Good websites attract supporters – that’s how you know they’re good! Supporters take an interest in your site, visit regularly, take part in discussions, offer help with your projects online or in real life and buy your products or services.
More than that, enthusiastic followers spread the word about your organisation online and in real life. This is known to be the most effective form of marketing!
But, you may object, we’re not that sort of group … we don’t do marketing.
The Case for Marketing
Yes, I would be the first to make the case against marketing. I get countless phone calls that interrupt my work every week.
But consider this: if you are seeking supporters for your group, you are marketing. So, you need to understand online marketing.
So, what is the case for marketing? Hmmm … The Case for Good Marketing … it is
- based on trust – there is trust when you buy something from a street trader, at least until it falls apart! If you are trusted, your customers come back.
- for mutual benefit – usually I pay money in exchange for your goods, we both benefit because what we receive is more valuable to us than what we give away. But exchanges do not have to involve money – if you want people to volunteer for your group, how will they benefit?
- about providing a product or service your customers are seeking. They might not know they are seeking it but when they see it they can see how it benefits them. Your product will sell if it meets a real need.
- generous because generosity is central to marketing. You will find lots of free information on this site because I know you’ll return if you find it helpful. I also hope you will trust me and buy my services. You don’t have to do anything for me if you don’t want to but you’re here and you’re welcome.
- educational because you need to show how your offer will benefit potential customers and if they learn something, that is an immediate benefit. Some people believe education and marketing are pretty much the same thing!
When we use the analogy of the marketplace, we forget what markets used to be. They were a meeting place, somewhere information could be exchanged, a place for debate. In ancient times you might have had a bath, a meal, found out the latest news and perhaps taken part in the local court or voted for a political candidate.
Big businesses have taken all this away from us by selling through corporate chains and mass advertising. What we call the marketplace has become depersonalised.
The Internet is changing this and it can be more like old marketplaces than the commerce of 20 years ago. OK, you can’t have a bath on the Internet but you can order a take-away!
Why You Need Supporters Online.
Depersonalisation is still common online. Large servers support large companies, eg Facebook, Google or Amazon, that accumulate vast quantities of information about our shopping habits and use it to outperform their opposition. The way to counter this is by building support online.
If you have a good site, with plenty of high quality content, your supporters will do your marketing for you. You can find many ways to attract supporters and manage them online. They will use social media and word of mouth to recommend you or your site.
Consider this: if your site does not help you find, support and build relationships with supporters, then what exactly is it for?
How can I put this? I am not interested in your mission statement! I don’t want to know about your nice community day in the country. In a vague way I’m pleased you have both but really, I’m not interested!
What interests me is me. I want to know what you can offer me and whether we can do business. We all the know the feeling when we find a website and …
- ok, I can see you’re lovely people and I really want to get involved but WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO!!!
- wow I can see a big red button that says ‘Press me for more information’ – BUT I HAVEN’T GOT A CLUE WHAT YOU’RE ON ABOUT!!!
- I hope you enjoyed your Christmas but it was 6 months ago … DO YOU PEOPLE STILL EXIST?
Yes, I know capitals mean shouting but have you never shouted at websites that do this sort of thing? The main thing is to make sure your site is informative, up-to-date and clear about what you want your supporters to do.
I’ll tell you what, would you like me to take a look at your website? It’ll be a rough and ready report about how good it is at attracting visitors and encouraging them to become supporters.
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