Inbound Marketing Strategies that Pay Off Big for Nonprofits
At Fervor, we talk a lot about ideal advocates and how to reach them. One way to cut through the competitive noise of nonprofit messages to reach those who most likely want to connect with your organization is through inbound marketing strategies. Let’s take a deeper dive into what inbound marketing is, the strategies we believe nonprofits need to take advantage of, and why they’re so valuable to their overall marketing plan.
What is Inbound Marketing?
The goal of inbound marketing is to attract ideal advocates — donors, volunteers, and those you serve — by creating valuable, educational, and helpful content and experiences specifically tailored to them. The idea is true connection — building meaningful, lasting relationships with others who have like-passions, ideologies, needs, and interests. These individuals are already looking for an organization similar to yours to either solve their problem or to get more involved.
Unlike outbound marketing (which uses disruptive marketing tactics), inbound marketing is more like an invitation that is extended at every stage of the ideal advocate journey. From awareness to assessment, activity and ultimately advocacy, inbound marketing provides opportunities to attract, engage and delight the individuals most interested in your cause, paying off in big dividends for your organization over time.
Inbound Marketing Strategies that Pay Off Big for Nonprofits (and Businesses)
Marketing is a very necessary part of running a business or nonprofit. And just like any other area, managing your marketing budget to get the best results is paramount to your success. Here are 5 essential inbound marketing strategies that bring residual results, making them worth the investment for every nonprofit (and business).
1. Messaging: Clarify who you are and what you do
The biggest marketing risk any organization could take is to delay the clarification of your message — who you are, what you do, and why you exist. A host of differing, mixed messages never cut through the noise. That’s why our flagship offering — a Brand Impact Assessment — is the number one recommendation we make to every organization looking for inbound marketing strategies. It helps you:
- Align your organization to a core message, purpose, and promise.
- Document the distinctives (we call them pillars) that set you apart from other organizations like you.
- Simplify your marketing message so it’s easy to understand, making people want to engage with it.
- Identify and organize your audiences to target your ideal advocates.
2. SEO: Optimize your content for search engines
In order to engage with you, your ideal advocates must first find you. That’s the main objective for optimizing your content for search value. By optimizing everything from your Google My Business profile to your website, blog, social profiles and more, your inbound marketing efforts can gain the traction they need to get results. Here’s what that looks like:
- Identify what you want to be known for. Translate these into keywords people search for, and include them in your content — both existing content and the new content you develop. Keeping these keywords in mind on every page of your website will make a big difference in the overall performance of your content. If your organization serves a local area, consider geo-modifiers that further target the specific location(s) your nonprofit or business serves.
- Optimize your website with proper technical SEO. This not only keeps your site running smoothly and fast, but helps your site rank higher with search engines like Google.
- Create optimal SEO performance for your website by linking between internal pages. Connecting the amazing stories, partner profiles, and educational content on your site will increase your Google rankings and result in maximum exposure in search results pages.
3. Content Development: Produce new, relevant content regularly
Inbound marketing lives and breathes by the new content your organization produces and publishes on a regular basis. Starting with a solid, comprehensive content strategy and plan will help your teams garner the valuable insights and assets necessary to share the impact your nonprofit is making, while also aligning your marketing efforts across multiple channels, timelines, and stages of the ideal advocate journey. Here’s how:
- Create a content strategy & plan that develops content across all channels, identifies the right frequency for your team and ideal advocates, and aligns with the keywords you want to be found for.
- Publish blog content on a regular basis, including impact stories, partner profiles, educational content, and more, promoting your content via social media and email marketing for highest reach.
- Make a plan for taking photos and creating videos that will show (not just tell) the impact your nonprofit is making. Double up on the SEO value of video content by sharing it on YouTube or transcribing audio/video content and posting it to your website.
4. Social Media: Establish a presence and join online conversations critical to your cause
A significant way to promote your organization’s message and share your impact via inbound marketing is on social media. Connections are made everyday through platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, plus, it’s a great way to stay connected to your teams, donors, volunteers and those you serve. A few tactics include:
- Optimizing your social profiles by implementing your clarified messaging. Complete your profiles with revised brand identity and images that support your brand’s message.
- Post regularly. Each platform serves a different purpose, so you’ll want to follow the guidelines and best practices for each to optimize your reach and engagement.
- Creating a hashtag strategy — not just to join already-in-progress conversations critical to your cause, but to further promote your brand and expand your reach.
- Managing your social community with intention on a regular basis. By responding to reviews and comments and reaching out to your ideal advocates, you’ll increase your brand’s awareness and engagement and build your social community.
5. Email Marketing: Nurture relationships with your ideal advocates
Just like any relationship, those developed through inbound marketing are nurtured best through on-going communication like email marketing. From monthly enewsletters to nurturing campaigns that target specific ideal advocate groups, email marketing will help you guide new and existing ideal advocates into a deeper, more meaningful connection with your cause. Options to keep in mind for your inbound marketing strategies via email include:
- Creating email templates to reflect your brand’s identity, personality and messaging while making your organization’s emails visually appealing for different ideal advocate groups. It will not only increase brand recognition for those who open your emails, but maximize your team’s time investment during production.
- Staying top-of-mind and in the top of email inboxes by sending monthly enewsletters. Consider your various ideal advocate groups, the information they need to continue engaging, and how often they need communication without being overwhelmed.
- Setting up multi-email drip campaigns to nurture ideal advocates at specific stages of the ideal advocate journey. Be intentional about the content you provide, thinking about the information your ideal advocates will need most to take the next step in relationship with you.
Drive Donations & Support for your Faith-based Organization
As a marketing agency focused on growing nonprofits, we understand the struggles you face. Planning and executing all of the inbound marketing strategies best suited for your organization doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Reach out to us. Tell us your biggest challenges and our team can put together a plan to maximize your inbound marketing dollars for the most good possible.