Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You arrive at work a little early on an ordinary Tuesday. But so does everybody. With such a small staff, you need all the time you can get to finish what’s on your plate for the day:
First: Get started on a blog post about that upcoming event in which you’ll play the role of staff evaluator (even though you’re brand new to the program and still have no idea how things work).
Second: Start learning how to code in HTML & CSS because your boss asked you to transform that ugly online bulletin board, which other employees so loosely refer to as a “website,” into a beautifully crafted donation-generating machine.
Then: Read up on email marketing best practices before the end of the day because you have no experience in it, and you’re about to send your organization’s inaugural e-newsletter out to a handful of senators, representatives, and millionaire philanthropists.
Hopefully at some point: You find the time to inhale lunch at your desk while you edit a grant and research new funding sources because somehow THE MONEY IS ALWAYS DISAPPEARING.
But you’re used to it. This kind of schedule isn’t anything unusual. It’s just another day in the life of a non-profit employee.
I know it for a fact. My first jobs in marketing were at a non-profit.
And I say “jobs” instead of “job” for a reason. Anyone who’s worked for a non-profit knows that your job description is merely a set of general guidelines, and what you do comes down to that very last, but most important bullet point that reads “Performs any other tasks as assigned by supervisor.”
Among other titles, while your technically a “Digital Marketing Intern,” you’re also a:
- Content marketing manager
- Social media marketer
- Web designer
- Email marketing manager
- Proposal writer/editor
But so is everyone else in your organization. In the 2015 Nonprofit Communications Trend Report (NCT Report), other non-profit marketing staff revealed the biggest challenges they face on a day-to-day basis:
- “There’s a lot of work to do marketing wise and it’s pretty much all on my shoulders.”
- “Too much to do, not enough time/resources to do it.”
- “Not having enough time to make a bigger and better difference through marketing and communications.”
- “Not having enough time or staff to reach the people we want to.”
- “I don’t have time to do it effectively, so I’m scared I will fall on my face.”
In total, 38% of all non-profits shared that same problem — lack of time to create quality content — ranking it as number one on their list of ones they face.
It’s not surprising in an industry that on average employs only 2.5 full-time marketing employees (and in my experience, even that’s high).
It’s also not surprising that non-profit workers continue to get the job done, despite all the challenges they face.
Hopefully when it comes to landing page creation, this article will make your job a little bit easier.
Why non-profits need to have great landing pages
According to the 2015 Nonprofit Benchmarks Study, 76% of NPO’s invested in some form of paid advertising – the most popular being text and display ads.
Do you know where prospects end up after clicking those ads?
You guessed it — a landing page.
Not only that, but the NCT Report revealed that NPO communications staff list their top three communication channels as follows:
2. Email marketing
3. Traditional social media
On every one of those channels, landing pages are necessary for success as well. Anytime you want to drive a prospect to action using any of those methods; you’ll need a landing page.
How to make your non-profit landing pages great
1. Share stories of real people impacted by your work
Testimonials have the ability to boost the conversion rate of any page. In mainstream marketing, the more your product or service impacts a customer, the more passionate they are about your business — and the more powerful a testimonial they can give.
Similarly, in non-profit marketing, the more your organization impacts an individual, the more powerful a testimonial they’re likely to deliver.
Luckily for you, testimonials from the people you serve are inherently more influential than most.
You see, these aren’t just individuals whose lives have been improved by a beauty product or a cleaning service. These are people who have escaped poverty, beaten cancer, and in this case, survived hunger because of your non-profit.
This portion of a landing page from Feeding America shows off some of those stories. They’re short paragraphs, but they’re real stories from real people with real pictures. The power of testimonials like these can’t be understated:
2. Inform people of how their money is spent
According to the 2015 NCT Report, donations are the number one thing non-profits ask for during their promotions.
If you’ve ever tried to solicit donations on behalf of your organization, you know that how the money is spent is a big concern to many donors — and rightfully so. Since you’re asking people to give their money for nothing in exchange, they want to make sure it’s going toward furthering the cause, and not into the pockets of some executive.
Your profile on sites like Charity Navigator gives the public an idea of your budget allocation (what percentage goes to research, program development, fundraising expenses, etc.). But if you’re smart, you’ll slap it right on your landing page for your potential donors to see, like on the right sidebar of this donation page for Care.org:
3. Keep it simple
If someone has arrived at your landing page, they have at least some idea of what they’re there to do. They’ve clicked your ad to sign up for email updates, or your sponsored post requesting donations — so let them know where and how to do it. Don’t overcomplicate things by using too much text or including too many CTAs on your landing page.
In a case study conducted by ArcStone, simplifying one non-profit’s landing page (along with some AdWords optimization) resulted in a 178% increase in conversions.
Take a look at the cluttered original:
What do I do here? Do I call? Do I fill out the form? Do I use the chat feature? What about that left sidebar menu? Where does “UNEMPLOYED? STRUGGLING TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE?” take me?
That’s already enough to overwhelm your prospect into abandoning your landing page.
Now compare it to the straightforward, optimized version:
There’s a number to call, a form to fill out, and the headline is informative. It’s no wonder there was such an increase in conversions.
4. Tell them the impact of their donation
What will donating $20 do for the people you serve? Will it provide a meal? Clean water? Maybe a roof to sleep under?
Knowing how their money is spent is different than knowing what it will provide for those in need. Explain what it is you can do with their donation, it will serve to put a tangible result on a monetary amount.
5 Ways to generate traffic for cheap
While charitable donations and spending are both up in 2015, most organizations recognize they take part in a delicate balancing act. Funding sources can disappear into thin air just as easily as expenses can appear out of nowhere.
In light of that, here are a few sustainable ways to generate traffic that won’t break the bank:
1. Host a Twitter chat
Host Twitter chats like St. Jude Research Hospital and the American Heart Association do. Be helpful and direct people to landing pages where they can sign up to receive more information about the content you’re discussing.
2. Create valuable resources for your audience
The Child Welfare Information Gateway allows people access to useful information about anything and everything that has to do with adoption. Some of their information are downloadable and some of it are only available in print. Either way, it's great content to offer on a landing page in exchange for your prospect’s personal information.
3. Start a free publication and drop it off in local, high-traffic areas
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital distributes a magazine called “Promise” on a regular basis. It’s filled with educational, inspirational, and newsworthy content. Start one of your own and drop it off in local coffee shops, or at spots you think your target audience would frequent. Fill it with CTAs to visit your landing pages for more information about particular topics.
4. Use MailChimp to start distributing a regular newsletter
And if you’re like the 19% of NPO communications employees who said their biggest challenge was integrating their promotional channels, you’ll be happy to know that Instapage integrates seamlessly with MailChimp and a lot of the software you already use.
5. Start offline support groups
Start a support group for people who have been through hardship. The American Cancer Society offers many all over the country for cancer patients, survivors, and the families of those it impacts. It’s a great way to establish your organization as an authority — making you the first stop for people in your group when they need further assistance with their issue.
How will you use landing pages going forward?
Landing pages are a crucial component of every non-profit organization’s marketing plan. Have you had success using them? What challenges are you facing?
If you have yet to see what they can do, create your first one free today! You can start from scratch, choose a template, or even upload your own customized template. Our flexible fully customizable landing page builder allows you the freedom to trick-out your page any way you like — so that you can receive maximum donations.