5 Strategies to Market Your Nonprofit Tech Solutions
5 Strategies to Market Your Nonprofit Tech Solutions
Business-to-business marketing already comes with its own unique set of challenges, and things only get more complicated when you consider the more niche strategies of business-to-nonprofit marketing. For example, we know that nonprofit professionals want to keep overhead expenses as low as possible, enabling them to dedicate as much of their funding toward their mission as possible.
This means that if you’ve created a technology solution for nonprofits, you have to truly make the case with targeted advertisements and traditional and digital marketing to justify the investment.
At DNL OmniMedia, we work with nonprofits to build the ideal tech stack to reach their fundraising and donor stewardship goals. We’re familiar with what draws these organizations to invest precious resources into a new platform. Additionally, we have extensive experience with the world of nonprofit marketing consulting— which means we’re uniquely positioned to provide advice to new nonprofit tech solutions looking to effectively market themselves to their ideal audience.
We’ve pulled together five strategies to market your winning technology solution to nonprofit professionals. This guide will explore the following:
- Identify your target audience.
- Talk to people in your audience.
- Blend traditional and digital marketing.
- Offer proof to your audience.
- Combine engaging copy and images.
The combination of the strength of your nonprofit tech solution and your marketing strategy will ensure that your team achieves its goals. Read on to learn how to strengthen your marketing tactics!
1. Identify your target audience.
Even the best-crafted, effective marketing copy won’t do you any good if it’s not reaching the right audience. Later in this guide, we’re going to discuss building a multichannel marketing strategy— and even that effective approach heavily relies on detailed customer profiles for true success.
To ensure you’re reaching the right people, begin by building out a profile of those who will be using your solution. Do so by asking the following questions:
- Who currently uses and gains value from my solution?
- Who faces challenges solved by my solution, and will benefit most from using it?
- Will I be more successful by targeting a specific age range, gender, or type of nonprofit professional?
Once you’ve examined to whom you’re marketing the product, you can plan the rest of your strategy based on this specific audience information. For example, are there communication preferences associated with your target audiences, such as younger professionals responding well to social media marketing? Or, are there periods where they’re less busy, such as a fundraising officer directly after the year-end giving season?
By gaining valuable insights into audience preferences, you can effectively craft your marketing materials by making them more appealing to the specific preferences held by your readers.
Additionally, to better understand and ultimately build a broader target audience, build a profile of your target nonprofit as well. Ask yourself the following:
- What size nonprofit is the solution best for?
- What budget is required for this solution?
- Does this solution work best for nonprofits with a specific mission (ex: religious, food banks, etc.)?
- What activities will this solution assist nonprofits with (ex: donation collection, donor management, etc.)? Are there certain nonprofits that would benefit more from these activities?
Once you’ve identified your audience, you can get specific with your solicitations. If you know which nonprofits your solution will work best for, you can actively search them out and market directly to them.
For example, you can research nonprofit strategy consulting firms that work with nonprofits in your target market. Then, you can approach these firms about starting a partnership in which they test your solution and recommend you as a trusted provider!
2. Talk to people in your audience.
Once you’ve determined who your target audience is, you can start building relationships between your team and that audience through specific and engaging marketing strategies.
Building a relationship with nonprofit professionals requires trust, which is often based on your own credibility. Before you can convince nonprofits to spend precious resources from their annual fund on your tech solution, you need them to understand that they can rely on your product and team.
How can you engage your nonprofit audience with strategies that build this trust? Consider the following:
- Attend nonprofit conferences. Considering the growing popularity of remote work and digital engagement, this could mean virtual conferences. According to this Web Courseworks guide, you’ll likely be hosting a virtual “booth” featuring digital collateral and potentially even live chat functionality. Invite virtual attendees to reach out to your organization to explore your solution.
- Call organizations in your target audience. If you encounter an interested organization, don’t simply email them or send them pre-recorded demonstrations. Call or video chat them! Give them a one-on-one walkthrough of your solution and answer any questions that arise.
- Make the most of product integrations. The nonprofit technology world is fairly tight-knit, and this is most evident in the valuable integrations built across platforms. If your solution integrates with another nonprofit tech, consider speaking with those providers to cross-promote the solutions to both of your audiences.
Talking to your audience is an impactful marketing tactic because it strengthens your solution’s reputation and credibility. Further, speaking with nonprofits in this way will build brand loyalty, and going forward these organizations might refer you to their peers in the nonprofit space.
3. Blend traditional and digital marketing.
While it may seem counterintuitive to use non-digital marketing channels to spread the word about your tech solution, don’t neglect the value of offline marketing. The best way to ensure you’re reaching and engaging with your target audience is a method that combines both digital and “old-fashioned” methods of marketing.
