Let’s Talk Marketing Strategy

You’re a new non-profit and wondering how you’ll come up with money to support your cause, right? You’ve heard the hype about grants and loads of free federal money that are available to anyone willing to lend a helping hand in society, but have you done any serious investigation into the processes that sustain a non-profit in the long haul?

Let’s start with a few pieces of common misinformation:

Grants are sustainable.

This is far from the truth. Grant funding is like a crutch. The whole idea behind setting aside a chunk of money is to help an organization establish a project or keep an impactful project in place when times are tough. Grant money isn’t intended to sustain an organization fully.

Grants are available for everyone.

Most grant money is available to government entities and non-profit organizations. If an individual or for-profit business, chances are your grant search is going to be grueling. Not to mention, probably spend more resource applying for the money than receive IF you get funded. Therefore, seeking grant money is a largely ineffective marketing approach for almost every non-profit organization.

Grants are available for everything.

Grant money for specific causes that advance a social mission. Federal money for very specific and foundation money is set aside to advance a specific purpose set forth by that foundation. Although true that a foundation may support minority-owned businesses, the competition is fierce. There are thousands of people just like yourself searching for that same money.

So, does that mean you should give up? Absolutely Not.

But, you should devise a strategic plan based on this information. Using a transaction cost analysis (TCA) framework, let’s look at some of the most cost-effective forms of marketing for ANY non-profit organization and then we’ll discuss how this all relates to your overall funding search. There are 6 major types of marketing for organizations with social missions:

Direct mail

Most of us associate direct mail with those little flyers we get stuffed between the newspapers or postcards offering 50% at the next department store sale. direct mail has proved to be valuable in capturing the attention of prospective donors and in following up with people who have previously donated money to a cause. Direct mail is relatively inexpensive but does not yield a huge response.

Direct Response Marketing

Direct response marketing constitutes a variety of techniques but is commonly associated with practices such as television, magazine, and radio advertisements where consumers are encouraged to take part in a direct call to action. Direct response marketing is expensive and relatively ineffective in reaching targeted audiences.

Catalogue Marketing

Catalogue marketing is generally an approach used by businesses that sell products or packed services but can be used by non-profit organizations that sell cause-related apparel. Although catalogue marketing has a low return rate, it has been found to increase among use of other marketing techniques.

Telephone Marketing

We’re all familiar with telemarketers-primarily the reason telephone marketing gets a bad rep but if can be a very productive means of personal selling if done properly and legally. One of the main problems with telephone marketing is the training required to ensure that all phone calls meet regulatory requirements and that the sales people themselves do a good job at representing your organization.

Personal Selling

Exactly how it sounds, personal selling is any face-to-face encounter that has the potential to turn into an investment in your cause. Face-to-face selling has a high rate of return however it requires the most resources of any marketing tactic because it requires research, scheduling, coordination, and often multiple meetings between executives.

Online Marketing

There is no doubt that the internet has changed the marketplace and it is also one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing. The problem is have historically fallen behind with online trends and don’t make investments in online marketing processes, never mind an online marketing plan. For a social venture to be successful in the 21st century, it’s almost impossible to avoid investing in a website and social media.

In a recent study published by Direct Marketing: An International Journal, TCA was used to measure the effectiveness of these approaches based on the level of control over direct marketing (DM) resources compared to the cost to implement each approach. Not surprisingly, the most productive forms of marketing were namely personal selling, telephone, direct mail, and online while the least cost-effective forms were direct response and catalogue. However, the findings presented in this study are consistent in that they support the use of multiple forms of marketing as the most effective approach.

What does marketing have to do with fundraising?

Most non-profits are small, and many of these organizations sustain their projects through donations from the public rather than grant funding. This means that marketing (or fundraising) is one of the most vital metrics that every organization should pay close attention to when planning how they sustain their operations, pay their employees, and build capacity. So, if we take grants off the table, we can first consider other forms of revenue generating pursuits, including:

1. Individual Pledges

2. Corporate Giving

3. Sponsorships

4. Fundraising Events

5. Products/Services

6. Major Donations

References

Mallin, M. L., & Finkle, T. A. (2007). Social Entrepreneurship and Direct Marketing. Direct Marketing: An International Journal, 1(2), 68-77. doi:10.1108/17505930710756833

YouTube Influencer Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

We can say, YouTube Influencer Marketing is one of the best ways to increase a Brand’s reach. But, if and only if we do it the right way.

