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011 – How To Measure Your Non-Profit’s Marketing Success

Audio recording

In this episode David talks about how to measure your non-profit’s marketing success.

Some quick highlights:

  • How to measure success
  • What should you measure?
  • The 3 most important task metrics
  • How you can actually get this data?
  • Achieving metrics through SEO
  • What other tools can you use to measure success?
  • and more…
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Episode Transcription

You’ve put in the effort to attract, engage and satisfy your website audience, but how do you know if you’re making an impact?

You need to measure the success of your customer relationship journey.

In today’s episode, I’m talking about how to measure your non-profit’s marketing success.

What I’ve found is that non-profits often invest a lot of time and money into their websites only to find that they’re getting a high bounce rate, a high exit rate, and not enough returning visitors. When they don’t see the numbers where they want, they all too often, blindly change the website and then wait.

They wait for data to show up, usually 2-3 months later, and then they iterate again.

Does this sound familiar?

How to measure success

There are four things you need to have a clear understanding of:

  1. Who you want to target the website with?
  2. Why you are targeting them?
  3. What you are trying to accomplish?
  4. What are the results you want to achieve?

These are the four most important points of understand for marketers and non-profits communications staff alike.

I cannot tell you the number of organizations I have helped in through the early stages of redesigning their website, where they did not have the marketing materials ready to go to ensure a successful launch. Further to that, there are some who have really great logos but no brand guide or direction for them to follow.

The first thing is to understand the who.

I always tell my clients not to waste time building a website that nobody is going to use. You need to know your demographic, before you start building. In the business world, we refer to this as “your customer”. In the non-profit world, you can consider this your donor base, community members, volunteers, staff, and so on.

What should you measure?

  1. How many people accessed the content and how they exited the website?
  2. How many users accessed the site, found the content, and signed up for email notifications to read it?

Why are these numbers important?

If we don’t know these metrics, we cannot make change and we can’t measure our effectiveness. How many readers did you receive per article? Did you change the content, the design, or the overall experience based on how many people had access to it?

The 3 most important task metrics

Metrics for tasks are important for non-profits because they often have specific actions they want website visitors to take. Here are the 3 most typical:

  1. Did visitors learn anything useful that they didn’t know before they came in?
  2. Did visitors make a donation?
  3. Did visitors complete a lead capture form or fill out a survey that resulted in an actual contact?

Even though the overall marketing budget for non-profits is very small, the number of potential customers that pass through their doors is very high. So, we need to make the data and the experience measurable.

Without these three KPIs, we are not going to know if we are really achieving success in the non-profit world.

How can you actually get this data?

In order to get this information, you have to make sure that your website collects information from visitors and actually makes these metrics easy to identify and calculate.

There are different ways to do this, but the way I often suggest is to use Google Analytics and set up what they call Event Tracking. Imagine your goal is to increase the number of volunteers at your organization. You create a web form on the site, go out on social and start driving traffic to the call for volunteers page. A volunteer fills out the form, and that goes through to HR or Volunteer Services, or whatever department is handling the leads. With Google Analytics, you’ll only see the number of hits to the page. With their Event Tracking, you can see the number of submissions. You no longer need to rely on a person or department to give you the data, which could be prone to human error or technology error, if one is caught by a spam filter for example. You can see the number of submissions with a few easy clicks.

If you extrapolate that scenario to, say, donations for a large event, you can track the number of donations without having to ask the fundraising team, or run custom reports on your CRM or donation platform.

In addition, this will afford you the opportunity to do A/B testing and track separate event tracking for each option . So you can compare messaging, calls to actions (CTAs) and such.

As you could imagine, this type of data can be invaluable the next time there’s a similar type of request. You can refine over time the messaging that works under different circumstances and really showcase your expertise to create the impact your organization deserves.

To succeed, non-profits must, absolutely, measure this type of data.

Achieving metrics through SEO

What is SEO? In short, it’s Search Engine Optimization – making your website visible to search engines. If you want to know more about it, head back to episode 9 at wowdigital.com/009, I have an entire episode dedicated to SEO. I’ll include a link to that episode in the show notes for you.

SEO is the best way to track website success. You can use search analytics to understand what keywords people are using to find your site, and where they are coming from. This will then give you insight into what content resonates with your audience over time. So as you produce more articles, blogs, pages, etc, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

  • But what about all the data you have?
  • What about the investments you are making on social media and other digital channels?
  • What if you could learn how effective your site is right now?

Social media and other digital marketing tools can are be amazing platforms to learn what your current visitors and customers are saying about you.

We know from our own work at Wow Digital that over half of social traffic is happening on platforms that do not appear on Google Analytics.

There are more than a million different places people share content these days. Millions of conversations, whether good or bad, happen daily. On platforms like Facebook, you can create a lookalike audience and run messages against it.

For example, people searching terms on YouTube or Facebook might stumble on to your organizations business page, or a message in a group. There are some limited metrics that you can access in those platforms. Google is likely where most of your website traffic is coming from, but keep in mind that you can have SEO in other platforms too.

What other tools can you use to measure success?

Instead of focusing on where the bounce rate is, we need to start thinking about how a visitor arrives on the website.

Remember the advent of email marketing and email distribution list?

Suppose you have a free email distribution list from your donor base. As a recommendation, all of your email promotions should go to them (via their opt-in and first name only) because you should want your list to be accessible and read, thereby allowing you to see what those donors are responding to.

I also recommend sending one email to this list each quarter or during your major campaigns. By having a system setup properly, you can have on file the returning users who made a donation. This serves as a great data point for tracking follow-ups.

It is a little more complex than it is for individuals because non-profits must, by law, meet certain standards of disclosure when it comes to marketing and communications.

The best thing about digital analytics is that it’s something that you can easily access via mobile, tablet or desktop. Once you embrace digital analytic tools, you can begin measuring if you’re spending too much money or effort in a specific space. You can find the right data by asking yourself: What are the people who are visiting your website doing?

In conclusion

Non-profit marketers, communications staff, fundraisers, and digital teams should plan to measure success from day one. This will help you identify what’s working and what isn’t, as well as what changes should be made to the website, ad or social media campaign.

Using the same metrics for all of these channels will help you identify how you can increase your ROI. But don’t wait until you are struggling to break even before you take this step.

It’s important to understand where your site is starting to lose members and where it is gaining members. If you can figure this out early on, it will help you to avoid future problems.

Non-profit organizations will never become self-sustaining. All of us need to work to pay our bills and live lives. But it is up to each of us to decide how we will spend our time and resources.

While it can be difficult to figure out what non-profits are going to accomplish with your services, as an employee, volunteer, or contractor, and how best to help, there are some tools and analytics you can leverage to measure the impact you’re making at your organization.

Your non-profit or charity should use analytics to determine if it is making progress and giving its donors what they are asking for. The main reason to do this is because people give their time and money because of their personal experiences. If you aren’t giving donors the service they are expecting and talking to them with the right messaging, you are actually robbing them of the most valuable part of your cause.

I’d love to hear from you. How has analytics helped you and/or your organization? Head over to wowdigital.com/011 scroll down to the bottom, leave a comment and let me know. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and I’m looking forward to having you listen to the next ones that we’ve got coming up. If you’ve enjoyed this episode please leave feedback on iTunes or wherever you listen to this podcast, I’d love to hear your feedback and it would also help others find the show.

Be sure to check out the show notes for the episode, head over to wowdigital.com, click on podcast, and search for this episode number and you’ll find all the links, details, and other information that has been discussed in this episode.

Are there any other topics that you would like to hear about? Just send an email to [email protected]. Thanks for listening to the Non-profit Digital Success Podcast!

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