More Than Digital: Including Face-to-face Opportunities in Your Marketing Strategy

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Sometimes, you actually need to get off your ass, leave your screen(s) behind, and get out there to get to know your supporters. And you know what? Those efforts actually support your digital efforts and make them even stronger. While digital marketing is important, it can be easy to forget that some of the most effective marketing for your nonprofit can also take place face to face. Want to learn how literal face time can fit into your overall marketing strategy? Keep reading!

How Technology Impacts Marketing

As technology changes and we use more devices to work, study, and play, the ways nonprofits reach out to donors and supporters have changed as well. Most nonprofits now use what is referred to in marketing circles as “multichannel marketing.” They just don’t call it that. Here’s how it works. Multichannel marketing refers to reaching your audience through using different technology platforms, or channels. So, supporters may interact with your organization through:

  • Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Smart televisions
  • Wearable technology
  • Email

However, because most of us use multiple devices, you’ve gotta create a more seamless user experience. “Omnichannel marketing” refers to marketing tactics which provide consistent experiences and a singular message to users no matter what device they’re using. Compared to multichannel marketing, “…omnichannel marketing recognizes that customers engage with companies or brands in many different ways.” Let’s say someone is signing up for your organization’s newsletter. With good omnichannel marketing, they can begin the registration process on your website from their laptop, finish the process on their smartphone, and then receive an email confirmation.

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Omnichannel Marketing Includes Face-to-face Contact

You may not have heard these terms — and you may not like them — but you’ve totally seen this in action, right? You know this: whether we’re talking about shoes or earbuds, it is possible for you to read product reviews while standing in front of that product in a store.

  • Marketingspeak: Creating opportunities for you and your supporters to meet in person is an extension of omnichannel marketing.
  • Normalpeoplespeak: Your supporters can learn more about your organization by checking out your digital presence, and then interacting with staff, volunteers, or the communities your work serves.

When people refer to “channels,” they often think of digital. In-person events count as a channel as well. In fact, you can consider them to be the ultimate marketing channel! Think about how your supporters might like to engage. Can you host events where your supporters are able to meet your staff to learn more about what they do? Are they able to meet your clients, or see the work that your organization does up close?

Advantages of Omnichannel Marketing

For-profits have often lead the way in going from multichannel to omnichannel marketing. The nonprofit industry as a whole has been a little slower to the game. So, what exactly are the benefits of omnichannel marketing for nonprofits?

  • Complementary messaging. Often, different teams have different ideas in mind on how to pitch your work: the advocacy staff may emphasize a different message than the communications team, who might still emphasize a different aspect of your work than management. Omnichannel means the entire organization speaks with one voice and has a specific focus. The public will appreciate this consistency and will be better able to pick up on the message you’re giving.
  • Allowing supporters to get a closer look at your organization and its work. It is no secret that supporters, whether they’re donating money or time, want to know how your organization uses its resources. Hosting an event allows your organization to go beyond the platitudes used on digital channels and brings your message to life — literally!
  • Better supporter outreach. People love to feel that their contributions are helpful. They also want to feel that their ideas and opinions are heard. A big advantage of person-to-person marketing is that you can develop or grow relationships with your supporters. One of the most central goals of marketing is to provide customized experiences. Interacting with your supporters on a personal level means that you can communicate in ways that specifically appeal to any individual.

What Does Successful Omnichannel Marketing Look Like?

Successful marketing uses a blend of digital and in-person marketing strategies. As UK-based marketing and fundraising firm AppcoUK notes, “While other forms of marketing are often about a moment of persuasion, direct marketing goes one better by opening a channel for communication in the future.”

When your outreach is successful, the messaging is consistent on every channel, whether that be social media, email, your website, or in person. Staff members can repeat this message. Users are able to complete their experience on a variety of devices, picking right up from wherever they left off previously. Finally, you host events that support the messaging you’ve included in all your other channels.

These days, it’s not enough to just have a marketing presence across several channels. Your organization’s messaging must be cohesive, and the experience for a supporter or consumer must be seamless. Nonprofits must also begin to think beyond digital. Any organization should make a plan to engage its supporters face to face. Remember, it’s all about the supporter experience! This may seem challenging, but it’s absolutely achievable. If you want to know more about utilizing omnichannel marketing, or how to better engage your supporters in person, contact Twanna.