In 2016, there are up to 75% of marketers are now investing in influencer marketing, 60% of brands will increase the amount they spend on influencer marketing. However, the recent research shows that YouTube has the best ROI than any other social media platform, knowing that YouTube is the second largest search engine and it has the monthly user base of more than 1 Billion users. Impressive, right? It’s no surprise that YouTube sponsorships are one of the present’s top-ranked customer acquisition tool.

YouTube Marketing could offer you huge rewards. However, the way to reach the success from its uncharted territory can be bumpy. Here are top marketing mistakes that are often encountered and strategies on how to avoid them:

Goals Without Strategy. This is one of the common mistakes a marketer makes when launching YouTube Influencer Campaigns. They only focus on their goals and objectives. Some marketers focus on achieving a goal of a certain amount of views and interactions, specifically likes, comments and shares per video they conduct across several channels.

An ROI positive YouTube Influencer campaign requires a well-analyzed strategy. Aside from numeric campaign goals, a marketer should consider defining KPIs or key metrics which indicates whether a campaign’s performance can achieve the set goals. In this case, this will allow for better decisions and strategies not just to meet the ultimate objectives, but to reach the goal higher than the expected.

Discovery. This is a crucial stage that will define the campaign’s success. In this stage, marketers often fell into a very common trap which is choosing a talent based on the channel’s number of subscribers and latest video views.

YouTube hosts much larger amount of data on video watching. The increase of Big Data analytics could provide online tools to help the marketers dig deeper to find the highest-quality talent for their brand. Several key data-driven aspects should analyze when choosing a talent. These are:

  • Relevance. Is determined by keywords and audience overlap. Which also identifies whether a channel’s audiences will be authentically interested in your service or product.
  • Reach. The average number of view per video. It is calculated as the average number of views during a set period of time.
  • Engagement. It is usually computed using total views and interactions. It measures how actively the audience interacts with the channel’s content.
  • Influence. It is calculated based on how content is shared on the channel and if viewers are turned into subscribers. It also indicated whether a channel stimulates action and audience growth.
  • Consistency. It is measured by averaging various channel performance metrics from video to video. It analyzes how often the channel is delivering meaningful content.

If a marketer fails to analyze any of these crucial parameters, the campaign may result in a poorly targeted audience, low conversion rates, and washed budgets.

Popularity. Any industry has its most popular YouTube celebrities with millions of subscribers. It seems like the fastest and easiest solution for a brand, but remember, they only represent 1-5% of all influencers.

Hundreds of new channels are created and published every day and marketers are playing it safe, they activate the largest channels to secure the best results and keep on ignoring smaller channels. This may lead to disappointment, there are more opportunities from smaller channels. This strategy provides only mediocre outcomes. Why?

  • Lack of Authentic Admiration. There is a lot of things going on for the most popular influencer. They cover a variety of topics, experimenting with different video ideas, in fact, they often treat brand partnerships as just another business, Isn’t it true? They also spend a big amount of time on marketing. The result it: Those brands do not get any special interest or authentic excitement about their product or service. Smaller and niche channels are sincerely interested in the particular topic and products, which could lead to higher quality endorsements.
  • Lack of Targeting. For example, when a channel has a large scattered audience, it’s difficult to predict which portion of subscribers would actually be interested in the particular brand and/or topic. This may result in subscribers can see videos that are irrelevant to their interests, which could hurt both the influencer and the brand. However, small and mid-sized dedicated channels attract a homogenous audience of highly engaged followers.?

Marketers must explore the small and middle-sized niche channels, which can become the most loyal and dedicated brand ambassadors that open doors to a highly targeted and engaged audience. More or less amount of marketing dollars, brands can reach a greater variety of audiences and produces multiple pieces of content.

Losing Control. Marketers still fall into the trap of treating an influence as an actor and editorial content as video ads. The Brands underestimates how keen their users are, how fragile their trusts are and how shortsighted it is to fake authenticity.

Case Studies prove that the more authentic the content is, the better users react to it. This leads to higher reach, better engagement and ultimately, stronger campaign results.

Agency. As the number of YouTube influencers arise, agencies also rise to help brands with campaigns. Marketers can fully outsource the efforts and simply reap the rewards. But there are a lot of pitfalls hidden in this strategy.

