It’s the only thing that is certain. How we move, adapt, and transform through it all makes a difference. Recent disruptions in the marketing cycle require shifting gears and serious planning for the future; as markets tighten, attention spans drop, social media channels proliferate, and generational values and behaviors evolve, now is the time to consider some pivots.

Content fuels growth

From video to copywriting, the right content is a game changer for organizations and businesses of any size. Getting started requires just a few steps:

  • Listen: Do you know what your communities need and want from you? What are the stories that connect them to your mission, the information that empowers them, and the impact that excites them – these are just some of the questions to ask and answer when planning your content strategy for the year ahead.
  • Plan: Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to plan development, so set a date, pull your relevant stakeholders together and start. To make it easier, look at quarters and think about the results you want to realize through your efforts in each channel. Set clear goals for the end of each quarter and analyze your efforts to optimize your planning for the future.
  • Produce: Maximizing your content requires forward-thinking, from video to copywriting; consider all the formats you need and develop a pre-production checklist. Consider things like the 8-second rule for attention spans and the intended outcome. For example, is your fundraising video formatted for reels? How many should you create to maintain awareness throughout a campaign? Are you integrating email as part of it?
  • Deploy: Content creation and sharing is an ongoing process that can be significantly improved by knowing when to connect with audiences and, most importantly, where. Live in spaces they gather, and you’ll gain valuable insight into their relationship with your organization and content. More insight leads to greater success.
  • Keep going: Try implementing new ideas and make space for them in your calendar. We understand that capacity is an ongoing challenge for many organizations, but there are always opportunities to fuel the future when you begin to see the impact of your efforts.

Don’t call it a comeback

We predict that traditional media like billboards, transit advertising, and print will see increased attention and drive deeper engagement this year as audiences fracture across social platforms and are fatigued by screens. More tangible forms of communication with broader audiences are proven for high-level reach and brand awareness.

The disruption of communities from isolation means there’s a real appetite for experiential media. Of course, that doesn’t mean digital will disappear, but the time is right to consider diversifying and integrating some breakthrough tactics to gain a market share.  Hint: Add a QR code to dedicated landing pages to measure traffic.

Is your brand on brand?

It’s easy to put your brand on autopilot with everything going on; in a performance-driven market that consumes massive amounts of content daily, fast results can distract from long-term messaging and branding. Brand exploration is a smart investment for sustainable success. Revisiting some basics, such as defining who you are, what you do, and why you do it, will help differentiate your mission and every other aspect of your business.

What’s all this about “omnichannel”

Simply put, it’s about living your values to create a consistently seamless, high-quality experience across every touch point of your organization – it’s the best way (and often most challenging to achieve) to build brand loyalty and advocacy for the services you provide. To get started, here are a few steps to consider:

  • Understand your audience: surveys, social media, and ongoing market research can turn insight into engagement when adequately integrated.
  • Connect your channels: Follow customers through every step of their journey at each touchpoint—do journey mapping to understand how customers move through relevant stages.
  • Maintain each channel: Omnichannel strategies require ongoing attention —test and improve the strategy along each channel and always ensure that customers have the best possible experience at each step.

Since 1941, HarrisonRand has been helping clients fuel the future with an approach that marries experience and expertise. Today, we remain focused on advancing organizational growth across various industries and channels by providing content development, strategic planning, and media buying.

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The Untapped Power of Regional Marketing

If you’re a regional business with a distinct footprint, you’re in luck! The power of digital geo-targeting and social strategy have made it easier (and more cost-effective) than ever before to engage your markets, grow your brand, drive awareness of events and build communities.

So what have we learned from being a regional business for almost 80 years? Change is the constant in every business today! Here in Jersey City, the fastest growing city in the state, our markets are shifting so rapidly that our team is constantly analyzing how changes are shaping the landscape for our clients and the business community at large. Identifying these trends early on helps us build informed and proactive strategic plans to get our clients where they want to be before the competition.

In our last blog, we covered strategic planning. Here are some additional areas of focus to consider in order to make a sustained impact in your unique market. Remember, marketing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon!

