5 Tips for Non-Profits to Master SEO

nonprofit seo

There are many reasons why non-profits have a great opportunity in digital marketing channels. The competition is low, their brands are authoritative and private companies love to be linked to them to improve their PR and brand recognition.

One of the online channels with great opportunities for non-profits is Search Engine Optimisation. Follow these 5 tips and make it work for you.

1. Understand your potential

How powerful is your non-profit’s website? Google uses a very complex algorithm to assign a value to every website that it will later use to decide which one is shown in rankings when someone uses the search engine.

In order to understand this value we can use 2 metrics from different trusted SEO tools, Domain Authority (DA) from Moz and Trust Flow (TF) from MajesticSEO. Even if you don’t have a paid for account, you’ll be able to see this data.

I’ve used 2 non-profits as examples to see how many points they are given:

(Please note that Orbis is a big and well-established international non-profit and Help them Hope a small national non-profit operating in Peru.)

As you can see, there are big differences in the above values, but these numbers are not helpful unless you have some context. Find your competitor’s score and see how your site fares against them.

2. Understand what works for you

I am sure if you are a UK non-profit like Orbis you would love to rank for terms such as “Donate to Charity”. And as I’m sure you know, this can prove difficult. The first non-profit that shows for this term is Oxfam. They score a DA=87 and a TF=66. However, you really don’t need to go after these big competitive terms; there are thousands of long tail keywords that would be more strategic. The question is: how do we find them?

If you log into your Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console), you will be able to find many keywords that your site is ranking for. Go to Search Traffic/Search Queries and download these keywords in a spreadsheet.

webmaster tools

This is the data for the last month for my digital marketing blog. I sorted the data by impressions to see where the opportunities are.

You can now easily check your current rankings for the top 10 keywords and see how far you are from 1st position. In my case, I have a great opportunity in RLSA as there is lot of interest based on the number of impression and I’m just 2 positions off 1st page.

If you are a registered non-profit in the UK, you are eligible for Google Grants, free AdWords advertising in Google! You can use this grant as a testing tool to see how the chosen keywords convert for you. If you see these are working for you, you´re in a stronger position to start your SEO campaign.

Now that we have the data and we know what to focus on, let’s see how we can put this into practice.

3. Make it accessible

We first need to check your On Site ranking factors to make sure Google can access your site easily and understands what you offer to potential visitors. Here is a checklist:

  1. Title tags: Do you use unique title tags in each page? Are these under 60 characters long? Do you use keywords when appropriate?
  2. Meta descriptions: Do you use engaging meta descriptions to improve your Click Through Rates? Make sure you add ‘call to actions’ to stimulate clicks.
  3. Page speed: How quick is your site to load? This is a very important SEO ranking factor
  4. Internal linking: Do you use internal links to refer users from one page to another? Internal linking is one of the best tools at your disposal to help Google understand what your site is about.

A great tool which will help you with this checklist is Woorank. Woorank analyses your on-page SEO accessibility and lets you know what you should focus on.

4. Build Links

This is where non-profits have their best chance to improve their SEO value.

Donors: Have a look at your list of current corporate donors. Do you have a link from their sites to yours? Go and ask them if they can put up an article on their blog/news section about how cool they are by funding one your latest projects. Offer them help to write up the article and they should be happy to oblige.

Badges: Most companies that donates to charity likes to be linked to the organisation they’re supporting. Why don’t you create an official badge that every donor can proudly show on their homepage? Make sure this badge contains a link back to your site.

Events: Charities tend to organise events in collaborations with other companies/organisations. Make sure you do a write up article talking about how great these companies are and let them know once this is published in your blog. They’re likely to take the bait and link back to your article to show their customers the great endorsement you’ve written about them.

5. Monitor your results

SEO is an art; you can’t scientifically prove what will work and what won’t. Therefore most of your successes will come from testing! And in order to test, you need to monitor the impact from your activities.

One tool I really like for this purpose is Serplab. Serplab is an amazing free tool that will allow you to monitor your rankings for all your chosen keywords on a daily basis. You can even set an automatic email with a daily report so you don’t even need to log into the tool.

Implement, monitor, learn and repeat!


Alvaro Bellido is London-based digital marketer passionate about non-profits, advertising and entrepreneurship. Alvaro collaborates with a number of non-profits as a digital consultant as well as London-based start-ups. You may find him on Google+, Twitter and his personal website.

Personal to Pro: Selling Ideas Like a Motivational Speaker

public speaking

One of the most important ingredients for a successful, happy and harmonious life is the ability to communicate effectively. Life is built upon relationships, and one of the components of positive, successful connections is good communication. This applies in both your personal and professional life.

Motivational speakers are known for their skilled communication abilities, and we can learn a lot from them. Whether you work for an existing company or are an entrepreneur, the only way you’ll be able to sell your ideas is by communicating what you’re offering in an effective and compelling way. The same goes for having a satisfying personal life. Here are five of the hallmark strengths of the very best motivational speakers that you can incorporate into your own communication style:

1. Know Your Audience

Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Every customer, individual or group you will be addressing is unique. Get to know their background as well as their primary wants, needs and concerns. Focus on the individual aspirations of each person you speak to, whether it’s an employee, a customer, your child or your life partner.

2. Establish Credibility

If you’re meeting someone for the first time, you’ll likely have to work to establish credibility and earn their trust. If you’re pitching new ideas, define a proven methodology ahead of time that you can explain and help compel your audience. Whether your agenda is personal or professional, create a detailed, step-by-step, clear plan for success. Your credibility will rise exponentially if you can point to past successes based upon the same formula.

