marketing tactics

#Eclipse2017 Marketing Lessons

I don't know about where you live, but Atlanta had #Eclipse2017 fever for weeks—and we weren't even in the path of totality, where the sun would be completely blocked by the moon. But there were apps, websites, news coverage, and huge shortages on ISO-certified glasses everywhere you looked. It was a fun frenzy to be a part of, honestly. I was totally into it. However, even after anticipating it for a couple of months, I still found myself unprepared. In the end, I had a great time, but it was also a tad chaotic.

And it was easy to make a few parallels between this unique experience and the world of marketing. So, be a business nerd with me for a minute, and just go with it . . . 

Here are four marketing lessons we can draw from #Eclipse2017.

1. Plan Ahead

Did you get your circa Back to the Future ISO-certified eclipse glasses? I almost didn't. I literally got my hands on a pair less than 40 minutes before the big event. I had been thinking about this moment for weeks and weeks leading up to it, but kept forgetting to pick up free glasses or buy them, and then when I put some real effort into it just a few days prior, they were, of course all gone. Like, long gone. My friend and I managed to buy a pair from a guy who's friend didn't show up to watch with him. Whew!

Marketing lesson: Good marketing doesn't just happen. If you don't live in the world of business communications as I do, there are plenty of other things to occupy your mind and your time. Believe it or not, sometimes it's even hard for me to make the time. And if you don't consider it to be one of your skills, it's easy to let marketing slide or get pushed to the back burner. But you can't expect people to buy, donate, or show up without some real effort on your part. I know there is already a lot on your plate, but stop and think about your marketing. Put together a plan, even a loose one to work from. Read a book, listen to a podcast, or get on an email list that will teach you more about marketing. The better you get, the more your organization will thrive.

2. Have a Backup Plan

I ended up enacting Plan D for my eclipse experience. Plan A was to win one of the cool trips I'd registered for, which would've meant watching it in either Portland or Nashville. Long shot? Absolutely, but how fun would it have been! Plan B was to buy glasses and go watch with my friend at her house because her daughter was napping and she couldn't get out. But I couldn't find any to buy because I waited too long. Plan C was to go to a local event that had glasses for sale. This is what I thought was happening up until it didn't. Another friend came with me to this event, but when we arrived, they'd already sold out of specs. That's when Plan D evolved. 

We were standing in line for this event, but we didn't know if the line was for drinks, or to buy the glasses. So, I tapped the guy in front of me on the shoulder and asked. He said it was for drinks, and that they'd already run out of glasses. Gahhh! But he said that his friend didn't show up and that he'd sell us his extra pair! So, we grabbed those because it was almost 2:00 p.m., and the eclipse was happening at 2:36 p.m. here. We'd just have to share.

Marketing lesson: Maybe not every time, but at some point, something in your marketing plan will go wrong. (My experience is that it's usually technology-related.) Maybe it's a bad wifi connection, a glitch with your email provider, an event speaker gets sick or misses their connecting flight, the product doesn't get shipped on time, or your computer crashes and you know you were supposed to, but you haven't backed it up in six months even though you got a notification to do so the day before. It could literally be anything. The point is to have a backup plan, or three. Expect that something will go wrong, because it easily could. And do a happy dance when it doesn't!

3. Share the Experience

As you've already seen, I didn't plan very well for this historic moment. It wasn't until last Thursday when I actually started hunting for glasses. And I was sick last week and over the weekend, so even though I'd been excited for the eclipse, my enthusiasm was quickly waning. It wasn't until Sunday that I reached out to my friend to attend the viewing party with me. She showed some interest, but we didn't even make firm plans until around 11:00 a.m. on Monday!

I woke up that day still feeling pretty drained from being sick, so I'd almost resigned myself to just watching the eclipse on TV from my couch. I was about to text her that I wasn't feeling up to it, when she reached out to see if we were still on. So, I took a moment, remembered that previous excitement, and put together a plan. We ended up having a great time, and a fun, shared experience.