Know your Numbers
It may seem obvious, but consumers today are more empowered than ever and you need to always put them first. Understanding the value of your business and the services it provides through the eyes of your customer is the first step in charting your future. Find out key answers to critical questions regarding levels of satisfaction, preferred methods of communication and thoughts regarding referrals to help open pathways of communication that can supercharge your marketing efforts. Anonymous online surveys and more in-depth research are valuable investments to ensure your marketing efforts are aligned with your audience’s expectations. The resulting analytics, if integrated properly into your marketing mix, will help reduce costs and increase profits.

Personalize your Content
A one size fits all approach to branding and marketing may work for national seeking to influence through market saturation, but does that approach work when you have a limited budget and specific audiences in mind? As the state and county’s landscape continues to evolve it will be critical for organizations to adapt accordingly and embrace change at the most individual level for the specific user in order to meet them where they are. Consider cultural differences, languages spoken, gender and socio-economic factors when developing your outreach methods for each group. Cultivating a brand personality that is flexible and consistently informed by your unique audiences will lead to brand “stickiness” for meaningful, long term engagement.

The Impact of Influence
We often equate the term “influencer” with global stars such as Beyoncé or “The Rock”, but at the local level, the term takes on another significance and can make a real difference in how your business, mission or event is perceived and embraced. Today, the press, local elected officials, entrepreneurs and consumers can all have a dramatic effect on brand awareness.
For example, the City of Jersey City got a significant “shout out” on Z100 from radio personality Carla Marie during our “Make It Yours” campaign which helped drive significant awareness of all the city had to offer. Similar strategies have been deployed for local initiatives such as the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce’s #HudsonGives fundraising event which we helped launch by harnessing the power of community with Social Media influence and word of mouth. Simply put, Influencer Marketing is really all about working your network and clearly communicating your goals and objectives through a consistent and clear message. To start, take a look at your most engaged board members, fans and clients and ask them to help get the word out!

Think and Act Globally
Global thinking on a local level has been a hallmark of our approach to marketing from the very beginning. To some, this may seem like an obvious one, but often times it takes more than merely working in a specific area and understanding the market through analytics to really move the needle. Understanding markets from the inside out takes an investment of time and energy that goes far beyond strategic plans and data. The rubber really meets the road when you get out there to sponsor local events, build partnerships with like-minded businesses and network like crazy. Investing in your unique community is one of the true strengths of regional businesses and particularly unique to Hudson County.

The pace of business, particularly as generational and cultural shifts occur here in Hudson County can provide incredible opportunities for organizations capable of unlocking the power of community on the most local level. Keep thinking strategically about your marketing plans by truly listening to your audiences to better connect with them today and in the future.

5 Steps For Strategic Planning

For organizations with full plates, the thought of strategic planning might seem overwhelming. Although many corporate teams know that it is an essential part of the work, it is often pushed to the bottom of the To-Do List. The truth is, the process can actually be fairly easy!

In essence, a good strategic plan identifies the best route for an organization to advance its mission.  An ongoing commitment to data analysis and research forms the foundation of the strategic plan as a multi-step process that provides a clear picture of what the organization wants to achieve in the context of its market. Here are a few steps to take to ensure that every marketing dollar is spent wisely toward achieving your unique goals.

1. SWOT 
Looking at the various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the organization allows you to see where you are today and how you are perceived by external stakeholders. Begin by reviewing the organization’s environment – political, technical, social, economic, or all of the above – and consider all the various driving forces such as changing demographics and increasing competition that can impact success.

Email blasts, social media and email surveys, Google and social analytics allow organizations to gain a firm understanding of audience perceptions and behavior which can significantly help to advance the process of planning. Insights gained through data analysis can help uncover so much more than you ever knew (or assumed!) about the how, when and why of your engagement with markets. Applying this data to research of overall market trends, regional shifts and industry competition will ensure better outreach and help to identify channels to be amplified or improved.

After thorough analysis you will gain more detailed insight regarding your audience’s behavior and mindset as you begin to craft messaging, content and a holistic plan which integrates the most compelling characteristics of your market. The key here is to consider the most effective ways to maximize engagement and to keep your brand “top of mind” across a diverse array of channels through content which literally speaks to audience expectations, perceptions and needs.