3. Learn From the Best

When choosing and refining your communication style, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Look to successful speakers and great leaders that you admire and glean ideas and inspiration from them. For example, consider Josh Shipp or Ed Young; according to inc.com, Shipp is a motivational sensei, employing both his youthful spirit and sense of humor to relate to audiences. Ed Young, the founder of Ed Young Fellowship Church, uses a creative communication style that helps to make even complex ideas easy to understand and apply, according to FellowshipChurch.com.

4. Build a Genuine Connection

While this tip will be easier to apply in your personal life, it can be invaluable in your professional life as well. No matter who the person is, no matter what their background or walk of life, you can relate to them on an authentic personal level. All you have to do is speak from the heart and have true empathy for them as a fellow human being. We all want pretty much the same things in life: security, peace of mind and to be appreciated. If you relate to every person you meet with this in mind, your relationships are likely to thrive.

5. Expect the Best of People

A positive attitude and outlook can go a long way toward success in every area of your life. Try and enter into every human interaction with an expectation of the highest and best outcome from the exchange. Visualize your ideal scenario with that person before the meeting begins. Expect the very best from people, and you’ll likely be amazed at what transpires.

public speaking

Sean Patterson is an English instructor and is working on his first screenplay.

Brand Conversations: Not Just On Your Twitter Feed

social media marketing

Are you in charge of running a company’s social media campaign? If so, you know that your brand receives all kinds of feedback from followers on social media.

In day-to-day monitoring and community management, social media managers are faced with both positive and negative mentions about their brands. From complimentary praise to harmful attack, social media feeds reflect what people think, feel and write about brands and products.

For marketers, this is of top concern. They should be aware of how their brand is being perceived. The three Cs for marketing teams are Content, Conversations and Community. How is the brand developing content? How are marketing teams leading and responding to brand conversations? What’s the community vibe of a particular product and brand?

Dedicated Twitter feeds, like the Twitter stream of iAcquire NYC, are growing in practice; Facebook pages are optimizing the use of social opt-ins and digital marketing firms are selling social services to clients across the entire online spectrum.

But it’s not the only thing. Where’s the conversation about your company happening? It isn’t just on your social media stream. It’s happening in forums, online webinars, LinkedIn chains, street level marketing events and brand-sponsored tours. How can brands utilize these areas to drive partnerships, bring in new customers and offer up new branding opportunities? Let’s take a look:

Buzz Marketing (aka Word of Mouth Marketing)

As Forbes rightly points out, word of mouth marketing just keeps getting better. Why? It’s a sign that a company is doing something right, and many people are driven to want its product or service. Brands can use teaser and buzz marketing campaigns to build conversations around some of their customers’ best testimonials. For years TV ad campaigns have used customer testimonials. More recently, there are buzzworthy tee-shirt campaigns in urban centers, delivering messages (and sometime free swag) to passers-by.

Street Marketing

Consumer brands should look to street marketing activities for many of their offline campaigns. They can set up booths at city festivals, sponsor local industry functions, and align themselves with local non-profits or worthy causes to boost their community partnership standing.

Marketing Forums

Marketing leaders on all fronts should follow industry insights to benefit their daily roles. LinkedIn hosts a number of industry forums to follow, as do local professional associations. Global and international associations have forums worth following, too.

TV Advertising

A great TV campaign can spark online and offline conversations about your brand. A great product, along with a great message, good timing and a link to the current cultural zeitgeist will help any TV ad campaign. From “Where’s the Beef’ years ago to the best TV ads of 2013, great TV ads can capture a brand’s audience and get them talking about and engaging with the brand. TV ain’t dead yet.

Industry Webinars

Marketers can learn a lot from hosting, sponsoring and participating in online webinars. Direct feedback from customers, competitors, and potential new business partners is invaluable to marketing teams. The key to making a webinar valuable is understanding essential industry topics that need further discussion. If your timing is right, then your webinar can have long-lasting benefits. Set it up with a provocative title, invite the best marketers, and host it with one of these top webinar platforms.

Once marketers spend some time off Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, they may find there is another, sometime deeper, discussion taking place. Online and off, it’s time to manage the discussion of your brand, with the audience that suits your company best.

big data

Guest post by Lucy Kim. Lucy is a mom and avid environmentalist who runs a social media company from her home.

Marketing Idea #127: Silent Auctions

silent auction

Not only do silent auctions bring in money for your cause, they can also be a great marketing idea for nonprofits seeking new donors. Because you’ll need to do a little pavement-pounding to collect the items up for bid, you’ll have the opportunity to forge new relationships within the local retail community, leading to future revenue.

Get Organized

Putting together a silent auction is a lot of work, but it isn’t as hard as you may think. The first steps are to organize your mission statement, write a letter to potential donors, and create a form through which they can submit donations of merchandise or gift certificates. Set up deadlines on when the items need to be collected and when the auction will begin and end. All this information should be in the cover letter handed out to local business owners and managers.

Recruit Sponsors

Next, you’ll need to take a walk. Have two or three of your employees canvas several retail strips within your community. Make sure they can speak intelligently and passionately about your cause. Widen your search for items by advertising the auction on social media and Craig’s List. In your online advertisement, you’ll have the opportunity to reach out to potential bidders, too. As donations roll in, take a photo of each and share them on Facebook, Twitter, or your nonprofit’s website to further entice the bargain-hunters and philanthropists you aim to reach.

