Consistent Messaging Across Channels: The Crawl, Walk, Run Method to Consolidated Marketing

Lu Esposito

Facebook, website, direct mail, blogs, Twitter, etc. There are so many different ways to communicate with your supporters now, but how can you make sure all of those channels are integrated? Lu Esposito shares some simple, easy steps to make sure your marketing channels are all in sync.  ~Kivi

Guest Post by Lu Esposito of the American Red Cross

Let’s face it, most of us working in the non-profit sector in 2012 have a ton of competing priorities, and this mystery of ‘consolidated marketing’ can seem a bit daunting – just another thing to add to your gazillion to-do items.

Consolidating your marketing program does not have to be rocket science. You can take a simple, methodical approach, tailored to your organization and your available resources, to realize significant growth in awareness and donations. You can even manage it without adding another 50 items to your immediate to-do list.

You may be asking why you would need to consolidate your marketing program. It’s really simple:

Consistency + Repetition = Reach and Frequency = Return on Investment

Seeing the possibilities, you may want to attempt incorporating website, email, blogging, and every social media known to man into your marketing plan all at once. What I am proposing is that you build a consolidated program one step at a time.

Get the Basics Done First: There are two very important tools that you should ensure you have in your toolbox before you get started.

  1. Your value statement – this is your message to your community of the value you bring. It is the most important thing on your plate, and ultimately must be consistent across all channels. That is the real secret to consolidating your plan. Consistency.
  2. Your marketing plan and calendar – these are basic must haves and may currently be driven by your direct mail strategy. That’s okay. You can run with that. Either way, just make sure that:
  • Your plan consistently finds ways to communicate your value to your audience
  • With each campaign, the message is consistent in tone
  • Your core mission is always the reason and the message behind every campaign

Prioritize: With so many competing priorities, you have to prioritize. I’ll point to Kivi’s Communications Trends Study as an example of priorities, but the key here is to identify your own. However, if you take the priorities of the average survey respondent, a communicator might:

  1. Ensure the mission and core value statements are in line with their website messaging and direct mail campaigns. Another way to consolidate these two programs is by updating the news or graphics on the web to coordinate with mail in-home dates.
  2. Create an email strategy and calendar that coordinates the messages in the email with the direct mail and website messages for those same time frames. Ensure your tone and timing with emails are fitting for your audience, and use a system that allows you to track activity.
  3. Pull the same value messages into events and person to person contacts. Create collateral for fundraising activities that accurately communicate your values and impact in the same tone and with the same timing as priorities 1 and 2.
  4. Begin adding social media channels to the mix. Blog, tweet and post to Facebook the same key messages, include any direct mail or seasonal campaign messaging.  NOTE: When it comes to social media, listening and responding is often the most important part. So, don’t take on these channels without the intent and ability to monitor it and respond to follower / constituent needs.

Start Crawling: Now that you have set your priorities and are certain of the value you bring to your community, you can make the strategic decision of how long you will take to complete the goal of consolidation. Each organization will be different. Some may be fortunate and have the staff to do it all at once. If you are a one person staff, I strongly encourage you to take at least 12 months to fully consolidate your marketing.  Take your time. You do not have to rush. Otherwise, you may sacrifice quality for quantity and that is just not what is best for your brand. And be sure to take the time along the way to track your success, and see that the time and thought you put into the program, did result in a return.

(Another very important note, Kivi’s Communications Trends Study showed that more than 50% of you don’t have a formal written plan. I can’t state scientifically the exact ROI of a written plan, but I can tell you from experience that by adding a marketing plan to the fundraising repertoire could increase giving by more than 20%.)

Lu Esposito, Digital Engagement Associate for the American Red Cross, recently began this new role with the Red Cross as part of a restructuring that is reshaping the 130 year old organization, to be poised for success in the future. Prior to the change, Lu served as the Communications and Marketing Director with the Triangle Red Cross, and worked with nearly every channel known to marketing. You can follow her on Twitter @luesposito.

Author: Kristina Leroux, Community Engagement Manager

I am the Community Engagement Manager at Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com.

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