A clear and well defined content strategy can ensure your organization develops solid relationships with a large network and establishes relationships within your industry. Think about your brand “pillars” (mission, values, purpose, positioning) and how these attributes are impacting your community in a measurable way. Tell your story and share information in unique ways that create meaningful and positive engagements. Analyzing which content performed best will help guide you in your efforts to create more of what truly resonates with your target market.

Developing a plan in many regards is the easy part; the more challenging aspect will be the implementation. However, it can be achieved successfully. Sharing of the vision and a team approach which clearly articulates the expectations, responsibilities and key objectives to each and every member of your organization will accelerate the realization of the plan. By identifying both your baseline (where you are now) and your benchmarks (where you want to be), everyone involved will have the opportunity to share in the success as the plan evolves and benchmarks are met.

There is no one perfect model in the strategic planning process. Many times the idea of “doing it wrong” can hold organizations back from starting at all. Know that you can customize your approach for your specific organization to suit your current situation and company culture. Just get started and see what a difference the process makes!

Engaging Donor Base

Engage your audience. Empower your organization.

As an agency focused on social good, we help clients everyday develop strategies to inspire action, nurture fundraising efforts, deepen engagement and foster education. Through the power of targeted digital platforms we are able to build relationships and connect communities like never before. For our clients, this combination of content and channel has proven both successful, as well as cost effective.

Due to our increased exposure to content, competition for attention and calls to action. Engaging donors and raising the necessary funds for mission-driven organizations is more challenging than ever before. With so many important causes out there and such little time, many organizations are challenged to meet their goals.

The good news is that relationships with donors can begin at any time. From personal interactions to digital strategies, every message from your organization is an important opportunity to educate your community as to why your organization exists, the various needs it serves and problems it solves.

To help take some of the guesswork out of the marketing equation and boost your engagement efforts, we’ve compiled a list of ways to help ensure increased donor support.

1. Get personal

In today’s hectic, often impersonal, digital 24 hour cycle, nothing can make an impact like taking the time to call a donor to ask for support or write a thank you note for a donation no matter the size. Simply stating how the organization benefited from a gift and how impactful another donation can be will help your most important donors feel appreciated and needed.

2. Use all your platforms

Receiving a personalized note can create a significant spark in donor engagement and retention, in addition to using social media to effectively share content which helps educate your audience regarding your value and impact. Identify areas which serve as your core values by using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to demonstrate your expertise and commitment to making a difference in the communities you serve.

3. Stay Consistent

From personalized emails and handwritten notes to social media posts, be sure you stay consistent with your message and frequency. Develop a schedule and stay on track to cultivate those valuable relationships and remain top of mind. Failing to send acknowledgements or falling behind on follow-ups can have a negative impact of your organization’s reputation and perception. Your donors expect to hear from you, so stay consistent. Similarly, avoid contacting your donors too frequently as you may run the risk of alienating them. 

4. Share stories

Everyone loves a good story and they are remembered more often than facts alone. One of the best ways to encourage a response from donors is to connect by making them feel emotionally attached and responsible for positive outcomes. Donors are more likely to make sacrifices for causes they believe in, so be sure to share how far your organization has come thanks to their generous donations. 

5. Utilize smart technology

There’s no doubt that technology is changing the way we live, but it is also significantly changing the way we give. By implementing online donation software, tracking email data, as well as click-through rates, and engaging on social media platforms, you can take control of your organization’s future by amplifying all the good work that you do!

