Innovation is one of the first things on the chopping block during tough financial times. Understandable, especially if organizations are being asked to fund something that’s risky. But innovation has a partner up there with its neck also extended, which is marketing, I’m very sorry to note.
What many people don’t realize is that marketing is necessary for keeping your organization afloat, no matter what your organization is. John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing fame says, “Every business is a marketing business.” That goes the same for nonprofits, because you’re constantly trying to stay in front of the people who believe in your cause.
And what is a website if not one of the cheapest forms of marketing out there?
“The Internet is the cheapest and most successful form of marketing around,” says Micah Sachs, Director of Web Strategy at InterfaithFamily.com, who I interviewed for an article that will appear in an issue of The Forward next month. He’s been using bargain basement web marketing to great effect. Namely, he’s instituted a few changes in SEO (search engine optimization) and Google Adwords.
After InterfaithFamily gave itself a modest marketing makeover about a year ago, its traffic immediately increased 63 percent. It’s seen a steady increase, and Sachs said that up through June 2008, he never saw less than a 40 percent increase.
Here are a few of the easy steps he followed to boost his traffic:
- Give each page a unique title
- Create URLs that match the article titles
- Add article keywords on web pages
At first, it required a significant time investment, and he company brought in an intern who spent about 40 hours per week for 10 weeks writing in descriptions, adding keywords and generally optimizing the site’s old articles.
“But now it’s part of our culture,” he says. “Any time we create anything new on the site, we don’t even think of something as additional work. We create keywords, create title tags. It’s just a part of what we do.”
Once your organization has figured out a system for creating these three main changes, an increase in web visibility should come naturally and simply.
“This is all stuff that’s simple and straightforward,” he says. “It’s amazing how many sites of major orgs aren’t search-engine optimized. It will cost them no money; they just have to ask their webmaster to make some changes.”