Your nonprofit clients likely use a combination of digital and traditional marketing tactics to reach their donors, and it’s with good reason.
Think of the digital/traditional marketing dichotomy as a funnel:
- The traditional aspects of your campaign draw in a wide variety of prospects at the top of your funnel.
- These offline techniques (such as direct mail) then drive potential customers toward your digital presence, such as your website, digital advertisements, social media accounts, or email marketing list.
- Online visitors are greeted with more information about your product and are encouraged to convert— doing so by submitting an inquiry through your online contact form.
So, how do you use offline and online tactics for the optimum result? Let’s explore a few tips:
- Target your audience where they are. Send promotional materials to the appropriate people and places, such as sending direct mailings to the nonprofit headquarters of the organizations in your target market or purchasing paid ads that target keywords your ideal customer is searching for.
- Cross-promote your efforts across channels. For example, share your website and email sign-up opportunities on your social media channels and print “learn more” links on any direct mailings.
- Interact with others in the nonprofit technology community. Discuss best practices, integrations, innovations in your industry and especially, areas where you can partner for a similar goal.
With these strategies, you’ll not only reach the right nonprofit professionals through the methods of communication they’re most likely to respond to, but you will also become a recognizable brand in the nonprofit space, proving to organizations that your solution is one they can rely on.
4. Offer proof to your audience.
Once you’ve identified your audience and the ideal methods of communication, it’s time to present your solution to these nonprofit professionals. We know that you’ll need the basic building blocks of a strong marketing strategy: a well-designed, functional and accessible website, informational and eye-catching product pages, and perhaps even demo videos of the most important features.
However, the cherry on top will be the proof that other nonprofits in your target audience trust your solution.
We know that there are many strong contenders in the world of nonprofit technology and that many of these solutions offer similar features. For example, consider this DNL OmniMedia comparison of two robust constituent relationship management systems: Blackbaud and Salesforce. While Blackbaud has long been a frontrunner in the nonprofit technology sector, Salesforce emerged with its own high-quality solution for nonprofits. This resulted in fierce competition, and satisfied users may be the deciding factor between the two.
A consistent history of satisfied nonprofit professionals that rely on your solution is what will make your solution stand out from the crowd. There are a few ways to display this proof:
- Case studies. These reports are usually three to four pages long and detail the experiences of a nonprofit that tried your solution and found success in it. They should discuss how the solution helped their specific organization, in what manner, and whether or not they continued using the product.
- Video testimonials. Video testimonials require more technical expertise, as you have to film and edit them to perfection. However, they’re an effective and engaging way to match a face to the customers of your solution. When nonprofits watch videos of their peers having success with your product, they can relate to and desire that experience for themselves.
- Blurbs. This is an incredibly easy way to highlight the top reviews of your solution, in a one or two-sentence quote from satisfied users. Scatter these quotation blurbs around your website for constant reminders of your solution’s impact.
One final (and perhaps even the most impactful) way to provide proof of product to your target audience is to simply ask happy users to spread the word. There are a few ways to go about securing this testimony. For example:
- Simply ask! Reach out to past customers and ask them to write a quick review on a review site (like Yelp or Google) and detail their experience.
- Offer nonprofits in your target marketing the opportunity to secure a free trial or discounted price, with the stipulation that they write an unbiased review after doing so.
If you do this and receive multiple bad reviews in return, it’s not a sign that you need to improve your marketing strategy— it’s a sign that it’s time to work out any kinks in your solution. While this vulnerability may be nerve-wracking, remember: the worst-case scenario is that you discover areas for improvement!
5. Combine engaging copy and images.
You could have the best product in the world, but if your marketing materials are sub-par, your audience is simply going to overlook it. When it comes to copy and images, it all comes down to legibility and spacing.
The three most important items that should be included in all of your promotional materials are:
- Your solution’s name in an eye-catching logo. This needs to be prominently displayed anywhere that you market your solution. This strategy increases your name recognition and makes potential customers aware of your product.
- Easy to read captions and bullet points. Your marketing materials need to be easy to read in terms of vocabulary and appearance. Both online and off, people value legibility and coherency over buzzwords and jargon. In addition to the right words, make sure those words are legible to your audience. If your font is too small to read on a screen or poster, then potential customers will ignore it.
- Images displaying your product and what it does. An image is truly worth a thousand words. Displaying the interface of your product as well as your product in action will make your copy more engaging.
While experienced marketers naturally put these ideas into practice, identifying the concepts you should be including helps you be more intentional in your design strategies.
Nonprofit professionals want to keep their overhead as low as possible, so if they’re investing in a new tech solution, they need to be sure that it’s a worthwhile cost.
With these marketing strategies, you’ll make a strong case for your nonprofit tech solution, proving to organizations that they need your technology. Good luck!