The 10 Best Reasons to Use Instagram to Build Your Business

Once a trendy teen hangout, last year Instagram reached a new milestone of one billion users and has surpassed Facebook in advertising revenue . As a marketing hotspot, the cost-effective channel offers huge potential for businesses seeking to connect with target audiences, reach new customers and grow their brand with engaging content. According to a recent study, 77% of the U.S. population has a social media profile and active users spend more than five years of their lives on social media which breaks down to 8 months on Instagram alone. Here are our top 10 reasons to love Instagram.
1. You Could Easily Dominate Your Niche

With so many small businesses and organizations on Facebook, it can be difficult to cut through the clutter and stand out among the competition. Many small businesses are differentiating themselves with Instagram. According to a recent study by small biz trends, 52% of US small businesses are using Instagram. If you’re part of the 48% not using the network you could seriously be lagging your competitors when it comes to marketing your services.
2. Instagram Stories has 200 Million Plus Daily Active Users

When the company launched its Instagram Stories features, it was lapped up by users, quickly reaching 200 million daily active users. Using Instagram Stories helps small business convey messages that are too lengthy to be confined to just one photo. Furthermore, the Stories feature allows you to add links to direct followers to your website, blogs or other social media handles.
3. Instagram Nurtures More Engagement than Facebook

Community building is an inherent aspect of social media and Instagram, in particular, enables businesses to cultivate audiences around trending content. If you’re looking for optimum engagement with customers, you’ll be interested to know that Instagram has 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook.
4. Millions of Photos and Videos are Added to Instagram Daily

Did you know that 95 million photos and videos are uploaded each day onto Instagram? Consequently, if you’re not adding your brand’s images and videos to Instagram regularly, you’re very likely to fall behind your more social media savvy competitors.
5. Facebook has Plateaued

The percentage of adults that marketers can reach on Instagram without paid ads has grown by 115% since 2012 whereas Facebook has declined by 63%. As a channel, Instagram offers greater growth potential than Facebook, but utilizing both channels creates a robust synergy for all marketing initiatives.
6. Instagram Users “Like” More Than 4.2 Billion Posts per Day

An announcement by Instagram in 2019 showed that users like 4.2 billion posts daily. If you’re not posting on Instagram, your products and services simply won’t be among the billions liked every day.
7. Hashtags on Instagram are 70% Brand Specific

Hashtags are a marketing force to be reckoned with on Instagram. For example #JCMakeItYours has been used approximately 160,000! If your business isn’t already using them, now’s the time to start getting #hashtaghappy!
8. Instagram Encourages Regular Engagement with Brands

Not only is brand engagement on Instagram prolific but it’s consistent, with 68% of Instagram users engaging with brands almost daily. This compares to 32% of Facebook users who engage with brands on a regular basis.
9. There are Millions of Google Searches Made for Instagram

Want to be found more easily on Google? Statistics show there are 16,600,000 Google searches for ‘Instagram’ per month, meaning simply signing up to Instagram could help your business get found online more easily.
10. Half of Instagram Users Follow a Business

Another Instagram statistic no business can afford to ignore — 50 percent of Instagrammers follow a business!
A well thought out social strategy integrating Instagram will provide a platform for your business to connect your unique content with communities, customers and clients. By adding a face to your brand, your visual feed helps to define your unique brand to help you stand out from the competition.

Influencer Marketing Now

When it comes to digital strategies, one term that you’ll hear again and again is influencer marketing. Sometimes referred to as influence marketing, it’s often thought of as the secret sauce to brand success, yet many aren’t sure what it is exactly or why it matters. To understand the ins and outs of this trend, we’ve put together a list of everything you need to know.

Influencer Marketing Overview

Many marketers confuse celebrity endorsements with influencer marketing. Real influencers are experts, figures of authority, and thought leaders. Although some celebrities definitely fit into that category, that’s not what influencer marketing is about. Celebrities are more often about fame, while influencers and thought leaders are all about knowledge, experience and authenticity. This approach is really all about harnessing word-of-mouth endorsements by someone in your niche or industry to talk about your brand.

Why Influencers Are Significant

You may be wondering if integrating an industry influencer into your marketing strategy is right for you. Begin by looking at your current audiences and target audiences to understand what messaging matters to them, where and how they are spending their time online and invest your resources accordingly. The trend toward mobile, social strategies has steadily been on the rise for years and influencer marketing will likely continue to be a part of that momentum.

Today, audiences demand to be informed, engaged and moved by the organizations they support and brands they love and in response, organizations and brands are competing for the best customers often with limited bandwidth and/or resources. For that reason, social media influencers should be seriously considered to drive traffic to events, raise awareness of causes and bring new eyes to your content. When influencers understand their audiences they can practically guarantee high levels of engagement at often scalable pricing.