Marketing lesson: If you are a solopreneur or run a small business of just a few folks, it's very easy to get used to doing things on your own. This may be because it's just easier, you don't have the resources to pay others, or have a hard time delegating. But whether you're in the middle of a launch, promoting an event, fulfilling a product order, administering a service, or just dreaming of what's next, it's always more fun with a buddy. Conversations with others may give you new ideas, good feedback, inspiration, or one of another dozen awesome things. Even as a solopreneur, doing everything alone is a choice. Make plans to involve others, even informally. Your organization will be better for it. After all, you got in this business to help others. So, let someone help you.

4. Make It Last

If you're anything like me, your post-eclipse routine included updating social media with the photos you took. After that, I scoured Instagram and Facebook to see the photos and videos my friends and family captured. It was an experience worth sharing and celebrating. I also had friends that were in prime viewing spots all over the country, so I couldn't wait to see a glimpse of what they saw. It was truly an event that brought the country together, and gave us something fun to focus on after all the bad news we hear every day. I'll certainly be watching for those photos and videos in the days to come.

Marketing lesson: One of the common mistakes I see by organizations is that they host an awesome event, but they only talk about it before-hand. They don't promote it much during, and rarely after. Those are two prime opportunities to get your audience excited about your next event. Likewise, if you put a lot of time and effort into a launch, but never update your peeps about how it went, you're missing the opportunity to keep them in the loop and tell them how important they were to it. Or, do you put a lot of work into writing blog posts, but never actually promote them? It's unlikely people will just sit around waiting with baited breath until your next post. You need to market it! I've heard that 20% of the effort you put into your blog post should be writing it, and the other 80% should be marketing it. Your words may be incredible, but if no one knows to read them, they won't be very effective. Go the extra mile. Make it count, and then make it last.

So, did you watch the eclipse? Where from? What did you think?



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Here are four marketing lessons revealed by #eclipse2017.

Kristi Porter, founder at www.signify.solutions

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing, and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.


Ask the Experts: Understanding Your Audience

Each month, I invite guest contributors to speak about timely, relevant, and sought-after topics that are important for cause-focused organizations like yours to be aware of as you grow. For August, I've invited my friend, Jen Gordon, to share about uncovering the hidden desires of your donors and customers. Understanding your audience will be a key to your success.

Uncover the hidden desires of your donors and customers.

Q. What are the latest trends in your industry?

A. What I’m seeing lately is a trend toward companies identifying their marketing strategy first, and then outlining the tactics they will take to align with that strategy. By “strategy," I mean really digging into the hidden and unspoken desires of your prospect, and developing your approach to that audience around those wants.

In the past I’ve seen marketers using tactics like, “Hey, let’s send out a direct mail piece like the one I saw from XYZ organization.” Or, “Oh, let’s send an email campaign about our next fundraiser,” before truly identifying why their prospects would want to engage the content.

There has always been interest in the marketing world around the psychology of marketing, but today there is a lot more content readily available about the psychological drivers that cause prospects to take a certain action, to leave, buy, or donate. Nir Eyal writes a blog that focuses on consumer behavioral triggers and habits. Though most of his work focuses on software development, the concepts he teaches are applicable to any industry.

Q. What is the biggest mistake you see people making in regards to what you do?

A. One of the mistakes I have seen many times over the years of creating landing pages and sales funnels is that business owners may have a short-term plan or campaign they want to launch, but don’t have a clear roadmap for the year in terms of where they want to be in 30/60/90 days or six months, etc. They generally know what they want to achieve, but the path getting there is often unclear.

Right now, I’m working on a marketing calendar (with some inspiration from this SEJ post) for my own product, the Hope Deck, using Google Sheets, Google Calendar and Trello—all free tools!

Q. What is your best piece of advice?

A. If you aren’t trained on how to uncover your prospect, donor, or customer’s hidden, unspoken wants/desires, then find someone who is. :) Learning how to do this while working on the Hope Deck has completely changed how I connect to, and communicate with, my audience.