  • Limited Access. The agency only has the access to talent in its network, those channels may not always be the best fit for the brand’s needs. Marketers should not fail to assess channel’s value and not to limit their reach to only one ideal partner.
  • Connection. Lack of connection is what marketers often underestimate, especially the level of personal connection which is required for a brand and an influencer. Influencers do seek strong relationships and connection with a brand so they could truly understand its values and speak on its behalf.
  • Niche Understanding. The majority of agencies cater to brands within multiple industries and don’t fully understand the subtle differences of particular spaces. The brand manager should step in and make sure that both talent and video content choices are taken to consideration industry specific aspects.?

In working with agencies, managers need to carefully evaluate the emerging costs compared to the delivered value, the differences between the overhead associated with launching campaign in-house and the agency fees, the key competencies and resources the team is missing and if they are provided for by the partner. Managers need to find out answers to these variables before hiring an agency.

Lack of Transparency and Standardization in Pricing Models. This is one of the biggest challenges for marketers in YouTube Influencer marketing. Marketers end up getting unreasonably high quotes and overspend. Not realizing the room for negotiation in the market.

  • Payment Models. Different channels and agencies work on different payment models like pay per view, pay per action and/or pay per activation. Most of agencies or talents work solely on pay per activation model and often do not tie their fees to guaranteed campaign results.
  • Marketplace. YouTube influencer marketing is still in its infancy, with a lack of benchmarks, the market has not determined average rates. Influencers and agencies currently charge anywhere from $0.02 to $0.20 per view so there is a lot of room for negotiation.
  • Secret Transactions. Agencies share their pricing structures rarely which lead to partners offering different fees for the same talent or campaign. Marketers are required to compare prices across space and negotiate aggressively to get the best deal, this will secure an ROI positive campaign.

Marketing Strategies: Flapping Beyond the Struggle to Fly

Marketing strategies that move you out of the water into the sky, and keep you happily flapping your wings in formation to your destination of success?

When you consider the goose as he takes off into flight, flapping and slapping the water, running along on webbed feet in an attempt to lift off into the wild blue yonder, you might see yourself as a business startup. I know, I did. I struggled for the longest time to figure out how to flap my wings with marketing and bring in enough buying clients to move my business off center. Then it happened. Like magic, the clients began to arrive at my door.

If you’re not a bird watcher, you may have missed snow geese flying south each winter in V formation. But having grown up in the cross hairs of goose hunters, I learned to watch for the signs of their arrival. What a magnificent time for a drive to the lakes… During the day, when goose hunters were likely resting up for their early morning hunts, we would take off for the lakes and watch the geese. Snow Geese are predominantly white, with magnificent wide wings that catch the air in flight. They fly with a mix of systematic flapping and lunging forward to push the current.

After thirty plus years of watching them, it isn’t hard to connect the dots between the persistence of the snow goose and workable marketing strategies. I’ll share my insights.

1 – Geese know a good market when they see one.

Every year, as they head south for the winter, Snow Geese find their way back to the lakes and fields of southeastern Colorado where they know they’ll find good water and plenty of food for their trip. They lounge around on early ice pads, dip into the water for bugs and minnows a plenty, and fly to nearby fields to graze until their bellies are full. Then, they rest for the trip.

Finding a good market means knowing what you need. Your business needs buyers that are hungry for what you offer. Once you know your product or service is viable, valuable, and desired, the only thing left to do is offer it up to the right market of buyers. Taking your products to the right buyers and fulfilling those needs is key to making bank. Marketing strategies include a good buyer market.

2 – Geese return to the same market year after year.

Geese come back year after year. Some brilliant scientists and observers tagged some of the geese with little wristlets on their legs and started following their migration. Once they arrive in an area, they return to that area year after year for the same resource.

Residual markets are important to your professional and business success. Once you find the right market, it’s important that you keep going back year after year, to be sure that market remains yours. Find ways to check back with your customers, because they may not remember your name. Call them. Return and offer any new products or services. Make sure they know you’re still available to serve them. Marketing strategies include repeat buyers.

3 – Geese never leave stragglers behind.

When you watch geese lift off, you’ll notice some of the younger, stronger geese always stay behind to make sure the whole flock is in flight, before they take off. And they circle. Their V formation begins as they lift off, and they circle the area until all geese are in flight. Then they take off in the direction of their chosen path.