Building Trust One Influencer at a Time

Research shows that reviews matter to the extent that have become an integral component of Google’s online search algorithm, with organizations, brands and establishments of all kinds ranked accordingly. The value of trust and authenticity is an important aspect to influencer marketing due to its strong effect on audiences to legitimize your mission in a unique way.

Locating Your Perfect Influencer

A solid influencer is typically one that is very active on social media, has high levels of engagement and almost always generates their own traffic through content such as blogs, vlogs, podcasts, or a mix of everything. Relevant content cultivates followers, validates their authority and builds trust.

With a fairly good understanding of what your ideal influencer is, the next step is to find one! As you may have guessed, any social media platform is a great place to start. You can begin by looking to see if your brand has been mentioned by doing a simple audit. Explore what hashtags are being used. What topics are being discussed? Once you have found your ideal influencer, follow them and engage with them. From there, ask to offer them a product sample or propose content for a feature. Remember to slowly build a relationship with influencers before simply asking for them to try your product or become familiar with your brand. That will come, but with time.

Making Influencer Marketing Work for You

Although influencer marketing is still fairly new, hopefully this quick guide helped to clear up any questions you may have had on the subject. As you begin to integrate influencer thinking into your overall marketing mix consider the story you want your influencer to tell about your brand or mission, why its important and the value it brings to the community. The best results are often a result of equal parts careful planning, tough questions, a collaborative spirit and a mutually beneficial partnership.

The Top 6 Marketing Trends For 2018

For regional brands and businesses with limited resources in a congested and competitive landscape such as Hudson County, marketing today can be an overwhelming and often confusing subject which is made even more so by the massive changes we see in the growing and mobile forward audience moving into the region and tech innovations which offer increasingly specific targeting capabilities. The question we hear often in regard to strategy pertains to channel selection and measurement beyond clicks and traffic. The truth is, there’s not one solution that works for all organizations and their respective goals. Careful observation and analysis of performance along with data will go a long way toward determining ROI to create sustainable and effective marketing plans.

2018 is going to be another exciting year for new and innovative ways to reach consumers and increase brand awareness. We’ve done all the research and chosen the top 6 of what we believe to be the most effective and relevant trends for the coming year in Hudson County to engage your audiences and grow your business.

1. Video Marketing

It’s no secret we’re big fans of video and have been since 2010. Over the past 7 years, we’ve seen a steady rise in its popularity and from our perspective it remains the most influential form of digital content for businesses today and if done right, can have a very positive impact on your bottom line. As our attention spans decrease, marketers are heavily relying more and more on creating video content to boost search engine rankings, increase engagement and website traffic rates.

According to a recent report, Mobile video ad spend will grow 49% to roughly $18 billion in 2018, while non-mobile video ad spend is expected to fall 1.5% to $15 billion. For the first time, we can expect to see a decline of video consumption on laptops — while video views on phones and tablets are expected to grow by 25%. The average viewer is expected to watch 36 minutes of online video per day on a mobile device, as opposed to half as much — roughly 19 minutes — on a computer.

2. Targeted Ads

We love options. Who doesn’t? It makes sense to approach digital marketing with the same mindset. Audiences already have minimal attention spans and get served so many, often irrelevant, one size fits all, ads on a daily basis, so why not offer different versions to different audiences to appeal to different tastes? For example, try switching up the creative, messaging or goals in mind. This approach will help you better understand which ads are performing best. Careful tracking and analysis provide valuable insight into your audience’s tastes and preferences to be integrated into a sustainable digital plan.

3. Influencers

Influencer marketing is one of the newer entrants onto the list and one of the fastest growing. Typically, influencers have been celebrities who are compensated to promote products and services to their social media followers. When it comes to social influencing, to be considered a celebrity, one has to have over 1 million followers. People with 500k–1 million followers and 100k–500k followers fall into the macro influencer and middle influencer categories, respectively. Micro influencers are generally average folks who have between 1k–100k followers and innovative regional brands are connecting with these individuals because they’re more relatable and relevant to the community. Studies today suggest that 82% of consumers are highly likely to explore a recommendation made by a micro-influencer.

