Steal This Marketing Plan

October 05, 2010

Posted in Marketing.

I’ve seen this online marketing approach used and re-used so many times, and with such success, that I figured I’d blow the cover off and give it away. If you’re selling something (e.g., your non-profit’s service or value proposition) then you need to:

1. Get the word out. Awareness is the first step down the path to action.

2. Persuade. You know, Build interest and desire among prospective customers, volunteers, and donors so they buy/volunteer/donate.

3. You need to get them to act. Take them all the way up to the checkout counter and let them do the rest. Make it incredible easy to do.

This is the high level approach to marketing – it’s based on the very simple AIDA funnel that defines the decision process as awareness, interest, desire, and action. Let’s stick with this very simple approach as you go ahead with the tactics.


How do you do all this?

That’s all rhetoric until you put some specific tactics to work. Let’s focus on very simple tactics that anyone can do right now.

Awareness: Blogging and Social Media

This doesn’t cost you anything but time. Fortunately, it can help you reach a targeted audience in a very specific way. Publish content to your blog and use your Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/other networks to push your content out. This helps you build awareness (because of the social media) and creates interest (because of your blog content).

Interest: Sign up for my Newsletter

If you got someone to read your blog article (not a huge feat, right?) then your next step is to get them to take some action. Either subscribe to your blog (so they keep seeing your content) or, even better – subscribe to your newsletter. An email newsletter is an inexpensive way to generate regular content that pushes out to your prospects. I like CampaignMonitor and MailChimp but there are tons of other great services too. Use the newsletter to provide value to your reader, not just promotional value for you. As your readers see your great newsletter and read your blog, your name is in their heads and your message is hitting them regularly. Will they want to do something?

Desire: Free Offers, Seminars, and Webinars

The prospect’s next step down the line should be slightly more invested (i.e., more time or more information they have to give up) but it should be worth it. Give something away. Maybe a free consultation or an invitation to a free seminar or webinar on a topic you choose.

This is the point where you can begin to shift (just a little) from altruistic, benevolent, generous expert to salesperson. Because it’s free and you want people to take you up on your offer, use this to provide more value. But don’t miss the opportunity to include some pitch for your own organization. A quick look at your own organization’s approach to the problem, or a case study from your own files should do the trick. Don’t forget to have your contact info or brochures readily available.

Action: Help Them Become a Customer/Volunteer/Donor

At the end of your presentation or other offer, the prospects should be ready to act. Don’t leave them in the cold. Give them a direct way to act – a registration form, volunteer sign-up sheet, or schedule a meeting. The worst thing you can do here is leave people hanging, only to let them fall away because they didn’t know what to do next.

Final Tip: Measure

How many visitors to your blog are subscribing to your feed or newsletter? How many newsletter subscribers open each issue, and do they take you up on your free offer? How many of those people actually follow through to become a customer? It’s natural to see drop-offs in each stage, but you should continually try new things and refine your approach in order to maximize the percentage of folks who go on to the next step.

Are you doing any or all of these? What kind of success have you seen?

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