Some of the questions we most often hear from nonprofit clients about digital marketing, even larger nonprofits, concern SEO (search engine optimization):
- Do we really have to invest in SEO?
- Isn’t it too complicated for nonprofits to master?
- Can you really show a return on your investment (ROI)?
The mechanics of effective SEO are very complicated, but the overall theory isn’t complicated at all. Let me illustrate with an example.
Imagine for a minute that instead of leading a nonprofit organization, you are an executive at a grocery store chain. The grocery market is very competitive, and profit margins are tight, so you’d need to be doing everything possible to attract and capture customers, then guide their buying behavior toward your most profitable items.
So you design beautiful modern stores and stock the best products at a range of price points. You hire friendly staff ready to assist customers. You invest all of your resources into your products and services.
Then the landlord asks you what your plans are for the big marquee sign and for the signage on the building. You tell him you’re not going to invest in those, that people will find you on their own.
When you run sales or specials, you don’t bother advertising those, preferring to save that money.
And then when your inventory systems give you detailed data about purchasing patterns – products, times of day, day of the week, etc. – you don’t bother to optimize the store layout to put the most desired products in the most accessible locations.
How successful do you think your stores would be?
Signage, advertising, and store configuration are the bricks and mortar version of SEO. Yet despite the nonprofit “market” being as competitive as the grocery market, too many nonprofits don’t invest in these fundamental and proven marketing techniques. Are you one of them?
Next time, we’ll show you how – where to start, and how to be sure you don’t get lost in the technical jargon.
Pete Ellard, Director of Digital Services