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We need to sell our products … and that’s okay

The language used by marketing and branding experts can be off-putting for people working in the not for profit sector. For example, it is unlikely that you will see a service having a conversation about ‘selling’ their ‘product’ to their ‘target market’.

The reality however is that not for profit organisations will have to focus more and more about how they communicate with their audience, which provides some great opportunities for services to get their message across.

Don’t try to market to everyone, because you can’t

Often in the sector we can be guilty of trying to market to the broadest audience possible, in the hope that it will give us more exposure. When it comes to getting your message it pays to be more specific, with better results achieved from marketing to a narrower target group.

For example, advertising a parenting group for newly arrived migrants is quite difficult, as you need to tailor your content to groups who may have differing needs and expectations. On the other hand narrowing your focus and marketing to parents from an Arabic speaking background narrows the focus, making it easier to develop materials which will engage the audience.

If you don’t know your audience, you should

Some of the questions which need to be answered if you wish to effectively get your message across to your audience are:

Simply put, the better you know your audience, the easier it is to get your message across to them.

If you don’t know what you want your message to be, neither will your audience

You need to be clear on the message you want to get across to your audience, or you’ll just confuse them. The simpler the message, the better.

Start small and focus on getting a few sentences together which quickly and easily define what your product, service or organisation. You can focus test this with your colleagues and members of your audience and refine it as required.

Be consistent, or even better, be consistently good

Often we encounter organisations or projects who have all the basics of their message and brand sorted out, however are let down by their failure to use these basics consistently. Simple things such as utilising organisational letterheads or using the same flyer template for a series of workshops can make a big difference.

Having a consistent brand and message is crucial as it helps your organisation establish its identity. If you keep changing its hard for your audience to identify your organisation and place their trust in you.

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