Inbound Marketing for Nonprofits

Inbound marketing may be a standard form of lead generation in the corporate world, but it can be just as beneficial to nonprofits. Unfortunately, many nonprofit organizations are confused about the process, and their leaders and board members may not support inbound marketing. The key is to understand how inbound marketing can play a strategic role in raising funds, awareness and support for a nonprofit’s mission.

The Ins and Outs of Inbound Marketing

For those new to the concept of inbound marketing, it’s any type of marketing that encourages potential customers or donors to take a step and support a cause, make a purchase, or share information. The following strategies are often employed during digital, or Internet-based, inbound marketing:

  • A keyword-optimized website is created and becomes a viable way for people to find out about the nonprofit without the nonprofit reaching out to them directly. Each page of the website provides information and a call-to-action (or several calls-to-action) to improve responsiveness.
  • Blogs are used to increase page ranking (when SEO is applied), and they give more opportunity for nonprofits to showcase their expertise, skills, and end results. Plus, they add web content to the site regularly.
  • Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are used to create a relationship between people and important causes. The dialogue and connections fostered through social media platforms build a stronger base of supporters.
  • Email marketing can be an excellent strategy for inbound marketing. As people opt-in to receive more information, they consistently receive emails from the nonprofit. The emails entice them, encourage them to take an action, or educate them.

There are other inbound marketing avenues as well, such as hosting podcasts, leading webinars, writing guest blog posts and articles, publishing press releases, and creating videos.

The Difference Between Corporate and Nonprofit Inbound Marketing

Businesses often discuss inbound marketing as a way to improve sales. The term “sales” is rarely used in the nonprofit world, and may be a turnoff. For a business, inbound marketing is a way to drive people through a retailer’s door, or to encourage someone to make a phone call, send an email or fill out a contact form. These actions are equally as practical for nonprofits — it’s simply a matter of viewing inbound marketing as a tool for mission or fund generating instead of a sales tool.

How Nonprofits Can Use Inbound Marketing Tactically

Nonprofits can take advantage of the inbound marketing tools at their disposal, and they don’t have to spend a fortune to do it. In fact, nonprofits may find that successful inbound marketing raises their funds much more than they might expect, paying for itself in very little time.

If you’re a nonprofit leader or volunteer, try these inbound marketing strategies to improve your results:

  • Update your website. Nothing is a bigger turn-off to visitors than an outdated website. It’s better to pay for a dynamic, robust website design than to lose donations because of your website sends the wrong message.
  • Blog consistently. Blog as often as you can, even if it’s only once or twice a month. Looking for blog content? Talk to your volunteers for ideas, or highlight how your nonprofit has made a difference for someone or a group of people.
  • Be visible on social media. Embrace the social media revolution. All age groups actively participate on social media platforms. If your average donors are Baby Boomers, you can attract them with Facebook and Twitter posts. Aim to post on social media at least three to four times a week.
  • Start a video channel on YouTube. YouTube is a huge search engine. Keyword-optimized videos on your nonprofit channel will attract more donations. Your videos don’t have to be professionally created. A simple one-minute, heartfelt and sincere video can send a message that reaches people and moves them to help.

Inbound marketing should be a part of your nonprofit’s methods to boost donations. It’s not the wave of the future — it’s relevant now.

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