4. Generation Z

Entrepreneurial, tech-savvy, driven by cause and mobile-minded, Generation Z also known as the iGeneration, Post-Millennials, or the Homeland Generation are people who were born in the late 1990s to mid-2000s. Building relationships with this new market can have a profound long-term impact on your business as they prepare to enter the workforce and become more active consumers. Appeal to their global outlook, desire to change the world and sense of edge and you have the potential to connect with an influential audience.

5. LinkedIn

LinkedIn, often overlooked in the sexy world of the newer platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, continues to offer a high quality and evolving channel for B2B marketers. This strategy pertains to a large and growing sector of Hudson County and deserves a dedicated approach.

Over 90% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is the most effective platform for lead generation. If you’re in the market for new customers, LinkedIn should be the first place to look in 2018. Connecting with a potential client on LinkedIn increases the chances of them buying from you by 50%.

6. Interactivity

Over the past year, we’ve had a lot of fun exploring interactive e-marketing and planning for 2018. Email marketing offers a low or no cost, trackable, scalable channel that’s yours to grow, so why not explore how to engage your audiences with new and different content? It’s time to take a serious look at email, if you’ve been sending the same emails repeatedly, you can’t expect to get different results. Interactive emails will improve engagement with your subscribers and provide a wide spectrum of analytics which you can build on. Why not try enhancing your plan with strong design and minimal copy, compelling calls to action, real-time surveys, videos or animation?

Moving into 2018 it’s clear that new approaches are required to stay competitive as the pace of life increases due to the abundance of technological innovations and maturing of digital marketing. These are just some of the ideas and trends driving engagement today, but the only way to know if they’re right for you is to just do it and pay close attention to what happens next!

Good luck!

3 Trends to Watch in Nonprofit Marketing

There are more than 2,500 nonprofit organizations in Hudson County doing amazing work every day to enrich our communities and elevate the quality of life for all. Each has a unique history, mission and audience of donors and participants and each has unique challenges as trends in marketing continue to shift, technology becomes more advanced and donor behavior changes. With that in mind, it has become increasingly important for organizations to be proactive and focused on developing strategic plans that integrate these factors to maximize engagement in new ways to amplify your message and tell your unique story to donor bases and communities.

Tell Your Story

The growth of content marketing (video, blogs, and social media to name a few) continues to accelerate across all sectors. Nonprofits have a distinct advantage here due to their emphasis on mission and positive outcomes. This sense of purpose provides the necessary foundation for great storytelling – a critical component to an effective content marketing program. Over the past year, according to a recent nonprofit study, organizations have increased their focus on content marketing from 61% to 76%, only 26%, however, believe that their efforts are realizing an impact largely due to challenges such as staffing, budgets, planning and measurement.

Tip: To maximize efforts and minimize stress, develop a strategic plan and action calendar for creating, distributing, and measuring content and performance. Dedicate a team when possible to driving the initiative (consider board members or donors who might have valuable insight into outreach efforts and valuable messaging).

  • Develop a workflow plan that guides and schedules your content production, delivery and the various platforms you will use
  • Analyze and create donor personas and the content that resonates best with them
  • Focus on the how, what and whys of your approach to storytelling
  • Measure content engagement on different platforms (clicks, comments, sharing, traffic)

Think Video. Think Mobile.

As the undisputed champ of content marketing, video provides the most compelling and engaging experience for nonprofits to communicate their mission, tell their story and demonstrate the value of the organization’s work. Most importantly, it helps create an emotional connection with your supporters that can motivate them to take action.

According to one marketing study, 90% of users said that viewing a video about the organization impacted their decision process. At HarrisonRand, we’ve discovered that video implementation also aligns with successful fundraising efforts across multiple platforms.

After studying a number of high-performing fundraising pages, we discovered that the one consistent component of each was compelling video. Visual storytelling can be an effective way to connect supporters to your mission.