Select the Venue

An essential part of a successful silent auction is finding one high-traffic venue willing to host a board of items for a few days to a couple weeks. Small, locally-owned coffee shops and organic grocery stores are both excellent options. Typically charitable, they’ll also be hungrier for cross-promotion.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Once you have a bevy of items, a venue, and a schedule, continue to promote via print and social media. Customers can register online, receiving a bidding identification number in the process. Set up your auction board with attached photographs and space for bidders to write their I.D. number and bid amount. Don’t forget to supply pencils.

Let Them Know Who Won

Once the auction has ended, collect the bids, and notify all winners by the contact information required for registration. Appoint a time and place to pick up and pay–perhaps your non-profit headquarters over the course of a week. After that week, if a winner has not collected his item, default to the next highest bidder. This part of the process usually takes a while, with winners floating in and out over the course of several days.

Now Go Launch Your Silent Auction

A successful silent auction can bring in hundreds, even thousands of dollars depending on what type of items you receive and how many you collect. While a fair amount of hard work, it’s an excellent way to spread awareness of your cause and pull in revenue at the same time.

Contact us for more advice on how to make your small business or nonprofit a success.

Big Data and the Future of Digital Marketing

marketing big data

It’s no secret that the world of marketing has become increasingly sophisticated in the ever-evolving world of digital media. This new complexity is derived from marketing data becoming exponentially more massive and fueled by today’s discerning, fluctuating consumer base. Big data is here, and it’s changing everything.

What is Big Data?

We produce and consume roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, and 90 percent of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years alone, according to IBM. Whether we like it or not, all of the data we’re dealing with and managing in the web marketing space is big data. In a nutshell, big data is information that is gathered from social media, GPS, photo sites and general Internet browsing — pretty much anywhere that thousands of users congregate to post and download information produces massive data sets referred to as big data.

Big Data: The Future of Marketing

Five years ago, the idea of web marketers leveraging big data to deepen their understanding of potential customers was laughable. The cost alone of backing up terabytes upon terabytes of marketing data on a daily basis was almost overwhelming. But now with the advances of storage, managing big data in the marketing environment is easier than ever. Many companies are taking advantage of online backup comparison sites that help ensure realistic and affordable prices for online data storage.

Beyond the lowered cost of managing big data, big data-centric social businesses have received a lot of interest from investors over the past few years. Many of these social businesses — Facebook, LinkedIn, Vitrue, Buddy Media, etc — are all resources that marketers use on a daily basis. This is all outstanding news for the marketing community. Never before in advertising and marketing have millions upon millions of users all congregated in the same place. But the big problem with this social business trend, according to Business Insider, is a lack of effective measurement.

This is where big data analytics come into play. It allows marketers to gain sophisticated data on millions of users and social impressions in a single, unified big data analytics dashboard.

Big Data in Healthcare

One of the major industries benefiting from big data technology is healthcare. Big data technologies are making it easier for healthcare professionals to manage data that both helps increase the efficiency of mission-critical healthcare processes and makes it easier to help patients of all kinds. With the right systems in place, healthcare facilities can easily understand and deliver data to patients and other professionals throughout the facility. Big data streamlines these healthcare processes through a combination of virtual administrative assistants (not unlike Apple’s Siri), data mining and analysis, data collection and market analysis, as TechTarget notes.

Big Data in the Entertainment Industry

Big data is even reaching its way into the marketing sector of the entertainment industry. Take the film industry for instance. The film industry needs to embrace this new era of big data to keep up with the growing demands of tomorrow’s moviegoers, opines Steve Canepa on Business Insider. This idea of big data and entertainment industry marketing even trickles down to the video game industry. As more games become social and rely on sophisticated user data, the only way to keep up is through the use of big data technologies.

big data

Guest post by Sarah Phelan, everyone’s favorite IT gal. She does tech reviews on the latest in virus protection software and web hosting.

11 Ways to Market Your Fundraiser Offline

ways to market your fundraiser

If you are intending to raise funds through a charity event, there are marketing techniques that can help greatly both online and offline. Depending on your desire and budget, you can try a number of promotional activities for your charity event. If you have taken care of online marketing and are now looking for offline marketing ideas, then read ahead for tips to keep your momentum building. There are many offline ways to market your fundraiser effectively and without spending much money. The best advice is to be creative, enthusiastic and passionate towards your goal of raising funds for your charity. However, if you are still stuck on how to market your fundraiser through offline techniques, then you can include any or all below given offline marketing ideas to promote your fundraiser in the most effective way.

