A good marketing strategy is key to getting the word out about all of the great resources and benefits available to members of your association. And the star of your strategy? It can (and should!) be your organization’s website.
Your association’s marketing strategy likely includes a handful of channels that you use to share your offerings and engage with current and potential members—social media, email marketing, events, webinars, and virtual events, SEO, maybe some ads, and…a website. All of those various channels can be made stronger and more effective with a great website serving as the hub of your marketing efforts, a place to send people from every other channel to learn more and join you.
In this post, we’ll walk you through four best practices for using your website to bolster a larger multi-channel marketing strategy. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
- Set clear goals for your website.
- Optimize your landing pages for conversions.
- Boost your site’s visibility.
- Connect your social media profiles to your site.
1. Set clear goals for your website.
Your website has the potential to help your organization’s marketing strategy thrive. But that does not necessarily happen right out of the box. Setting and working toward clear goals for your site over time can help you transform it into the marketing powerhouse that we all know it can be.
As you’re setting your goals, consider the SMART framework and make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Choose 1-3 specific goals where results can be measured after a predetermined time frame, that are within reach based on your team’s capacity and current website results, and that are connected to your association’s overarching goals.
Every association’s website objectives will be different, depending on your focus and organizational purpose , but some potential goals might include:
- Get 100 people to join your association this quarter
- Increase online donations by 15% this year
- Secure 400 event registrations before May
- Drive 10% more visitors to the website this month compared to last month
Starting with clear goals for your website can help you be more successful in building an effective marketing strategy. But, if your goals turn out loftier than you have the internal capacity or know-how to achieve, nonprofit web design company Cornershop Creative recommends you partner with a company that focuses on digital strategy to help you bridge the gap, refine your goals, and prepare your site to accomplish them.
2. Optimize your landing pages for conversions.
To make your website an effective hub for your marketing efforts and your member engagement strategy, it needs to be optimized for action. With your new goals in mind, take steps to work toward them and encourage action on key landing pages.
That work can include updating your content with your audience and what you’d like them to do on your site in mind. You can also make updates to improve the user experience on your site. This work can get more people to stick around, engage with, and act on your content.
These types of updates might include:
- Focusing on the action that you want visitors to take and making it as obvious and easy as possible to do
- Shortening and simplifying forms to make them easier to complete (and to increase the chances that visitors will actually do it)
- Decreasing load time to avoid frustration and site visitors abandoning a process (this is a common issue for tools like membership directories)
- Making the pages accessible so that everyone can use them as they’re intended
- Making the pages mobile-friendly to prevent frustration from those visiting from smaller screens
- Branding your pages so that they are clearly related to your organization to instill trust
- Running A/B tests to continually optimize the content and design elements on your most important pages
Ideally, you’d create a website that is fully optimized for conversions on every page that a visitor might land on. However, it’s more realistic to focus on a few really important pages that you can then funnel traffic to through your marketing strategy to meet your goals.
3. Boost your site’s visibility.
So your site is working toward goals and is optimized for conversions, but what good is that if no one is finding you? You can boost your website’s visibility in a variety of ways, but getting more of your target audience to click through to your website from other places around the web is a primary objective.
These methods and goals will typically be built into your marketing strategy and might include:
- Nonprofit search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. These include making both technical and content updates to improve your chances of ranking organically within search engine results pages and to make your website better for both bots and real people.
- Paid ads through the Google Ad Grant. According to Cornershop Creative’s guide to Google Grants for nonprofits, this grant helps you drive even more search traffic to your site with a free $10,000 monthly ads budget.
- A solid social media strategy. This includes consistently posting and using social media ads to send followers and other potential new members to your website from the places on the web where they’re already hanging out.
- An email marketing strategy. Your strategy should engage your recipients and convince non-members already interested enough to have given you their email address to click through to your website and eventually join your association.
However you decide to do it, a strategic plan to continually send new (and returning!) visitors to your website is a must if you want your website to be able to work its magic and help you meet your goals.
4. Connect your social media profiles to your site.
The best marketers know that to capture an audience, you go to them rather than expecting them to find you in a digital maze.
With that mindset, make sure you’re including social media links across your website so that visitors can see the platforms that you’re active on and choose to stay in touch if they’d like. Encourage social media visitors to like, comment on, and share your social media posts.
To take things one step further, you could use your current members and followers to spread the word to their personal networks. To incentivize this type of social sharing amongst members, you could:
- Gamify sharing with giveaways and shoutouts.
- Spotlight (and tag) individual members—a regular post like “Member of the Month” encourages that member to share the post with their family and friends.
- Create great content—no one wants to share a post that’s poorly written, boring, or irrelevant to their network.
You might already know the difference that awesome association management software can make for your staff. Your website has a similar opportunity to take your organization’s marketing strategy to the next level— expanding your current audience and meeting more of your organizational goals.
But that’s only possible if you take the time and effort to make it work for you! Following these four best practices will set you on the right path to a website that makes your organization’s wildest marketing dreams come true.
Now, you might be thinking, “All of that sounds wonderful, but who has the time?” Don’t give up on your website just yet! Partnering with the right nonprofit web design company can help take much of the website strategy work off your plate, giving you the time and space to focus on your mission and members while their team handles the rest.
Best of luck!