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Marketing in the Third-Sector
Third-sector organisations differ from regular commercial companies in many ways, but when it comes to a successful marketing strategy, there are likely many more similarities than you might first think.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can market your third-sector organisation.
In the last forty years, third-sectors have woken up to the fact that they have to compete for donations, engagement, and general attention. As a result, the role of marketing in charitable, non-profit, and third-sector organisations has quickly caught up with commercial industries.
We are now in an era where a significant portion of the marketing we see or hear from day to day is not commercial, but instead trying to raise your awareness to a social, health, environmental, or political crisis.
Think about how many posters and adverts you see from the government promoting healthy living, or the number of charity appeal adverts exposing an issue that they need money and resources to deal with.
After all, we are all competing for a share of public attention, whether we are trying to make a profit or not. Whether you are a clothing brand, charity, or governmental body, we all have to compete with hundreds of different ‘rival’ groups for the attention of the same audience.
We can’t possibly go into all of the ins and outs of this subject in a short blog, but we can discuss a few tactics that you can employ to make sure you don’t fall behind in the race for the public’s attention.
Let’s start with how your third-sector comes across.
Creating an Identity – Branding
In the intensely competitive world of modern marketing, branding is more important than ever. No matter what industry you are in, an attractive, consistent, and ultimately recognisable image is vital for achieving any long-term goal.
To be clear, we are talking about visual brands here – your general ‘brand identity’ is something that comes much more naturally to a third-sector organisation. You have a clear cause and objective in mind, which is much more organic and attractive than the majority of commercial enterprises!
Consider charities like Amnesty International, or the governmental ‘THINK!’ road safety campaign – both of these have developed and maintained consistent and instantly recognisable branding. This gives immediate context to anything they do, helping their audience to recognise, understand, and engage with their message.
However, branding isn’t easy. We live in a fast-paced world, and if branding isn’t instantly impactful and evocative of what your organisation does, your message is unlikely to meet its full impact potential.
At Red Media, we offer a comprehensive branding service that will leave you fully equipped with all of the resources you need to establish a visual brand identity when spreading awareness for your organisation or cause.
From your logo, to the tone of voice in your copy, to various materials that you can use in print, we will tailor and design all the tools you need to make sure that you maintain a brand identity that accurately represents the values and goals of your third-sector organisation.
To learn more about our branding work, click here.
The Tools for the Job – Web Design
A good website is a crucial tool for almost every successful business and third-sector organisation around the world. It is becoming increasingly clear that for all industries outside of a very select few, a website is a fundamental part of your business that you cannot afford to operate without.
There are countless examples of businesses that never invested in their online presence, or did too little too late, and are now no longer trading. This is because moving online can help in a wide range of different objectives, and so long as one competitor has found a way to utilise their website effectively, everyone who is not will be at a significant disadvantage.
However, we have to build them with a specific goal in mind.
For example, a website like ASOS is designed for one purpose – to get you to buy clothing. To achieve this, they might have different sub-objectives, like showcasing the clothing attractively or encouraging you towards the buy button, but fundamentally, the goal is to sell products.
This is the approach your third-sector needs to take – you need to work out precisely what your goal is and get a website that helps to meet that target. Some of these goals could be –
- Educating about a particular cause or issue
- Encouraging visitors to donate for your cause
- To influence the opinions or behaviour of site visitors
Whatever the goal of your organisation might be, every element of the website needs to funnel visitors towards that objective. Visitors who do whatever you need from them are called conversions.
At Red Media, all of the websites we build are entirely bespoke with each individual client’s needs and objectives in mind. Our designers and developers will come up with a site that doesn’t just look ‘pretty’, but is finely crafted and tuned to be the perfect tool for your particular cause.
To read more about our approach to web design, click here.
Putting Yourself out There – Social Media & Digital Marketing
Regardless of the specifics of your third-sector enterprise, exposure is always going to be vital to achieving your objective. After all, no matter how brilliant your campaign is, or how effective your website might be, how are you supposed to spread awareness or collect donations if no one knows that you exist?
