Online Marketing Tips for Nonprofits & Charities from Jay Aber

By March 2, 2012
OfflinePhoto of Artez Updates

Moving your direct mail campaigns online

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For today's marketing and communications professional, there's little doubt that internet marketing has become a powerful tool, but the strategies need to be implemented and managed properly. Jay Aber, President of The Aber Group, our recent webinar guest, shares observations, practical client examples and NFP case studies to illustrate lessons learned about the best ways to move offline campaigns - online.

Jay Aber has worked with companies like American Express, Aeroplan, WWF and WSPA to create an impressive mix of not-for-profit and for profit clients. He strongly believes that online marketing for nonprofits can be used to educate people about different causes and says, "People are very happy to give online."

Internet marketing: how to start

Step 1. It is important to conduct media mix modeling to see which media are close to the margin and which media are generating better returns. Aber advises charities to eliminate unsuccessful media and to reallocate a budget to online marketing methods since it is more cost effective and has lesser diminishing returns.  According to Aber, an organization should be spending at least 20% of the marketing budget for online media, otherwise  great opportunities are being missed.

Step 2. Know Your Audience

Canadians and Americans see a positive outlook for donations in 2012. With almost 70% of Canadians and 60% of American audiences reached online, Aber finds that the subsequent time spent online is also high. The average donor age group is between the ages of 35-54 and is more affluent. It is highly important to keep the message simple, since these people are busy.

Step 3. Run Test Track

Run small tests, track results, tweak campaigns and rollout the winners. When looking at the results of online direct mail campaigns, Aber finds that the Homepage of any website is where customers look for most of the information and some areas on a Homepage get more hits than others. Test replacing your "Donate" button from left to right, bottom, top and identify these areas.  The overall goal is to keep the 'bounce rate' down.

Online Marketing Tips

Internet marketing is expected to grow significantly in the areas of Search Marketing and Display Advertizing. Google has a variety of resources like Google Grants that donates generously to not-for-profit organizations for their work, and Google Analytics that tracks the data in the areas like audience, where they came from, what they click on and when they get bored and leave.

Aber highlights some paid methods that nonprofits can use to build their campaign reach and this could be through Pay Per Click and Remarketing.

Remarketing  is a great idea for you, if you see high volume of visits to your web page but are not satisfied with the conversion rate. Remarketing helps to target those customers that didn't finish a process. For example, if someone started but didn't finish making a donation, placing a banner on a different web page will reinforce the cause and the viewer will be back at your website within about 4 weeks. Google gives free codes for companies to put on their website and other areas for this purpose. Adjusting creative elements like size, background color and rotation speed of a banner can influence its effectiveness and reach.

Online media is becoming the dominant direct response marketing method and even though it takes some 'getting used to', charities leveraging this medium are 'light years ahead'.

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