  1. Build a team: A team — i.e. your battery of friends, some volunteers from your fundraising campaign and family members — can contribute towards promoting your fundraiser. A big team like this can create a good buzz about your charity event. Marketing of your fundraising event can be done by knocking door-to-door and telling them about your cause and campaign as well as by word of mouth publicity. The more number of people know about your charity event, the higher are the chances of increasing funds for the cause.
  2. Posters: Posters have always been a very effective offline marketing idea. Get your poster done from a person who will charge you nominal or do it for free. Keep the posters attractive with the message written in bold. People looking at the poster will get the message clearly and instantly. Also try and stick your posters at strategic locations, i.e. where people are more likely to see. Posters can be stuck near schools and churches. You can also ask your local shopkeepers and medical stores to stick it in their premises. People coming to buy groceries and medicines can definitely have a look.
  3. Flyers: Just like posters, leaflets or flyers can also help a great deal. You can either give flyers door-to-door (which requires efforts and time from you and your team), or ask your local newspaper vendor to include your leaflet with every newspaper they drop. This can help promote your fundraiser quickly and to a lot of people at once.
  4. Announcements at other events: Official and unofficial functions and events keep happening every now and then. You can take advantage of such events to promote about your fundraising event. School sports days and annual day function, church meetings or congregation, an event organized at your local club, etc. can all serve this purpose. You can talk about your fundraising campaign to event organizers and include a short announcement about your charity event and your intention to raise funds to a large group of people present there, at the end of the event. This way you have a great chance of marketing your fundraiser to a group of distinct people in a straightforward and easy manner.
  5. Phone calls and direct speaking: If you feel that your offline marketing efforts like distributing flyers and sticking posters are not being seen by people, then you can make a direct call. Get a list of all previous donors and make them a phone call. You can also stand in front of a school or church and tell passersby about your intentions to raise fund for a noble cause. This is a direct way of spreading message about your fundraising event. While speaking to people, use emotional, strong and persuasive words. It works best.
  6. Public Service Announcements (PSAs): PSAs are a good way to market your fundraising event. Radios, magazines and even newspapers are effective in putting your message across to a large section of people. You can speak to local radios and get yourself included as a guest. You can discuss about your intentions and persuade listeners to donate generously. Similarly you can have a small section in a magazine or newspaper where you can advertise about your charity event.
  7. Hold contests: A wonderful way of marketing your event and get people interested is by holding contests. You can hold quiz contests, kite -flying contest or any other contest that involves minimal spending on your part. You can keep a sponsored prize for the winner to make the contest more engaging and competitive. This is also another good way of promoting your fundraising event.
  8. Get in touch with associate groups and clubs: As an independent volunteer and as a frequent fundraiser, you can get in touch with other affiliate clubs and groups that are known to make generous contributions or considerably help fundraisers through their unique ways of promotion. Find out about them and get in touch.
  9. T-shirt fundraisers: This is another very popular charity event marketing technique. If you have a social cause and want to seek funds then you can first get your and some of your friends t-shirts printed with the cause of your charity. Leave an e-mail ID beneath. T-shirt fundraisers are not only a popular idea, but also help you communicate your thoughts to a number of people, without actually conversing with them.
  10. Contact local businesses: There are many local businesses who would love to contribute to a charity. If they donate funds, then it would not only help them save money in tax but also showcase their responsibility towards the community. You can first try contacting established businesses, as they have a wider reach and can promote your cause effectively. If the business is very keen on helping, without donating funds, then you can move a step higher in promotion by including your message in their product. You can then try contacting lesser-known local businesses. Tell them it is not necessary that they donate funds, but they can be of great help if they promote the fundraising event through any ideas that are feasible for them.
  11. Try to convey your message through public speakers: There are many orators who know how to weave magic through words. If you feel that your persuasion powers are not that effective, then you can definitely seek help from a public speaker. Get in touch with someone who often visits schools, clubs and other events to speak on a given topic. Talk to them and ask them to make a message supporting your charitable cause and the need to collect funds to sustain good work in the community. This will help immensely.

These are just 11 offline marketing ideas to promote about your fundraising event. Now you know ‘how to market your fundraiser’ through offline techniques. With creativity and a bit of elbow-grease, you can certainly come up with more unique marketing ideas to promote your charity event and make it a success.

The One Program Your Nonprofit Needs (and Probably Doesn’t Have)

nonprofit affiliate networks

Are you involved with a nonprofit organization (NPO)? Is your organization looking for a cost-effective way to increase donations, further the cause and grow your management or volunteer base? If you answered yes to these questions, starting your own nonprofit affiliate network may be the right solution for you.

For most nonprofit organizations these are very challenging times. The global economy is worse than it has ever been in our lifetime. While the need for services and support from nonprofits continues to grow, a global economic slump means both sponsor contributions and supporter donations may also be at an all time low.

Now, the good news. As a nonprofit, you have considerable options at your disposal for increasing your outreach and fundraising. One of those options is to start your own nonprofit affiliate network. A thriving nonprofit affiliate network can be leveraged to help sustain your organization’s cause, mission, fundraising and overall growth.

nonprofit affiliate network

4 Great Reasons to Launch a Nonprofit Affiliate Network

While there are many different reasons to launch your own nonprofit affiliate network, here are four of the most common:

Low-Cost Marketing

Online or off, affiliate marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing currently being used today. For our purposes, we’ll focus online, but affiliate marketing can be translated to the ‘real world’ (think referral fees, commissions and the like.) The way an affiliate network works is simple:

  1. First, a would-be affiliate marketer signs up to promote your cause.
  2. As the marketer directs qualified donor traffic to your site, a tracking code ensures they get credit for any donations their referral generated,
  3. Through that donation, the affiliate marketer is compensated by receiving a small portion (called a commission) from the amount received.

So you see, creating an affiliate network can provide you with a very quick, easy and cost-effective way of increasing your future donations.

Increased Outreach

Much of the marketing cost involved with driving potential donors to you is shouldered by the affiliate marketers who sign up to help promote your cause. Often, these affiliate marketers already have well-established traffic generation methods. They may be savvy about using search engine optimization (SEO), AdWords (Google’s pay-per-click advertising engine), social media, email marketing and other techniques. This means a well-established affiliate marketer will be able to promote your cause, organization or message, extending your reach into a larger audience than what you would have achieved on your own.

What’s possible with this? At its best, we’re talking global outreach to millions of potential donors sympathetic to your cause. The global nature of the Internet enables you shed local boundaries or territories. This will be especially poignant for you if your nonprofit operates internationally. If you’re more locally-focused, you may want your ‘global reach’ to only extend to your city borders. If that’s the case, no worries. An affiliate program for your non-for-profit may still fit. Your goal is to have your cause promoted to those who are looking for you, whether they live in your town or on the other side of the planet.