However, we appreciate that organisations who aren’t investing for profit to reinvest, your marketing budget is likely relatively limited. This isn’t always the case, but a few smaller or regional charities and campaigns won’t have the money for TV advertisements etc.
Social Media is one answer. We are in a potentially short-lived era of the internet where social media marketing is not only effective, but also affordable. Social media campaigns and advertising can make a significant impact for a relatively low amount of money, but we have to execute them in the right way.
For a start, the content has to be consistent. Not only do the images and copy themselves have to be recognisable and potent, as we mentioned in regards to branding, but the schedule of its release has to be regular.
There is no point in having an Instagram account that only posts one picture every six months – users will have no reason to follow or give it any attention through engagement.
The majority of third-sectors will have absolutely no problem when it comes to coming up with content that people are interested in and where you hold a significant advantage over a lot of commercial companies (after all, bleach companies and abattoirs aren’t very ‘instagrammable’…).
For example, all of the following are perfect for sharing on social media:
- Pictures from events your organisation has arranged or been involved in
- News articles covering your cause or related issues
- Promotional material highlighting problems or encouraging donations
However, having the content is only half the battle. We need to take the right approach in regards to posting it, and you can easily waste a large proportion of an advertising budget if it isn’t targeted correctly.
At Red Media we can take care of your entire social media campaign, making sure your posts are regular, cleverly promoted, and carry out constant engagement with followers as well as implementing various other activities to increase your following.
To learn more about our social media services, click here.
Social Media is just one online channel that you can use to command attention. There are various other accessible digital marketing techniques that you can employ to make sure that your organisation is being noticed.
Sending out branded emails to your mailing list encouraging them to read a message, donate to a cause, or to keep your audience aware of your ongoing work, can be another incredibly potent but cost-effective method of driving engagement.
We will be happy to run an email campaign for you, as well as monitoring its ongoing process and making the necessary adjustments to make sure your investment is reaching its full potential.
We will also make sure you stay on the right side of recent GDPR legislation which has put a few limitations on email campaigns. Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to some serious repercussions whether you are trying to make a profit or not!
To learn more about our email marketing campaigns, click here.
Our work in the Third Sector
Despite the differences in how third-sector and commercial enterprises operate, marketing is marketing. Drawing attention to your brand involves a lot of the same processes regardless of the specific aim of your particular organisation.
At Red Media, we have helped lots of third-sector clients to establish a strong brand while carrying out successful marketing campaigns across every available platform. From charities to governmental organisations.
Drumchapel Women’s Aid
One charity we worked with was Drumchapel Women’s Aid. They needed a website that had a number of functionalities which would allow vulnerable women to access the information they needed while keeping them safe. However, the design of the website also needed to give visitors a confidence that their organisation could help. Red Media worked closely with the client to tailor a site that fulfilled these objectives.
Take a look at our Drumchapel Women’s Aid project here.
We also worked with the Riverside Inverclyde regeneration project. This third-sector program involved a multi-faceted strategy which brought business, events, and investment to the area. We were involved in providing branding, digital marketing, print, and a number of other services that gave the Riverside Inverclyde the tools required to fulfil their objective as well as consistency throughout their marketing.
Take a look at our Riverside Inverclyde project here.
Offshore Wind Growth Partnership
One final example of work we have carried out in the third-sector is the website we designed for OWGP, a governmental body that was established to boost the offshore wind energy industry in the UK. This organisation served such a wide range of stakeholders across the supply chain in such a dynamic industry, but we managed to create a website that got across exactly what they do in an easily understandable way. Oh, and it is worth mentioning, we did all of that in a very short time scale!
If you run a third-sector organisation and want to know how we can help you to meet your unique objectives, the first step is for us to talk about it.
Get in touch with us today and let’s arrange a chat.