Tip: Compelling video content should be considered for events, websites and email as well as social marketing campaigns.  Also consider embedding a call to action within the video, to make sure viewers know what they can do. Remember, Hudson County is on the go! Make sure your communications are consistent, clear and responsively designed for mobility (keep your messaging brief and CTAs colorful, bold, and clean). Streamline the conversion process to keep your supporters engaged and improve your mobile strategy.

Make It Personal

The rise in content creation and online communication with audiences presents unique opportunities for nonprofits, but also often frustrating challenges for organizations to track, analyze and truly engage audiences in ways which best suits their preference. Nonprofits of all scales, from global to local initiatives are competing for audience’s attention so your mission’s ability to truly connect requires personalization.

Like all relationships, nonprofits can strengthen their connection with donors by effectively communicating in a way that’s meaningful and personalized for them. This requires a deep understanding of your supporters and how they like to be engaged.

Fortunately, as technology has improved, it has become cheaper and easier than ever to leverage the right resources that can help you learn more about your donors and deliver customized content to them, no matter their current engagement stage.

Tip: There are a number software solutions to better understand your donors. For example, with the right fundraising software, you can add intake questions to your checkout page to gather more information, such as interests and reasons for giving. You can then craft separate follow-up messages that are meaningful to your supporters and show that you care.

There are also many email automation software options available that you can use to analyze donors’ interactions on a broader scale and launch subsequent targeted email campaigns. And by feeding this application into a backend CRM (constituent relationship management) system, you can also effectively manage and track donor data in a single database. This will help you understand supporters’ giving habits, track trends, and identify opportunities for larger gifts.

In light of these emerging nonprofit marketing trends, it is time to think more strategically about your organization’s strategic planning in concert with communication methods. No doubt it will require time, effort, and patience, but the improved results will be well worth the investment. By taking the necessary steps to understand your supporters and how they prefer to be engaged, you can dramatically improve engagement and more effectively carry out your mission.

Anything in particular you’d like us to write about? We want to hear from you! Email your suggestions to

Tell your story. Build your brand. The 5 types of video you should be thinking about right now.

The first thing I did this morning was scroll through my Instagram feed – it’s like a shot of espresso and gives my brain a visual jolt to get it going. In my feed was a sponsored Kickstarter video for a product called “Gravity,” a weighted blanket that claims to provide a more restful sleep by activating pressure points throughout the body, it was nicely executed, well timed and engaging. When I clicked through to the landing page, the campaign had raised over $4.4 million. Welcome to the new marketing power of video.

Online video content has skyrocketed, making up 80% of all Internet traffic in 2017. Video increases conversion and engagement rates more than any other content and is the #1 way to capture the attention of your market. Good video will keep your audiences happy and visitors to your site will stay longer all while giving your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) a big boost due to Google’s higher ranking of sites with deeper engagement. So whether you’re a small or large business, start-up or not-for-profit thinking about video, you’ll want to consider all the places your content will be, who your audience is and what you want them to learn and do after watching it.

1. The Testimonial Video:

Innovative businesses like Amazon and Yelp! have transformed testimonials into powerful marketing tools that build communities around products and experiences. Testimonial videos have that same ability to convert by delivering compelling and authentic messaging about your brand in a more dynamic way. Preparation is the key to a quality outcome so think about who you’ll be featuring in your video and why. Also important to consider are feelings and thoughts you want your audience to take away from watching. Draft a series of questions, some serious and maybe some fun, that really explore the who, what, where and why of your business’ unique selling proposition.

2. The Storytelling Video:

This approach is similar to a testimonial, but is more focused on the sharing of a personal and transformative story, providing deeper insight into a brand experience and eliciting an emotional response from the audience. This type of approach is particularly effective in the healthcare and educational sectors which face tough competition and rely on patient or student outcomes to differentiate their organizations and provide proof of excellence. As in the testimonial video approach, making this strategy work best for your brand requires preparation and the selection of the right subjects to help tell your story.

