Relationship Advice for Organizations:

Five Online Marketing Mistakes Preventing Your Organization from Engaging Its Supporters

A smart digital marketing strategy is critical to every organization’s success—but with the mind-boggling array of options online, where do you begin to create an effective strategy that truly engages your potential supporters and customers? How do you get consumers to do more than just read your Facebook page or Twitter feed? How do you drive new visitors to your website, and more importantly, have them take action? Here’s a short list of common mistakes you may need to correct in order to build stronger relationships with your constituents over the long haul.

Mistake #1. Don’t You (Forget about Your Website Content)
Are you spending the bulk of your time populating Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites with all your best content, while your own website copy grows stale? Your audience will notice. Social media is a great place to gain followers, but it’s clearly a means and not an end. Your posts on social sites should show some personality and leave your followers intrigued and wanting more.

That “more” belongs on your corporate website. The goal of a sound online strategy is to gain followers, engage them, and ultimately convert them to supporters or customers. While you can achieve the first step or two using social media, your website is crucial to achieving the ultimate goal. So rather than replicate copy on multiple platforms word for word or leave your website mostly stagnant, think about how to continue and expand conversations over time and across platforms and move your followers to the next step.

Mistake #2. Wiki-what???
It’s no secret that Wikipedia pages regularly end up in the top 3-5 results for just about every keyword search. It would be a mistake not to use this fact to your advantage by actively managing Wikipedia pages relevant to your business. Wikipedia provides you with the opportunity to create and update content, thereby influencing opinion and establishing yourself as an authoritative and trustworthy source of information. The rules are strict, but often result in high value exposure and in a place where your supporters or customers are most likely to look.

Mistake #3. Giving Them the Runaround
The number one feature visitors are looking for in a website is the ability to find what they are looking for quickly. Don’t let bells and whistles become a distraction; instead, focus on writing good content from the perspective of someone who may need information from your organization. Was this person recently diagnosed with a disease? Does he or she need specific facts to combat myths about a particular subject—and if so, is this information easy to find? By providing this valuable information to your audience at just the time when they are seeking it, you build and strengthen your relationship and lay the groundwork for converting them to supporters or customers.

One of the pillars of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is to have excellent content with the right keywords in prominent places, so that it gets picked up and elevated in search results. Headlines, sub-heads, and links should all have relevant keywords in them. Images should have keywords in alt-tags. Using copy properly is critical to keep from getting lost in Goooooooogle oblivion.

Mistake #4. Google Ads Not Adding Up?
Google AdWords is one of the most popular tools for creating and managing paid online ads. You don’t necessarily need a huge budget to be successful, but you do need highly specialized content. As with website copy, your consumers’ needs come first, and keyword research is vital to making the most of your Google Ads dollars.

For nonprofit organizations, Google offers up to $10,000 per month in free advertising through Google Ad Grants, which is a fantastic opportunity. But again, the key to benefitting from the full amount of the grant is to choose the right key words so your ads will run. Otherwise all that free money just goes to waste.

Mistake #5. Thinking Most ‘Likes’ = Most Likely to Succeed
It would be nice if Facebook “likes” had a quantifiable value, but unfortunately, “likes” alone don’t mean much. Every Facebook page needs a solid strategy for turning those “likes” into things that will propel your organization toward success—things like purchases, donations, testimonials, and recommendations. A good strategy involves multiple steps that grow likes among particular demographics, target specific online actions, and continue to engage your audience on an ongoing basis, with the ultimate goal of converting them to supporters or customers.