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Not-for-profit marketing: the value of advertising online

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Remember when you first developed your website? Just like email, your website has revolutionised the way you promote your not-for-profit’s events and services to members and the wider community. Search engine optimisation can only take you so far and to reach highly engaged individuals searching for vital information, it’s important for your not-for-profit to be advertising in the right places.

But what are the benefits of advertising online?

Timely promotion and flexibility

The immediacy of online advertising ensures that new campaigns can be introduced to the market very quickly. There is also design flexibility so web adverts can be eye catching and alternate between different banners. This also allows you to test different messages in short periods of time to see what is most effective.

Tracking capabilities

The best thing about online advertising is its ability to track the performance of your campaigns. Through using online advertising your company has the ability to track every single click and every single user to see if they end up becoming customers. It is worthwhile downloading Google Analytics – it’s free and will allow you to track the pathway visitors are taking to your site and their movements within your site. Are your online ads generating traffic? Which sites referring visitors to your site? Google Analytics can help give you the answers.

Cost effective

Banner advertisements offer great value due to low production costs. If you have advertised before then you know that just one advertisement may not have the phones ringing hot, so think about what your aims are and perhaps look at booking a series of advertisements and combining this with strategically placed editorial content. Most websites have packages available and these should offer the best value and exposure over varied periods of time.

High volume

The sheer volume of visitors to websites means that by advertising you are highly visible to many new readers and potential leads. Most websites offer site visitors a free subscription to their e-newsletter which is often sent weekly or fortnightly to thousands of subscribers. By signing up these e-newsletter subscribers have demonstrated a high-level of engagement so advertising in e-newsletters is highly coveted and tends to be a more exclusive and expensive online advertising option.

Test the market

Advertising online is a great way to cost-effectively test if a particular market is a good fit for your not-for-profit. If you have a well-designed online advertisement and you are advertising on the right industry website then you should get some decent traffic – and those all important leads.

Buy in bulk and save

If you are taking out multiple advertisements then you should be rewarded with a discount, but also ask about securing some editorial coverage to maximise your impact.

Highly targeted

Visitors to websites are usually looking for information to help them do their job better, so they are highly engaged. Every person who views your advertisement is a prospective customer and you need to convey instantly that your product or service is what they need.

Larger geographical audience

Being seen on a website that is connected to your target market is a great way to ensure you are reaching an overseas audience that may not be familiar with your not-for-profit but might have a strong connection to your cause.

Just online, all online?

So, you’re a convert – you have decided your not-for-profit needs to start advertising online. But what about direct mail and meeting in person?

The good news is that online advertising is the perfect complement to your other marketing efforts. Online advertising is rarely enough on its own but by combining it with print and event participation in a strategically planned campaign, your not-for-profit will receive maximum industry coverage and make a significant impact.

Writing your advertisement

Perhaps you have tried online advertising and you didn’t get the great results you expected? Be warned: the advertisement you run in your print campaigns will not be suitable for online.

If you use the same sort of advertisement you are unlikely to get the traffic you deserve. For best results you should make an offer and be instructive (find out, how to, click here). Through the use of ‘active words’ (for example: order, reduce, choose, use, apply) you can entice people to click your advertisement and learn more about your offer/product/company.

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