Expand Your Volunteer Base

Having your own nonprofit affiliate network will also make it easier for you to find and recruit potential board members and volunteers. You should be communicating to your affiliate marketers regularly. Part of that marketing communication will be in the form of messages for your affiliate network to send to their own audiences. This helps them bring value to their audiences and of course, it gets your word out. In this case, however, it’s not a “buy our stuff” or “donate to our cause” message, but more of a “we need your helping hands” message.

Save Some Dough

By starting your own nonprofit affiliate network, you will be saving on the service and administration fees paid when you join existing affiliate networks. For example, joining an existing affiliate network system could cost you anywhere from $200 to $800 or more per month. This monthly service fee can seem like a small amount initially. Over time, however, those fees may amount to hundreds and even thousands of dollars per year in expense—simply because you joined a pre-existing network.

nonprofit affiliate network

Now let’s take a quick look at the role of the affiliate marketer and the part they play in helping you reach your organizational goals.

Who Will Be Your Affiliate Marketers?

Through your nonprofit affiliate marketing program, you will be able to enlist the marketing genius of website and blog owners all over the world. As you push forward, however, you will want to establish basic guidelines for your affiliate marketing program. This will be established in your initial affiliate agreement.

Typically, your affiliate marketers will be content creators who own and manage websites that publish content related to your charities, organization or cause. In most cases, they have either built up a large online following through regular traffic to their website or they have a large mailing list of engaged subscribers who may be sympathetic or interested in supporting your cause.

How Much To Pay Your NPO Affiliates?

Your payment model should be a performance-based commission founded on a percentage of the marketer’s referred revenues. All other elements being equal, the higher the commission you offer, the greater the interest in your affiliate program. On the other hand, the higher your commission payout, the less you will be able to invest in other necessary activities. Since you’re just getting started, you may want to enter the affiliate marketing foray with the industry standard of 20-30% and adjust as needed. Compare your commissions to what you would have paid in a more traditional advertising model. If you receive a $100 donation and it cost you $20 or $30 to get it, can you live with that?

How Are Affiliate Payments Handled?

Payments to your nonprofit affiliates can be set up to be automatically sent on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis and using a variety of different payment options such as PayPal, ACH or direct deposit. Try to keep this part of the process smooth, automated and easy to understand.

Your Nonprofit Affiliate Network is Launched! Now What?

Once you have your own nonprofit affiliate network established, you can start contacting high-ranking blog owners to let them know about your new opportunity.

(Tip: Make sure your affiliate program compliments their offerings. Otherwise, you’re wasting their time, and yours.)

One of the best ways to find high-level affiliates is to turn to the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) Enter a search phrase related to your type of charity. Scan the top 10 to 50 blog sites listed. Will your nonprofit affiliate program bring value to their efforts? If you think so, simply ask them if they’re interested. Many may say no. There is no need to convince them. Thank them for their time and move on to the folks who want to say yes.

Afterglow

Launching your own nonprofit affiliate network can be a very strategic way to implement an online marketing system. Leveraged properly, an affiliate network has the potential to help your organization reduce marketing costs while growing your revenues, members and outreach. This creates a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.

Marketing Idea #25: Always Carry Business Cards

marketing ideas business cards

Always have enough business cards with you. While this seems like it should be obvious, people are still caught off-guard without their business cards. You’ll never know when or where opportunities will arise. Also, whenever you know you’re on your way to a trade show, mixer, or other networking event, make sure you take a lot of business cards. It’s better to have too many than not enough!

Tip: Keep a number of “card caches” around you at all times. Keeping business cards in your car, at your desk, at your home office, and in your briefcase or purse can keep you from looking ill-prepared if you forget to replenish the cards in your wallet.

What NOT to do: I’ve seen people leave their business cards randomly at restaurants, in rest rooms, and on bar counters by registers. Maybe this works, but I’m doubtful. In my mind, this would be even less effective than placing your business card on a bulletin board! Do you really think the wait staff are going to keep you business cards after you leave? Nah. I think they’re going to clean the table and those expensive die-cut, embossed business cards you had to have are going to end up wearing your table scraps in the trash.

Hint: Save your cards for the people who care.

Marketing Idea #83: Tradeshow Giveaways

Marketing Ideas Tradeshow Giveaways

The best and most obvious reason for visiting some tables at trade shows is for the free giveaways. You will find that many people will make the rounds to collect the free stuff. In some cases, the booths without free giveaways may experience lower traffic as a result. It’s a cheap ploy, but the right giveaway can gain you exposure you wouldn’t have had without it. Of course, you have to question the quality of your traffic if it’s only coming over to steal another one of those great metal pens…

Tip: Have fun with your giveaways! After all, if it’s really good, it will likely end up in the hands of their kids.


 

10 ways to master the tradeshow giveaway game

by Susan Friedmann

Walk around any trade show and you will be able to collect a bag full of trade show giveaway items all designed to promote business. Everyone enjoys receiving a gift. Gift giving creates a favorable impression. It can build goodwill, be an incentive, communicate a message, and create awareness. However, how many promotional giveaways do an effective job?

Before jumping into the trade show giveaway game consider the following 10 ways to master the tradeshow giveaway game:

Define Your Audience: Having a focused objective for your trade show giveaway will also help you decide who should receive it. Consider having different gifts for various visitors. You might have different quality gifts for your key customers, prospects, and general passers by.

Set Your Goal: What do you want to achieve by giving away a premium item? Trade show giveaway items should be designed to increase your recognition, communicate a message, motivate an action, or promote your small business. It’s important not only that the message have an impact, but also the premium itself.