It has allowed me to understand how I can bring the maximum amount of value to my customers. I no longer assume that I am a part of my target audience, which I have done in the past. My mind is open to a wider range of problems people want to solve, and emotions they want to feel or not feel.

Q. What is one thing readers can do this week to improve?

A. Start figuring out what your audience really wants—not what they need, but what they want. I created a spreadsheet for the Hope Deck where I am in the process of identifying my customer’s unspoken desires. Don't get overwhelmed. Keep it simple to begin, and then edit or expand it over time.

Q. Anything else we should keep in mind?

A. The best way to uncover these hidden wants and desires is to actually talk to your customers or donors. I’d recommend recording the conversations, if possible, so you can review them later and pick up on details you may miss in the moment. Another option is to get them in writing through emails or surveys. You'll then use their language when speaking to them in your emails, social media, and any other communication pieces, so that it's familiar and relatable.

And be sure to ask them open-ended questions about why they choose to partner with, donate to, purchase from, or do business with you. Most of the time they won’t express their hidden desires outright, but you can infer from their answers what is important to them, and from there brainstorm motivation, emotional triggers, and things like that.


Jen Gordon is a momma, artist, and entrepreneur based in Atlanta, Georgia. For the past eight years of her career, she’s specialized in conversion centered design, working closely with marketers and business owners to increase sales by testing and optimizing their sales funnels. Her geeky passions include finishing stuff, brain rewiring, crafts of any sort, and anything Dolly Parton has ever said or sung. :) You can find her latest creative project, a collection of inspirational postcards, at www.HopeDeck.com.



PIN THIS POST FOR LATER:

Start figuring out what your audience really wants—not what they need, but what they want. Uncovering the hidden wants and desires of your audience will be a key to your success.

Kristi Porter, founder at www.signify.solutions

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.


Make It Easy For People to Talk About You

This month we've been talking about building your business, lessons to learn from, and making it look more professional. Today I want to give you one of my top tips for getting the word out about your organization, a new product or service, latest initiative, or some other big news you want people to know about.

Make it easy for people to talk about your organization, your latest initiative, a product or service, or your latest big news with this one, simple, but powerful tip.

I first heard about this strategy in an interview Jon Acuff did years ago with Connect Faith magazine. It certainly wasn't the focus of the article. It was just sort of a side note in the feature, but it stopped me in my tracks. I think I literally quit reading and exhaled, "hmmm," aloud. It was so simple, but so remarkable for me as an event marketing professional. I started implementing it immediately, and never looked back. It was an incredibly effective tool for the organization I worked for at the time (that they still use), and it's proven itself time and again for the clients I work with now.

So, what is it?

Provide social media samples and images for your network of influencers.

Let me explain. You likely write emails, blogs, and social media posts for your organization's latest, greatest, and next big thing. You spend a lot of time crafting exactly what needs to be said, sending it out to your database, and posting it on your social outlets. If you have a staff or board, maybe you even give them a nudge to forward and share it. You're excited, and you know they will be too. You're gearing everyone up to shout this message from the rooftops! Perhaps, if you're a real go-getter, you even send a reminder.

But after the launch, you look back and hear . . . crickets.

Few people shared the message.

They said they would. They were excited. They had every intention. But, in the end, time or writer's block or a Netflix binge got in the way.

They'll do better next time, right?

Maybe. I'm not usually a cynic, so it's entirely possible. But I'd rather you provide all influencers with sample social media posts and images to make it as easy as possible for them to talk about what you've got going on.

In the interview I mentioned above, Jon stated that when the events he was speaking at provided him with posts he could literally copy and paste on his social media outlets, it removed any barriers to his good intentions slipping away. 

Sure, you'd probably rather someone gush in their own words about your organization, but what's better: the slim chance that they might do it, or the high probability that they will? I think most of us would prefer the second option.

So, that's what I started doing and it worked BIG TIME! Awareness and engagement increased. Influencers thanked us for supplying them with exactly what they needed, and in the end, we reached more people, sold more products and event tickets, and gained a larger base of supporters.

What's an influencer?

This might all sound great to you, but perhaps you're asking yourself exactly who an "influencer" is and how you find one of these mythical creatures. Probably the purest definition from a marketing perspective would be someone with a large and established network. They influence crowds. These are usually big name folks. 

Maybe this is the person who started your organization, a spokesperson, a celebrity affiliation, well-known speaker, author, or personality, and people like that. To work with them on the level I'm talking about here, you'd already need an established relationship. It's highly unlikely that you can just email George Clooney and tell him that your organization provides relief to third world countries, and by the way, you have a new product coming out, and would he post it on Twitter if you wrote him the samples . . . Ummmm, sadly, probably not. (But if you try it, and it works, please let me know!)

In addition to the types of men and women with large networks, I believe you should also include all others already in your circle. The "low hanging fruit," if you will. After all, everyone has a network of some size. And sometimes grassroots movements are the most effective. So, be sure to include staff, volunteers or interns, board members, event speakers, and anyone who has a vested interest in seeing your organization or event succeed. When you've made it this easy for them, you might just be surprised who ends up sharing.

What should you include?

As mentioned, you should include pre-written social media samples and images. The three I am typically asked to write for include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But you'll need to determine if those are right for you.

Here are a few other tips:

  • Make sure all pre-written text is the correct length for each outlet. For example, don't send people copy that should be Tweeted about, but extends well beyond the 140 character count. #annoying

  • Ditto with images. They aren't a one-sized-fits-all. Make sure you provide images that are correctly sized for wherever you're asking them to share.

  • Write it from that person's point-of-view, when necessary. At times, it may be fine for everyone to say the same thing in the same way, but with some easy tweaks on your part, it will be far more effective. For example, if you're sending these items to event speakers, write it as "I'm speaking at..." rather than just general event info. (Or include both)

  • Try writing two to five examples for people so they can use whatever fits their voice/brand, or can say different things at different times without just sounding repetitive.

  • Encourage people to customize the text for their own voice or brand, but don't expect it. Some will, but most won't.

  • Always provide a deadline or schedule, and always send a reminder. Again, people are busy, so if you're on a timeline, they need to be made aware of it.

  • Deliver it in whatever way works best for you and your crowd. This may be via email, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Site, a hidden webpage, or something else. I would not suggest sending huge, mass emails, though. Segment the group as needed. For example, send an email to staff only, and don't include event speakers unless they are staff members.

Want to take it a bit further?

  • Include videos for sharing as well.

  • If the people you're sending these items to are also bloggers, you might even consider writing some blog posts they can copy and paste as well. (Don't forget images or video!)

  • Ask people if there is anything else you can provide them with for sharing. Maybe their website has a banner image that can be used, or maybe they have an email list and would be happy to send something out that is customized for them.

  • Host this "spread the word" kit on your website so that other fans can share it.

  • Include a "spread the word" kit or just one or two samples and images in confirmation pages and emails to event attendees. (Don't give them too many items or they'll get overwhelmed.)

Anything else to remember?

Hopefully, you're excited about this strategy. In fact, you're mind is probably already buzzing with the different items you can put together, and how you can utilize it for your next launch. I can't wait to hear about how it goes!

The other added benefit of this technique that we haven't really talked about yet, is that this strategy allows you to control the message. Maybe you've asked someone to share about your event before, for example, but they got the details wrong, or didn't make it sound very exciting, or just missed the mark somehow. This trick ensures that your message is said exactly as you wanted. No more guessing. (I have a PR background, so this this method means a lot! ;)

Before I go, I do want to give you one note of caution: use this strategy sparingly. You want to save it for important things, not a coupon for $5 off an next order. Definitely don't wear your people down, or they'll be less likely to share when you really need it.

Other than that, there are lots of ways you can tailor this strategy for your cause and organization. And if you find a way to improve upon it, let me know!