3. The “About Us” Video:

I think it’s fair to say that reading bios and LinkedIn profiles is not one of the more exciting online activities. The reality is, much of this writing starts to sound the same after a while. So think about producing a unique video which allows your audience to “meet” your team in a different way. Short introductions, interesting, fun facts, a day at your business, all help your message to break through the noise and differentiate your brand personality by engaging with your audience in a warm, fun, new and different way.

4. The Virtual Reality Video

VR (Virtual Reality) is fast becoming THE marketing industry buzzword for sectors like Real Estate where tenants and buyers are often only presented with computer generated renderings of lobbies, apartments and amenities while the property is being constructed. A VR video tour is next level marketing for companies who wish to immerse their audiences in a total brand experience anywhere they choose.

5. The Facebook Live Video

One of the newest and hottest trends to hit the social video world is Facebook Live (and IG stories) and allows users to engage with brands and businesses in real time. The many benefits and applications of the “Live” sessions feature are still being explored online, but consider a live Q&A, tour, event or demo. Be sure to add a description of your content and invite engagement from your audience often. Experimenting with new and different approaches will keep your audiences coming back for more and help spread the word.

Simply put, we’re living in a dynamic age of change and video is leading the way as the king of content and dramatically reshaping the marketing landscape for businesses of every type and scale. Get into it and you’ll be richly rewarded.

Please let me know how it goes and what you’d like to see in our next post:

Thinking for Mobile – 5 Trends for 2017

For many of us, we start our days reaching for the mobile phone to turn off the alarm feature, read a notification about Trump’s latest tweet or check the weather or email. Mobile has now become a “hub,” enabling overall connectivity for consumers and opening doors to the internet-of-things, mobile payments, virtual reality and beyond.

By this year’s end, 75 percent of online content consumption will be mobile according to AdAge.  Still, many businesses, both large and small, are struggling with how to engage audiences to provide a richer, more unique mobile experience.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when moving into mobile and how thinking for mobile, can help focus your efforts.


#1 Mobile Mentality

When designing your banner ads, websites, Instagram posts and emails, think bold, clean and easy to read with a clear call to action. Hectic schedules and an on-the-go lifestyle combined with small touch screens present unique challenges when designing for the mobile experience. Keep clutter to a minimum.


#2 Mobile-Only Social

Since 80% of time spent on social media is mobile, marketers may want to make this their focus for 2017. Instagram and Snapchat are quickly growing and becoming important channels to consider to engage your mobile audience. Instagram, in particular, is providing many regional businesses with powerful features such as live streaming, in-app purchase and targeted advertising to enhance the mobile first experience.

TIP: Video advertising through Instagram has proven to be a valuable and cost-effective strategy to engage Hudson County target audiences.


#3 Video Wins

In the ongoing competition for attention, users and consumer behavior are transforming the ways in which brands are engaging audiences. As a result, social video is one of the key trends for mobility that is important to consider. YouTube reports that mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. Including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%.

TIP: Be sure to include sharing features when using video content and make sure to ask users to help spread your message.


#4 Geofencing on the Rise

All mobile devices feature location information through various network systems, by setting up geofencing businesses can engage mobile audiences within a defined geographic area. For regional events and trade shows geofencing has become an increasingly important strategy to target unique audiences.

TIP: Geofencing was used extensively and effectively in the Jersey City “Make It Yours” campaign to engage audiences at various mobile hubs throughout Brooklyn, NYC and Jersey City.

#5 Listen and Learn

Don’t forget to A/B test with your mobile messaging. When deploying in-app content through Facebook and Instagram, its recommended to run multiple campaigns with different creative and messaging to ensure that your efforts are as effective as possible and yielding the greatest ROI. Tracking performance and analytics can provide important clues to your audience’s behavior and where to take your marketing efforts moving forward to meet their needs. Listen to your audience and you’ll be richly rewarded.

The world of mobile is a complex, ever-changing landscape which is constantly evolving by aggregating important consumer data and insights. The result is a powerful marketing machine which is seamlessly adapting to user behavior by adding features and benefits to engage audiences in a deeper mobile brand experience. So whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a small business, embracing mobility can help supercharge your marketing efforts through the coming years.

Please let me know how it goes and what you’d like to see in our next post: