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Thread: Free Traditional Marketing Ideas

  1. #1

    Default Free Traditional Marketing Ideas

    I am currently working in a nonprofit organization and would like to increase our traffic via traditional marketing methods. However, I have realized that traditional marketing often times requires money and this is something we do not yet want to use for marketing. Any methods or ideas that we would be able to use to in order to do "free traditional marketing?"

  2. #2

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    Some publishers are receptive to barter agreements. You could offer them something like access to your member/customer list or a free trade show booth in exchange for a free ad with one or more of their magazines or websites, etc. The trick is that you have to offer the publisher something of value that can help them. I've been in the publishing business for 30 years and most of the companies that have approached me with barter agreements want a lot of free advertising in exchange for something that I don't need and really won't help my business. Find out what will really help the the publisher and then be willing to exchange that for some free advertising. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    I was one of the founders of a non profit organization. I am still on the board and have been since the association was founded 15 years ago. Affordable advertising is a problem for us as well and if you find a real answer let me know.

    We have tried print advertising. Actually until they folded up a year ago we had tied up with a magazine as the official magazine of our industry. They gave us a free full page ad in each issue that went to about 28k people and a page of what is new with the association. I saw almost zero results from the ad. We also paid for some ads in another publication but it was a small ad that cost us about $ 400.00 a month and I also so no results from that. I would suggest avoiding print advertising unless you can get something free. Some industry magazines will publish news from a non profit association for free. I am not sure it is worth the time to send in the PR.

    There are two leading trade shows in our industry that target slightly different markets. One gives us a free trade show booth in return for some advertising on our web site and our newsletters. Since our only cost is travel for our association executive director who mans the booth it is probably worth while but if we had to pay for the booth it would not be worth it. The other trade show doesn't seem interested in giving us anything for free and we can't justify 3K for a booth.

    We have three web sites. The main web site has been a good investment. We have redone the site 4 times. I did the first site back in 2004 using FrontPage, At the time we had about a dozen members. Later a friend redid it pretty reasonably using Dreamweaver, then an employee of one of the other directors redid it using Joomla and we just had a professional web designer redo it a month or two ago and do have one of the sharpest association web sites I have seen. Investing in a sharp web site when you can afford it is worth the money.

    We also have a forum connected to our site. It used to be pretty active and seems to be slowing a bit now. It is still a nice benefit and we use SMF for the software which is free so there is no cost to it.

    One of the other sites we have I just redid in WordPress and it was long overdue. It is basically a directory site where we list our members so people looking for that service can find someone. I have a listing on the site and get about 100 calls a year from it. It is one of the main things people join the association for. The third site is also a WordPress directory site and was created because finding supplies for this industry is very difficult. You can go a Google search and pull up almost nothing. We hoped that by listing the suppliers that some would end up joining the association as supplier members. Unfortunately although it is the best resource on the web for finding those materials it is currently coming up on page 5 of a Google search. Perhaps once it is not new it will come up higher.

    The only effort we have made using social media is a Facebook page. There has been little activity until lately but one of the directors is working to make it more active. I think we goofed on Facebook. One of our former members started several Facebook groups for our industry and they have been on fire. Probably 20-30 posts from people who are or would be members post on that group. Actually the guy who started those groups is a former member who is a bit sleazy. He stuck me for about 16K but that is neither here nor there. The board just authorized $ 150.00 a month for Facebook advertising to try and grow membership. I hear good things about Facebook advertising but it is too early to tell if it will pay off.

    We did also try some regional meetings which were ok but when we tried to get fancy with them they cost more than they were worth. We also tried some hospitality rooms at major trade shows. The suppliers showed up but the members didn't and they were a money loser. We have not done either in some time.

    This has been a long post but I tried to share what the non profit I have been involved with has done. I would say a good web site is the best thing and you can create a decent one for a very small investment. When you can afford it having a pro do one is probably worth the money. A forum may be worth while tied to your web site but starting some Facebook groups might be a very good option depending on what your non profit does. Just for the record I get nothing from the association except some publicity and exposure. The one I work with has been stuck at about 200 members for a long time and the board is trying hard to make it grow. If I think of anything else we tried I will post again. Hopefully something may be worthwhile.
    Ray Badger, Turbo Technologies, Inc.
    www.TurboTurf.com www.IceControlSprayers.com

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