Eric Pratum is the Director of Digital Strategy at Grizzard Communications Group, a 90+ year old direct marketing agency specializing in nonprofits. Eric specializes in social media analytics, search engine optimization, and social network- and keyword-based advertising.
Today, I had the pleasure of presenting on Killer Content and how to make your nonprofit’s marketing social with Cheryl Black of Convio and Jacqui Groseth of Union Rescue Mission. The four main takeaways from the presentation were:
- Plan out your marketing programs.
- Create a calendar.
- Engage your audience and learn from what works and what doesn’t.
- Turn that engagement into action – donations, volunteerism, and advocacy.
While you are planning and creating your calendar, there are a few other things that you can do to make your online marketing more effective.
Get yourself a bitly or awe.sm account and start using Timely Bitly and awe.sm are URL shorteners that help you to save space in tweets and also to get some analytics around who is clicking on your links, when, and from where. They are both invaluable in and of themselves, but combined with Timely, they are spectacular. When you find something interesting online that you would otherwise tweet immediately or schedule within a tweet scheduler, schedule it instead within Timely. It will then look through your last 199 tweets to see what time of day you get the most @ replies, retweets, or link clicks and then schedule your tweet for that time. You can schedule up to 9 tweets to go out each day, and I have yet to reach a limit to how many tweets can be scheduled. Using Timely will help you find and write tweets when you it is convenient for you, and you won’t have to worry about when it goes out because TImely can determine when it is most convenient for your audience. I have not been tracking exact numbers on this, but after using it for over a month, every Twitter account that I have used it on has seen a response increase of over 10x.
Unify your nonprofit website URLs When you type your URL into your web browser with the WWW and without the WWW, does one resolve to the other? For example, when you type in ConnectionCafe.com, it automatically redirects to www.ConnectionCafe.com. The same thing happens with Grizzard.com. This is called a 301 or permanent redirect and the effect is that all of your URLs are canonicalized. This is a good thing. Now, what happens with your website? If you the WWW version of your website does not redirect to the non-WWW version or vice versa, you have an easily fixable problem with your website. If you have your own server, your IT department can implement a permanent redirect. If not, you can go to GoDaddy or wherever you own your URL implement the redirect from there. If you still can’t do that, you can at least visit Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools and tell them what you prefer your domain to be. Before we implemented this for one of our clients, the search engines thought the WWW and the non-WWW versions of their site were two different websites, so when one got a link from a news article, tweet, or anywhere else, it did not help the other version. Also, both versions of their site were being outranked in the search results by one of their competitors. After we implemented this, the search engines could see that the WWW and non-WWW versions of their website were the same, so they combined the buckets of links each had, and they began to outrank their primary competitor. I want to note here that there is a lot more to search engine optimization than this, but this is a great place to start.
Set up Google Goals When was the last time that someone asked you how much revenue your efforts on Twitter, Facebook, or some other social media channel had brought in? You hear it all the time and probably do not have an answer, right? If you set up Google Goals, you will be able to see how many people come from Twitter, Facebook, Google search, partner websites, email, or anywhere else and donate. Get the code from your Google Analytics account, install it on your Thank You page (or any other page that represents success for your efforts and people can only reach by taking a specific action), and then you can start to track where people come from to eventually donate, sign up for email, or do whatever else is important.
This is just a start But, we have seen amazing improvements with URL unification and the use of Timely, and the insights gained from setting up Google Goals are always immense. They lend credence to effort put into social media or sometimes help us make educated decisions on why to cut back. Do you have a favorite tool or tip to share that you think nonprofits really need to know about, but don’t yet?