Find the Right Item: There is a multitude of different items you could consider as a premium giveaway. However, which one will best suit your purpose? To select the right item, decide on your objective. Do you want it to enhance a theme, convey a specific message, or educate your target audience? Set a purpose to make your selection process easier. A promotional specialist can also help you make an effective selection. Remember your company image is reflected in whatever you choose to give away.

Add Your Message: Is there an item that naturally complements your marketing message? Have the message imprinted on the item with your company name, logo, and phone number. An important aspect of any gift is to remember who it was from long after the fact.

Set a Price: The price range for trade show giveaway items is enormous. Quality, quantity, and special orders all impact the price. Establish a budget as part of your exhibit marketing plan. Consider ordering the same item for several different shows. The greater the quantity of your order, the lower the individual unit price.

Establish Qualifiers: What must visitors do to qualify for a giveaway item? There are several ways to use your trade show giveaway effectively:

  • as a reward for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation, or contest
  • as a token of your appreciation when visitors have given you qualifying information about their specific needs
  • as a thank you for stopping at the booth

Use the Pre-qualifying Secret: Trade show giveaways can be used to pre-qualify your prospects. One company uses playing cards. Prior to the show, they send “kings” to their key customers, “queens” to suppliers, and “jacks” to new or hot prospects. They request that the cards are brought to the booth in exchange for a special gift. When the cards are presented, the booth staff already knows certain information about the visitor. They can then act on their previous knowledge and use time with the visitor more productively.

Have a Sales Incentive: Will your trade show giveaway directly help future sales? Hand out a discount coupon or a gift certificate requiring future contact with your company for redemption. Consider premiums that will help generate frequent visits to customers and prospects, such as calling you for free refills.

Inform Your Target Audience: Novel trade show giveaways can actively help to draw prospects to your booth. Make sure your prospects know about it. Send a tickler invitation with details of the giveaway, or create a two-piece premium, sending one part out to key prospects prior to the show and telling them to collect the other half at your booth.

Have a Tracking Mechanism: Establish a tracking mechanism to measure the success of your trade show giveaways.

If it is a redemption item, code it so that you know it resulted from the show. Post-show follow-up could include a question about the premium: Did visitors remember receiving it, and how useful was the item? After the trade show, critique your giveaways with your exhibit team:

  • Did it draw specific prospects to the booth?
  • Was it eye-catching enough to persuade passers by to stop?
  • Did your customers find it useful?
  • Did it project the right corporate image?

There are plenty of exciting trade show giveaways for you to choose from to avoid the usual pens, pencils, and key chains. Make your premium work for you by applying the 10 ways to master your trade show giveaways and experience show success…it will be money well invested.


Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, is The Tradeshow Coach, and author of “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies,” working with companies to improve their meeting and event success through coaching, consulting and training. For a free copy of “10 Common Mistakes Exhibitors Make”, e-mail article4 (at) thetradeshowcoach.com, or visit her website www.thetradeshowcoach.com.

Marketing Idea #2: What is Your Marketing Budget?

Marketing Ideas Marketing Budget

Set aside money for marketing efforts each year. Don’t use it for anything else. Often, we have a tendency to pull our marketing funds from the same pool of money as our operating funds. This habit can reduce an organization’s ability to market itself when the time is right. Be especially protective of your marketing budget; this is the investment that pays the bills.

Below, I’ve reposted a brief article by the Wall Street Journal which discusses the success of companies who remain steady in their marketing efforts, even in the face of a recession. Folks, if this can’t convince you to invest in your own marketing efforts, I don’t know what will.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

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The Basic Argument for Advertising in a Recession

from The Wall Street Journal (publication information unknown)
View the original article

When times turn bad, they’re made worse by hesitation, halfway measures, and panicky decisions. Such as the decision to reduce or eliminate advertising. The fact is, companies that maintain or increase their advertising spending during recessions get ahead. A less crowded field allows messages to be seen more clearly, and that increased visibility results in higher sales both during and after a recession.

Recessionary Advertising Works

Studies by the American Business Press examined the relationship between advertising and sales in 143 companies during the severe 1974/75 downturn. They found that companies that did not cut advertising either year had the highest growth in sales and the net income during the two study years and the following two years. The studies also proved that companies that cut advertising during both years had the lowest sales and net-income increases during the two study years and the following two years.

And not surprisingly, companies that cut advertising during only one of the recession years had sales and net-income increases that fell in between.

Long-Term Benefits

A study by McGraw-Hill of both the 1974/75 and 1981/82 recessions confirmed the long-range advantage of keeping a strong advertising presence. It found that companies that cut advertising in 1981/82 increased sales by only 19% between 1980 and 1985, while companies that continued to advertise in 1981/82 enjoyed a 275% sales increase.

An industry-specific study published by the Harvard Business Review found that airlines that increased their advertising expenditure during 1974/75 increased sales and market share in both years, while airlines that cut advertising in both years lost sales and share both years.

The results of all three studies are consistent, clear and unequivocal: Those companies that advertise during a recession have better sales than those companies that don’t.

The way to minimize a downturn and take maximum advantage of the upturn is to maintain a strong communications link with your buying public.

Marketing Idea #4: Note Those Hot Ideas

Marketing Ideas Hot Ideas

You probably already have ideas and future plans for your company in your head. Put these ideas down in print somewhere. Include a section for collecting marketing ideas and opportunity information. You’ll be amazed at the great ideas you lose track of as you get caught up in your day-to-day efforts. Make it a point to review this file quarterly and delegate the best ideas if you can’t tackle them yourself.

