Marketing is a complex beast. Throw in the intricacies of the nonprofit world and you have a recipe that can quickly result in chaos. Because time and resources are at a premium, having a clear understanding of your marketing roadmap and, more importantly, the customer journey is essential to executing a successful campaign.

Where many nonprofits go astray is in assuming that their message alone can carry the weight of the organization. While it comprises a large portion of the marketing strategy, that piece alone will fall short without the proper supporting cast. 

Creating a Roadmap = More Than Just Point A to B

Chances are you heard the word “roadmap” and immediately thought of a direct line that leads from vision to success. First and foremost, there are no direct lines in marketing. Even the best laid marketing strategy will have twists and turns that need to be accounted for if you are to achieve your overall goals.

For the time being, we will assume that you have a good handle on your mission statement, or your “why.” In the most simple terms, this is what makes your organization tick, and why people should care about your cause.

Beyond that there are three areas of focus that must be attended to when mapping your customer journey.

Who is Your Audience?

For most of history, nonprofit organizations operated within a tiny bubble. While there were a handful of larger organizations that spanned the country or the globe, the vast majority of nonprofits were localized, and their marketing reflected that fact.

While you are still likely to have a local audience, social media has opened the doors for even the smallest nonprofits to have a global digital footprint. Because of this, it pays to know who your audience is on a granular level.

The more detailed that you can become, the more adept you will become at approaching the various groups that make up your audience.

Start with demographic data and build buyer personas. These profiles act as a guide to help you decipher which messages will resonate with a specific type of buyer. An important thing to note is that you can have a variety of personas within each target audience and your message should be adjusted accordingly.

Where Will Your Audience See Your Message?

As previously mentioned, social media has been a game changer for marketers, but posting frivolously will chew through time and resources like a puppy with a shoe fetish. When creating a strategy around a variety of platforms, keep the following in mind.

1. How you will deliver your message is important. Video killed the radio star, and it dominates on most social media platforms. That being said, It doesn’t have to be professional or super expensive. Keep it authentic and to the point for the best results.

2. Plan on engagement. If you are posting to social media, don’t ignore those messages (DMs); they will help you build trust and will play into the platform’s algorithm to give you better exposure.

3. A/B test like crazy. Each persona will act differently to specific messages. Someone that is analytical will like to see hard numbers on where your organization is spending donation money. Others simply want to know that they are making a difference, also known as the “feel goods.”

4. Follow the data. Test the water, but follow Hansel and Gretel’s lead and track those breadcrumbs. Nuggets of data will help you understand which messages are working and when you should pivot. Remember, that you can’t measure what you don’t track.

How Will You Convert Them to Your Cause?

You didn’t get this far into this article without expecting us to cover how to transform that prospect into a donor/customer. That is likely why you clicked on the link. You have a goal to reach and want the inside scoop on how to achieve it: that’s what nonprofit marketing is all about.

Our best advice is to keep it simple and be a storyteller. Think back to memorable nonprofit marketing, like the ASPCA commercials ingrained in your memory along with “I will remember you,” by Sarah McLachlan. That story pulls at your heartstrings because most people want to help suffering animals. This is a perfect example of their organization telling a story without actually saying a word and having a clear understanding of their “why.”

Dig deep and fill your marketing content with the same type of message. If you are helping inner city youth, don’t just tell people that you are helping inner city youth. Tell them why, why they should care, and how they can get involved.

Follow up each message with a call to action. CTAs can take on a variety of forms, among which should be a big shiny “Donate NOW” button on your website or Facebook page. If your message resonates, leave no doubt about what their next step should be, then make it as easy as possible for them to contribute.

Turning Customers Into Evangelists/Advocates

Once you have moved a prospect from your audience to your customer base, the next step is to get that person fully on the bandwagon. Don’t get us wrong, one time donations are great, but what if that person became more than just a random donor? 

From a marketing perspective, these individuals should fall into their own separate category. The message should be more personal, and there is a good chance you will see a much higher level of engagement.

Newsletters and regular updates are a great way to keep donors engaged well after the initial pledge. Think of each touch point as an investment into creating an army of advocates that will help you spread your message far and wide.

Mapping Your Customer Journey

You don’t have to be Magellan, out there mapping uncharted territory alone. There are numerous resources available to help you get started. The most important thing to remember is that no two nonprofits are exactly alike. While similarities might exist, you need to adjust your customer’s journey to fit your organization.

If you are struggling with creating your marketing roadmap, or getting a firm grasp on your customers journey, the Your Business Marketer team is ready to help you right the ship. We have extensive experience in helping nonprofits of all shapes and sizes and can help create a unique roadmap for your organization. Learn more about YBM and connect with our team today.