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Mobilize influencers, fans, and insiders to spread the word about your cause or organization. This one tip makes it simple and effective. Plus, receive other free and cheap marketing ideas for your nonprofit or social enterprise.

Kristi Porter, founder at www.signify.solutions

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.


6 Easy Marketing Tactics You Should Steal Right Now

We're wrapping up "Marketing May" here on the blog! So far, we've covered trends and strategies, marketing 101, marketing plans, and daily marketing implementation. Whew—that's a lot! Even if you started with very little understanding of marketing, you should feel a lot more confident now, and also feel more prepared to add some intentionality into your organization's marketing and communications efforts. 

Today, I'm going to take it one more step further and give you six easy marketing tactics that you should steal right now. These are pulled directly from the playbooks of your peers and organizations that we all admire. 

6 Easy Marketing Tactics You Should Steal Right Now

Okay, so stealing may sound a little dramatic. If you prefer, substitute the more flattering word emulate. The truth is, there are proven strategies and techniques that organizations like yours should be implementing—immediately. By doing so, you're setting your cause up for greater attention and success.

Don't believe me? Just check these guys out! They all have a very loyal base of followers, fans, and supporters.

And though I have categorized them into nonprofits and social enterprises, the general ideas will work for everyone!

NONPROFITS

Atlanta Dream Center reaches the lost, rescues those in need, and restores the brokenhearted through their three primary ministries: iAM (the homeless), Out of Darkness (trafficked and prostituted women), and Metro Kidz (at-risk children). 

What you should steal: Every time they rescue a woman or have ministry win, they share it on social media. It gives their supporters an opportunity to celebrate with them, see real-time updates, and for volunteers and donors, a chance to see their contribution at work. They also provide recaps and larger figures in their direct mail and newsletters.

IF:Gathering exists to gather, equip, and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose.

What you should steal: They do a fantastic job of showcasing their event as it is happening through social media. It's surprising to me, but many organizations don't seem to promote their event in action, only before and sometimes after. IF utilizes quotes, video, and photos through their social media that make you really want to be there. They also mobilize and empower their audience with their hashtag and a photo booth. While events are certainly not easy to pull off, they are a very simple way to get people interested in, and excited about, your cause. 

Orange provides resources and events for church leaders and volunteers to maximize their influence on the faith and character of the next generation. 

What you should steal: They regularly use guest contributors for the Orange Leaders blog. This strategy allows for plenty of content that they don't have to create themselves. Additionally, the contributors promote their post once it is published, providing additional traffic to Orange's blog and social media.

SOCIAL ENTERPRISES

Lamon Luther creates expertly crafted furniture by employing the homeless, thereby giving them a hand up, not a hand out.

What you should steal: Many people in the Atlanta area know, and love, Lamon Luther. Their furniture is always in high demand, it seems. And though they primarily produce goods for individual homes, they have done a great job at building partnerships with other businesses to drive demand, expand their reputation, and of course, obtain larger orders.

Raven + Lily is an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering women through jobs by design.

What you should steal: Everyone loves free stuff, and Raven + Lily fans are no different! Sometimes they host their own giveaway with one or two of their stylish products, and sometimes they team up with other ethical brands for a huge grand prize. Either way, I've got to assume this steadily builds their email list and social media following.

Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses. For every pair purchased, a pair is distributed to someone in need.

What you should steal: They offer a fairly simple selection of eyeglasses and sunglasses, but they take advantage of holiday calendars in their marketing and make it work year-round. You'll find them reaching out to you via email or social media for back to school, summer, and even Christmas. They know holidays are on your mind, and they want a piece too.

Any other nonprofit or social enterprise marketing tactics that you recommend? Tell me what you've seen, or what's worked for you!

And if you find yourself short on time for new marketing efforts, here are five things you can stop doing this week that will free up some of your energy.



PIN THIS POST FOR LATER:

6 Easy Marketing Tactics You Should Steal Right Now From Nonprofits and Social Enterprises

Kristi Porter, founder at www.signify.solutions

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.