Great Marketing Ideas: Be a Mom for a Moment

Marketing Example Unicef Mom

Unicef Finland wanted to raise awareness for children’s rights and raise funds with a minimum cost. They also wanted to reinforce their position as an organization dedicated specifically to children’s welfare. There are over 145 million orphaned or abandoned children all around the world.

“By supporting Unicef anyone can be a mother to them, just for a moment.”

To provoke and create discussion they started by abandoning sound-equipped (crying) baby strollers in 14 cities. Inside the stroller was a note with the message:

Thank you for caring, we hope there is more people like you.
Be a mom for a moment.
Unicef

Media and public reaction was overwhelming. They flooded all the major TV, radio and web news. Estimated media reach was over 80% of Finnish population after just two days.

Advertising Agency: Taivas, Helsinki, Finland
Art Directors: Jyri Niemi, Anna-Mia Alanko
Copywriter: Adele Enersen
Account Supervisors: Heini Häyrinen, Joanna Kokonmäki
Production company: ADDlife Finland

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References

I Believe in Advertising. Unicef Finland: Mom. March 31, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.ibelieveinadv.com/2009/03/unicef-finland-mom/.

Marketing Idea #44: Showcase Local Artists

Marketing Ideas Local Artists

Display artwork for sale from local artists. In doing so, you support the local artist community, gain word-of-mouth through the artists, and bring more interest to your walls. This can be done by writing up an offer and presenting it to a local art gallery. You may want to bring focus to the display either by centering on a specific artist or by having the showing coincide with a particular (and appropriate) event.

Marketing Idea #79: Can’t You Read The Sign?

Marketing Ideas Signage

Consider the signage at your office or facility. Can a visitor find you easily? Can he find his way around your facility easily? Large buildings such as hospitals, office buildings, and malls often suffer from poor signage, creating a sense of unease and annoyance in their patrons. You know that even grocery stores can benefit from clear signage if you’ve ever had the misfortune of searching for way too long to locate a certain item on your grocery list.

Marketing Ideas Signs

Marketing Idea #95: Signs, Signs, Everywhere There’s Signs

Marketing Ideas Retail Sign Road Sign

When your business is the first one that comes to mind as a place to find a product or service, you have achieved what is called top-of-mind awareness. Top-of-mind awareness is built and reinforced through repetition.

If you hold a retail store, 85 percent of your customers live or work within a five-mile radius of your business. When driving to and from work, school, and shopping, they pass your location some fifty to sixty times a month. Your sign should be designed so that it commands their attention every time they pass.

That’s how signs help build top-of-mind awareness and brand your business. To further this effort, make sure your sign is included as part of your overall marketing strategy.

Marketing Idea #82: Business Card Brochures

Marketing Ideas Business Card Brochures

A great rule for a brochure is, “If you can’t say it all on a business card, you shouldn’t say it at all.”

(Okay, so it’s not really a rule, but it should be.)

Distill what you want to say about your product or service and fit it on a business card.  Instead only offering your contact information, place a few bullet points and add some nice, simple graphics to the back of the card. By doing this, you are able to leave those you meet with a message that they can carry with them or organize into their Rolodex. (This presumes you made a great enough impact to compel them to keep your card.)

Example: Feeling clever? Leave off your contact information to complete the “brochure card” effect. Place the logo and tagline on the front of the card, and the content on the back, for a playing card–type feel. Also, by utilizing both front and back in your design, you can leave two cards on a bulletin board or elsewhere, flipping one over to create a small, two-piece brochure/billboard effect.

Marketing Ideas Business Card Brochure

Marketing Idea #84: Using Billboards as Brochures

Marketing Ideas Billboards as Brochures

Why is it you occasionally see billboards that attempt to be brochures? Is their message so important that it couldn’t possibly be distilled down into a couple brief phrases? Is their key message so complex? When you get ready to make your billboard investment, don’t insist your billboard become more than a billboard. A message received from a billboard is geared toward the audience on the go—and they’re usually going over 70 miles per hour. Keep it eye-catching, short, and simple for greatest impact.

Marketing Idea #20: Donate to Charity

Marketing Ideas Donate to Charity

Donate your products or services to a charity auction. In doing so, you add value to the fundraiser while promoting yourself. Furthermore, the fact you’re willing to offer your time for a good cause can only help your own cause, and you just might be helping someone who wouldn’t have been able to afford your services otherwise.

Tip: Get started by contacting your local radio stations, libraries, or newspapers. You might also do a search online for charity auctions in your area.

Marketing Idea #19: Perfect Your Powers of Persuasion

Marketing Ideas Public Speaking

Hone your public-speaking skills. Join Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org). As you move onward and upward into the business community, you will be called upon to give presentations before groups (one of the best ways to be perceived as an authority on your topic). Being proficient and persuasive in communicating ideas and stories before an audience is a huge asset. If you’re petrified by the thought of public-speaking, take solace: The point isn’t to get rid of the butterflies, it’s to get them flying in formation.

Marketing Ideas #59-66: Event-Goers Love Attention to Detail

Marketing Ideas Event Attention to Detail

Don’t skimp on the small stuff when you’re producing an event. People will always expect certain things, and if they’ve paid to be there, they have a right to expect those things.

#59: If you have an event or seminar, provide beverages, a coat rack or coat check, and snacks.

#60: Validate parking if free parking isn’t available. If you can’t validate parking, work out an arrangement with your venue to include parking in the price of admission.

#61: If parking is still an issue, offer a shuttle service to and from the event.