In business, you reach out and connect. You network to bring in all of your market share. Invite referrals. Talk to people and share what you have. Invite them to visit your website. Ask them to try your products. Offer your services to everyone in your market, because if you’re not serving them, they miss out on the opportunity. Be sure you don’t leave stragglers behind. The best marketing strategies keep track of buyer markets.

4 – Geese take turns leading the flock.

The V formation of flying allows geese to naturally rotate out the lead birds. Flying is hard work, and remember I said their flight is a combination of systematic flapping and lunging? That lead bird is breaking the way for the flock, and when he tires, someone else steps up and takes the lead.

When you’re watching a larger flock of geese, sometimes you’ll see three or four V formations within the same flock. That’s because there are leaders at different levels. The larger the flock, the more V-Leaders you’ll see.

As a professional marketer, you’ll need to rely on others occasionally to get the job done, or to learn new processes. Like geese, we can’t always be leaders, sometimes we need to step back and follow. Don’t be afraid to fall into line behind another strong leader occasionally. You’ll be ready to take the lead again when it’s your turn. Marketing strategies have room for both leading and following.

5 – Geese are strong and capable, resilient even.

That lead goose has to be able to withstand wind and air turbulents, and strong enough to keep moving forward, even through storms. He has to know the direction they’re traveling and be able to maintain good speed. Last I knew, geese don’t have GPS, but they do have great memories, because like I said before – they always return to the same locations. They’re strong and capable of battling winds and nature to get where they need to go.

Mother nature isn’t always kind, she occasionally sends them on their way, and greets them with a storm before they arrive. Geese weather the storms well.

Being a business owner requires you to be strong and capable. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep up your strength and abilities to get things done. Don’t hesitate to ask for help – mentors are plenty – and everyone needs sustenance to keep going. Marketing strategies must be resilient.

6 – Geese encourage each other always.

All that honking you hear when a flock of geese fly over, is encouragement. They’re encouraging each other to keep flying. Now, those of us who know geese, understand that it’s generally a noise geese make when they lunge forward, because they’re exerting a tremendous amount of effort. But the honking encourages other geese to keep lunging too. The longer they’re in flight, the more they honk.

However, here’s a point you need to know. When the leader is at the point of the V, he doesn’t honk. When he takes the lead, he isn’t honking, he’s flying. The other geese keep honking to encourage and motivate him to keep flying.

Encouragement can take you where you need to be. Seriously. More often than not, when I feel like I can’t get through the day, all it takes is a little encouragement to go on. As a leader, it’s your job to listen and know where you’re taking your team. You don’t have to talk all the time, sometimes you need to listen.

In my hometown, there’s a group called Honkers. They’re part of the local Chamber of Commerce and they recognize new business owners and show up to HONK them. They promote new business owners and invite them to join the Chamber. It’s a great way to acknowledge, support, and encourage business owners.

Marketing strategies that work best encourage others.

7 – Geese mate for life.

Geese pick a mate and mate for life. They travel with their mate, raise geese with their mate, and their flocks are made up of matched pairs. Except when they aren’t.

I’m sure there’s an animal lover somewhere who will be offended by this, but geese are food. Hunters hunt food. And the key here is that sometimes geese lose their mates. Whether it’s to a hunter or a storm, the result is the same, and one goose goes on alone with the flock.

They take flight and fly away.

All this to point out that in business, we often have struggles. We lose our business partner, or a business, and we must carry on. We have to step up and over, and take flight. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, but I will tell you that it’s easier if you’ve built a tribe of support to surround you, and you can lean on your leaders and those around you to motivate you and keep you using your marketing strategies and building your business.

Marketing strategies can help you overcome the worst business disaster, and are considerate of your personal life events. They don’t end when things get rough, the best ones are designed with support systems to help you through.

Don’t let a life struggle or a business disaster take you down.

  • Know a good market when you find it.
  • Think residual. Market to the same folks again.
  • Never leave a client behind.
  • Take turns in leadership. Sometimes, follow well.
  • Be strong and confident.
  • Encourage and be encouraged always.
  • Life isn’t easy, do it anyway.

Your clients are counting on you to find a marketing strategy that works, because they need what you offer. Don’t let them down.