By Elizabeth Romaine, Dir. of Communications & PR for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
Marketing on a budget is possible! There are several ways you can approach marketing that will yield results without breaking the bank.
Public relations is an excellent way to tell your story to a wider audience than you may be able to reach on your own. Sign up for Google Alerts with your organization’s name and keywords related to your industry to know what types of stories are being written. Create a list of target media outlets and include their contact info. Write a press release and “pitch” your story to reporters – tell them why your news is interesting to their readers. Sign up for HARO to become a resource for reporters looking to write about what you do.
There are several digital strategies you can utilize to drive traffic to your website. SlideShare.net takes presentations you’ve already made and puts them on a searchable website – like a YouTube for PowerPoints. Creating a blog shows the personal side of your organization while creating opportunities for social media sharing and boosting your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Creating short, DIY videos communicate your messages in new ways. Don’t fret – you don’t need fancy equipment to produce a video. All you need is an iPhone and the free video editing software already on your computer. Or better yet, find a plucky and tech-savvy intern!
It’s not necessary to be on every social media platform available. Judging from your supporters’ characteristics, choose 1-2 platforms that will reach them and manage those outlets well. Post consistently (several times a week, if possible) and interact with your audience. “Like” their comments, encourage sharing of your events, ask questions and welcome feedback. Social media is not a bulletin board where you post a flyer; It is a 2-way conversation that needs to be fostered. Post content such as links to your latest blog entry, profiles on your supporters or the people who are helping and photos from your last event. Have a photo, video or URL link in all of your posts.
Make sure your website is helping you capture supporters. Is it mobile-friendly? 50-60% of your visitors are likely viewing your site on a phone. Is it easy to find how to sign up for your e-newsletters? Can they find the links to your social media and blogs? Put this information on your home page and see your engagements increase.
Finally, if you do have a little money, here’s a couple of ways you might be able to spend it. If I had,
- $5, I’d boost my Facebook post
- $50, I’d spend it on Facebook ads (drive traffic to your event, donate, volunteer, etc)
- $100, I’d invest in a social media manager like Hootsuite
- $500, I’d test Google Ads (or apply for an ad grant)
- $1000, I’d hire an experienced auctioneer for your next fundraising event
Make sure you set clear goals and objectives so you can measure the effectiveness of your marketing.
With a little time and maybe some cents, you can market your organization effectively!