So you have something you want to share with the world. Perhaps it’s an idea close to your heart, or a campaign for the benefit of your community, or perhaps it’s a project you’ve been working on for a while and are now ready to go public with. Your initial thoughts may be social media, print, radio, newspapers, articles in magazines etc. Then comes the … this is all going to cost a fortune both in monetary terms and time, both of limited supply in many businesses and most Not-for-profit organisations.
As a Not-for-profit organization, this was (and remains) an ongoing challenge faced by Youth Encounter. We certainly have the Point of Difference covered, being the only organization in New Zealand using dirt bikes to engage with at risk youth to unleash and release their potential, but that on its own is not enough.
So, what do we do that works and wont break the budget (assuming of course you have a marketing budget to start with!):-
● Arrange social get togethers of like-minded people. People loved to be part of a community. To have a place where they feel like they belong. So, for instance, if you're an organisation working with young children organise a regular activity for parents/caregivers to participate in. Make sure the purpose for the gatherings is very clear and adds value to those attending. At Youth Encounter we have regular Encounter Connect events which may take the form of a ride night or similar where like minded people come together. This is a great way to get your message across to a receptive audience.
● ‘Your network is your net-worth’ - by Guy Kawasaki is a well used quote but holds some weight. The backbone of almost all businesses/organisations in their initial days are referrals. Go to events, participate in competitions, attend get togethers organised by others and network, network, network. Genuinely think about how you can help them solve their problems, and all that good karma will come around! Yes, this takes time, but done effectively and consistently will pay huge dividends. At Youth Encounter we attend as many events as we can, we actively utilize Social Media and are passionate about what we do.
● Press it! Involve the press and media and ask them to cover your events, share the great work you do or awesome product you have created with them. Make their job easier by putting copy together for them, providing them with photos. This can easily be accommodated with a zero marketing budget. People seem to underestimate the impact that print has on people. When anything pertaining to your business shows up in print you catch the attention of large audiences quickly and cost effectively.
● Google Adwords whilst requiring a budget for businesses (still worth the output if targeted and focused campaigns are run and measured) can be free for Not-for-profit organisations. Whilst the initial registration and campaign set ups take time, this is a small price to pay for the passive returns that start to flow in. As someone who has gone down this road and experienced first hand the benefits I cannot encourage you enough to explore this marketing option.
Remember, having a low/non existent budget for marketing yourself doesn't mean you have to remain anonymous. By thinking a little out of the box and following conventional wisdom you can strike a balance between the two, and leave a lasting impression on the minds of others, which was the goal all along!
So don't wait, start jotting down the ideas coming to your head after reading this article and make an action plan to put them to test. All the best!
By Tracey Christian