How to Control Marketing (That You Have No Control Over)

If you have no control over something, how do you make sure you have some sort of hold on it? Crazy—it sounds like inception.

While you don’t have the power to control what comes out of people’s mouths (or keyboards) about your organization, you can make sure you’re doing everything to ensure those words are positive.

Our friends at Business2Community recently posted a great article on Word of Mouth Marketing. Rosalyn Lemieux of B2C writes that the best return on investment comes from word of mouth marketing.

“It’s the difference of walking up to someone and saying, ‘Damn I’m good,’ or having a friend say it,” Lemieux wrote.

Which makes sense. Of course a person would logically trust somebody with whom they have an established relationship over a complete stranger.

This poses the question: as a nonprofit marketer, how can you control something that’s out of your control? While you may not have the final say on what your volunteers, staff, donors and board members are saying about your organization, you have the chance to positively influence them. Check out these three examples of how you can encourage positive word of mouth sharing.

Customer Service

We’re all in the customer service game, whether you like it or not. When somebody has a good experience, they’ll talk about it. Unfortunately they’ll do the same after a bad experience.

That’s why it’s so important to be running your nonprofit with the best operations. Thank your donors. Seriously. Be heartfelt and reach out to them. Check out Bloomerang’s $5 Donor Communications Experiment. If you don’t think that reaching out to every single donor is important, we’ve got some talking to do.

With that being said, thank your volunteers and staff, too. Overall, spread the LOVE. Ask for feedback from all of your constituents so that you can continue to improve and make those people happy when they’re talking about your organization to their friends and family.

Encourage Sharing

Not every organization can share photos or videos of their work because of the nature of their work. But many can be doing a better job at encouraging interaction.

Take photos of volunteers. Ask them if it’s okay for you to tag them online in the social realm. If a photo shows up in somebody’s newsfeed with your organization attached, it could spark conversation among friends that didn’t know about your organization or that the person was involved with your nonprofit.

Create a Campaign

Find the people who genuinely care about your cause by starting a campaign. Task people with talking about their experiences with an organization with their friends. Organic word of mouth is the best because it’s unsolicited and raw. But that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage people to talk and be just as effective.

Also, create a marketing campaign that involves social interaction. Have people use a designated hashtag and share their story with your community. Take it offline, too. Your organization can think of some small incentive to give people who can prove they’ve been simply talking about the organization.

The bottom line is this—when people truly care about your organization, it’s not hard to get them to talk about it. They just need to be reminded that it’s something you’d love for them to do so spread the word about spreading the word.


Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

July 2, 2015

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