02 Jun How to ‘Go Digital’ as a Charity – Six Key Stages
Digital marketing for charities is more important now than ever. Besides the social, business and governmental pressure to go digital, there are huge benefits to getting your charity or purpose-led business online. Not only can you reach more people but you can deliver services to a larger audience over a much bigger geographical space with a smaller cost base. This means we can all help more people, more of the time.
Some charity leaders fear it’s too late to go digital – “We’re so behind already” – and the job is too big – “Where do we even start” – but that’s not true. It’s never too late to go digital and more and more people are using digital mediums socially in their every day lives. This means the skills are already in your organisation – you just need to give them direction, purpose and a platform.
Taking your charity digital will enable an already digital workforce to work more effectively and with greater reach.
How to go digital – 6 key stages
When planning a digital marketing strategy for charity, it’s useful to think of it in stages. As the technological and digital ability of your charity develops, so must your team’s ability to leverage it. ‘Going digital’ is a behavioural change as much as it’s a change in the way you do business.
There are six main stages to doing digital and we’ve listed them below.
The first step is to get real clarity on why you’re here. What is your cause and what are you trying to do?
With the power of digital marketing you can reach and connect with so many people. But so can a lot of other charities and businesses. People are ‘skipping’ interruptive ads, ‘hiding’ content from their social media feeds that they no longer want to see and hanging up on cold callers more and more. The key to success with your digital marketing approach is to focus on building real relationships based on a shared sense of purpose – launch a movement, lead the way and how people how to get involved.
Next, clarify the outcomes: what do you want as a result of going digital? Who are you trying to impact and in what way? Once this is clear, it’s important to build engagement by sharing your purpose or mission, communicating your vision and how you’ll get there to your full team and wider community.
Your new web site
Your web site is your main online portal and a real measure of your digital sophistication. All social media tracks back here and all Google searches and online content bring people into your web site. More than that, though, your web site is the most accessible way for people to learn about your offering and engage you. It’s important that it’s quick loading, easy to use and responsive to all devices.
Our view is that a well built web site can be a game changer for charities and purpose led businesses. When bringing in a web designer, look for someone who has real business and online marketing experience, not just a pure web designer. It’s important to think about how people will use your site, how you’ll engage them and what you can do to really communicate your message via your web site.
Digital marketing is a big term! It’s how you use social media, email marketing, content marketing (blogs etc.) and search engine optimisation to get your ideas in front of the people you can help. At this stage, it’s a good idea to start with a results dashboard of desired outcomes before writing a strategy to hit those results.
In our experience, it’s best to focus on one or two areas and do them well than to cover too many aspects of digital and do them all poorly. For example, we’d recommend finding out which platforms your supported use – is it Linked In or Facebook? Choose one key platform and really focus on building your audience there first. Be present, be proactive and be useful. Build an online and choose your next move from there.
Online service offering
This is how you enable people to benefit from your offering online. It might be a fully fledged online course that you run or it could be as simple as a private portal that you run for members.
This tends to evolve in stages and our view is always ‘progress not perfection’. For example, an online course might be a video series people sign up to and receive via email. You can get this moving much more quickly than if you were to build a fully fledged learning management system to distribute your course.
Get started, get feedback and improve quickly as you go.
It’s really important to ensure your team is capable of running your digital marketing at a strategic and tactical level. Spend time communicating the overall vision and how each person can help you realise it.
We really believe in trusting your team to help in you marketing efforts. Could key members of the team write and contribute to the blog? Could someone be responsible for capturing live photos at events?
It’s very likely that you will have people in your organisation who live on digital media, especially if you’re a bigger entreprise. How can you find them and empower them to help you?
Results and optimisation
The better the results, the more people (and animals!) you can help. Don’t forget to think about how you’ll review your results. All digital work is trial and error and optimisation is part of the journey.
Can we help?
Would you like to work with a team to help you on your journey? Alice and I are really passionate about helping charities and purpose led businesses get online and grow their digital presence.
We have seven year’s experience in web design, digital marketing and more recently we have ventured into producing online courses to help change people’s lives. And we’re not too shabby at it! You can see an example at daretogrowcourses.co.uk.
We can help you build your new web site, even if you’ve never had one before, show you how to edit it and train your team in all aspects of digital marketing.