#62: Make it easy for people to register; offer online registration from your website. This method should collect their contact information, accept and process credit cards, and send attendees their confirmation automatically. (There are services available for accomplishing this if you’re not sure how to do it yourself.)

#63: Make sure the bathrooms are clean and tended to regularly.

#64: Ensure there are enough trash receptacles and that they are emptied periodically (before they’re overflowing).

#65: Work with your local chamber of commerce, business associations, and networking organizations to promote your event to their members.

#66: Offer meals during an all-day event. This serves two purposes. First, you’ll have less stragglers wandering back in from lunch after the event has picked back up. Second, by giving attendees a reason to sit at their table, they network with each other over lunch, bonding with each other (and your brand) in the process.

Marketing Idea #46: Throw a Party

Marketing Ideas Throw a Party

Whether a holiday or a “client appreciation” party, getting your clients together in the same room and collectively thanking them for their loyal patronage can help you make clients (and friends) for life. Depending on the nature of the organization you operate, you may also have key staff members available to assist with mingling and mixing.

Variation: If you have a large organization, you may separate the employee party from the client party, but certainly both are worth having. Employee parties offer the opportunity for internal marketing; client parties, external.

Marketing Idea #67: Sponsor Local Programming

Marketing Ideas Sponsor Local Programming

A great way to get your organization’s name into the local community is to sponsor or underwrite a local news program, whether television or radio. Make sure the media station (and format) you select is appropriate for your target market. For instance, if you’re looking to reach an older crowd, maybe you want to advertise on an “oldies” radio station, which plays songs that were hits in the past. If you want to reach the younger generation, you might look at a Top 40 or hip-hop radio station. If you’re looking for a sports-oriented crowd, you’ll want to place your ad in front of the folks sitting at home, watching the sports channels.

Tip: An ideal place to advertise is with talk-radio programs. National Public Radio (NPR) and similar “talk-based” formats offer an audience that is already tuned into the discussion, rather than an audience that will be annoyed by another ad that separates them from their music. Underwriting these programs on a local level will also provide you with the opportunity to support a wonderful service in your own community.

Marketing Idea #71: Offer Editorial Comment

Marketing Ideas Offer Editorial Comment

Often, radio stations will set aside time in their news schedules for taking public comment on important issues. Begin by calling the news directors of your local radio stations and asking for the chance to offer your editorial comment. (Make sure you have a good sense as to whether they cater to the audience you want to reach.) Focus on local concerns related to your work.

Marketing Idea #43: Tips to Make Your Grand Opening Successful

Marketing Ideas Grand Opening

To make your grand opening successful:

  • schedule it during high-traffic times (if your location allows for it),
  • throw a big grand opening sale,
  • offer food (make this appropriate to the clientele you are seeking),
  • provide a tent for seating outside,
  • send a direct or email mailing the local market,
  • offer demonstrations of products or services, and
  • invite all local business owners, press, and the local chamber of commerce for the ribbon-cutting.

Variation: Already been in business a while? Find anything to celebrate! Maybe you throw a party over being in business so many years. Or maybe you had a recent birth in the family. Or maybe you want to celebrate a key vendor or client. There are plenty of reasons to celebrate. Pick one and show people a great time.

Marketing Idea #88: Power in Print

Marketing Ideas Power in Print

How often are you bringing value to your clients? Offer a regular newsletter, article, or column. Ensure that whatever you put out maintains a consistent look and feel with the rest of your image; this assists you in furthering the development of your brand.

Better: You should be collecting the e-mail addresses of everyone who comes to you. Reduce your printing costs, save trees, and extend your reach by offering your network an e-newsletter.

Marketing Idea #104: Host a Field Trip

Marketing Ideas Field Trip

A great way to gain exposure and provide entertainment is to provide public tours of your facility. This is especially powerful for agriculture, arts and history, manufacturing; essentially, any place where something is grown, created or built. Try not to schedule such an event around any deadlines or busy periods you might have. Take your time with the tour to ensure your captive audience remains engaged and make sure to tailor your presentation to your audience. A class of first-graders may be more interested in learning how apple cider is made than watching giant steel presses shape red-hot bars into orthopedic implements.

Or, then again, maybe not..

Marketing Idea #8: Selling Online (Do It)

Marketing Ideas Order Online

Make sure your customers can order from you online. If they can’t order from you online, make sure they can order by phone or by fax. You’re in the business of making it easier for your customers to do business with you! Your challenge is to analyze how easy it is for customers to get what they want from you. Have you ever tried to buy something from yourself? Go through the process. Have your staff go through the process. Survey your customers; how did they feel about their first experience with you? Compile your notes and discuss your findings. Then, fix what’s broken.

Marketing Idea #54: How to be Arrested for Fundraising

Marketing Ideas Arrested for Fundraising

A number of good causes offer a “lockup” program to enlist members of the community in raising funds. The idea is to publicize a mock arrest and jailing (though you may really be handcuffed and driven to the local jail in a police car) in exchange for “bail” (contributions to the cause). The arrested then contacts the members of his own network to solicit for a set amount of funds in return for his freedom. Once bail has been made, you’re set free. If you can’t be away from your job, there’s often a “house arrest” option. Sign yourself up, and publicize it as widely as you can. You’re gaining a life experience, a wonderful story, and good karma.

Marketing Idea #87: Demonstrations Work

Marketing Ideas Demonstrations Work

Many a cheap diaper has been bought because of commercials showing it can hold the contents of an entire water balloon. Whether at trade shows or in your TV ads or videos, demonstrations prove your products work. This is why those late-night infomercials are so successful. Even brochures can illustrate a step-by-step series of images that prove success.

What can you do to illustrate your product in action?