Before diving in, you should create a digital marketing plan for your nonprofit organization, just like any other business or for-profit company would. It’s an important part of a business plan that helps you use all of your resources—including your time, energy, staff, and budget—appropriately. First, it’s important to know how digital marketing works as a process. At its simplest, digital marketing involves 5 key steps, each of which should be covered in your plan.
1. Define your digital marketing goals
The first step of any marketing plan is to define your goals. What do you specifically hope to accomplish with your digital marketing efforts? Set your goals carefully—they should be SMART goals, which means specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely, rather than abstract or unreasonable.
Continually measuring your results against your goals will help provide consistency and direction for your efforts. As needed, you can adjust your goals to more realistically reflect what can be done and what methods work best for your organization. Although it’s important to have upfront goals, it’s difficult to know for sure what strategies and expectations will be most effective until you have begun actively employing them.
2. Understand your audience
The purpose of marketing is to connect with and engage your target audience. The best way to do that is to know who your audience is and understand important things about them, like their concerns, desires, and pain points. It’s crucial to research your audience and learn as much about them as possible. Use that information to determine the best way to reach them. There are several tactics you can use to find your target audience, such as:
- Review what you know about your existing audience.
- Do a survey or ask them for feedback.
- Research the audience of similar organizations.
- Identify demographic information.
- Consider who stands to benefit from your efforts.
3. Refine your message
With your goals and audience in mind, you can then start to craft the message you want to send through your marketing materials. Take the time to refine that message so it’s just right for your audience but still supports your goals. Whatever your message is, it should be clear, engaging, and memorable for your audience.
Like your goals, your message should be open for revision, in order to stay relevant to your efforts as they evolve. It’s vital that the messaging of your organization matches its actions, and that it’s consistently promoted throughout every level of the organization.
You may have 1 message or multiple messages, depending on your goals and the scope of your projects. It can be helpful to keep your initial messaging simple. This will give both your organization and your audience a clear idea of what you’re about and where you want to go. You can always broaden your message as your organization gains more experience and develops its identity.
4. Create and distribute your content
Next, it’s time to create content centered around your message and share it with your audience.
In some cases, this may be relatively simple. You might craft a marketing email or a new series of blog posts. In other cases, creating your content can be far more involved, like if you’re creating a podcast or promotional video.
Once you know what content you plan to create, you can think about the best ways to share it. Tools like a content studio may be helpful to keep your branding streamlined. Based on what you know about your audience, consider what you will distribute through which channels. And by using an all-in-one Marketing Platform, you can do much of this work from a single place.
Again, it’s best to start simple. You’ll learn from each channel and campaign what works best, so that you can change as you grow. Be realistic about how much bandwidth you have to craft and share content, and focus on what works.
5. Track, measure, and refine your efforts
Finally, make a plan to track everything you do and measure the results against your goals and budget. You will need a clear idea of how your efforts perform to know whether your strategy is working or not. If your results don’t match your goal, you may need to adjust your strategy.
Whether you’re dealing with a signup form, marketing emails, or social media content, there are several analytics tools that can help you collect data to measure performance.
Measuring results is a vital part of the process that helps you ensure that your goals are achievable and your strategies are consistent with your core objectives. Both qualitative and quantitative data are extremely valuable in terms of building the best marketing strategy possible. Take a close look at your data, but also be sure to track the feedback you receive from your audience in their responses to emails, social posts, and surveys.