ways around it. The digital marketing landscape is confusing, complicated and ever-changing. And while you might be a nonprofit superhero, even Superman had his kryptonite.
Try as you might, you cannot handle everything yourself. That’s the surest path to stress, feeling overwhelmed, and the frustration of overwork that can not only impact you, but trickle down to your team. This detrimentally affects not only the specific goals of your mission itself, but the foundation beneath your nonprofit as a whole.
Don’t burn yourself out. You’re too important to the health and success of your mission. There are people counting on you, both inside and outside your organization, and they need the skills, experience, and drive that only you have.
Given how vital they are, marketing and communication efforts aren’t the easiest things to entrust to others. But by securing the advice and assistance of experts, you can remove a huge weight from your shoulder, freeing you to take on the challenges that you, and only you, can handle.
Your family, staff, and circadian rhythm will thank you for it.
5. You’ve Read This Far
If you’ve made it this far, chances are you’re already weighing the pros and cons of bringing in outside marketing help. If that’s the case, why not schedule a free 30-minute consultation? We’d be delighted to learn more about your unique challenges, goals, and marketing needs, and we’d be honored to offer our guidance, expertise, and creativity in the ways that suit you best.
The success of your nonprofit mission is your priority. The success of your nonprofit marketing is ours.
Hope to hear from you soon.