Get the Word Out (any way you can)

Multi-Channel marketing is a fancy word for using more than one medium to send a message. Social media, newspapers, TV, email, and snail mail are all “channels”. Nonprofit organizations are very familiar with multi-channel marketing but I’ve never heard it called that. Most often, we call it “getting the word out” and we are experts at using any and every method we can to reach people (a challenge that’s critical to any nonprofit, whether you’re reaching donors, clients, or volunteers). As a small organization, Xico has to weigh the cost (money and time!) and benefits of each marketing channel very carefully. This subject is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, because we’re working on a mailing campaign in the office right now. This list covers my thoughts on the most effect marketing strategies used at Xico:

1. Social Media- Social media is beloved by nonprofits because it doesn’t cost money, but many don’t realize how much time it costs. Xico uses Facebook, Twitter, and well, this blog, posting at least once per day. We also spend a lot of time researching how to use social media (one of my favorite sources for info isMashable.com). Since social media is more informal than most media channels, volunteers, interns, and stakeholders should be encouraged (strongly, and frequently encouraged) to add their own content.

2. Direct Mail- Experts have been predicting the end of direct mail ever since the invention of the internet. I wish! Mailings cost a lot of both money and time, and they’re not the most exciting activity either.  Here’s why we’re still using snail mail- businesses. We use postcards, invitations, and letters to target corporate sponsorship because they’re still seen as more professional than digital communication.

3. Email- My favorite marketing tool is Vertical Response- an email marketing service that allows me (the technologically illiterate) to create appropriately artsy emails and send them to thousands of people. Best of all, a lot of Vertical Response services are free for nonprofits. Email is great for a few reasons: everyone has an email address, it’s delivered personally to someone, and it allows a lot of freedom to combine pictures, text, and multimedia in ways that get your message across most effectively. Just remember to follow anit-SPAM guidelines!

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