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A Lesson From Non-Profits

January 13, 2010 2 comments

When marketing non-profit brands, it’s important to remember to narrow the focus of your message. The most successful non-profit brands to try to make converts in one swoop—they just try to connect on one key issue. I was reminded of this as we prepared to launch a new division catering to the non-profit sector (please visit http://www.grace-npc.com).

Katya Andresen writes about this in her book “Robin Hood Marketing” (a great read for anyone working for non-profits). She points out that the goal isn’t getting people to buy you hook line and sinker, but rather to just get agreement on one thing to begin with.

This is a great lesson for the “for profit” sector. I’ve been consulting with a marketing services firm that is beginning to shift its focus into consulting. To acomplish this, they need to move one step at a time, getting buy-in from clients who see them as they were, not as they want to be.

Think of the effect this pitch: “We can help your company improve sales.” Pretty blah, pretty average, and not credible.

Now consider this: “Does your company ever have problems keeping customers happy?”

The answer has to be “yes”. Non-profits are masters at this technique. If not, they’re either lying, or they really don’t need your services. The key is that the question is a soft sell, a conversation starter, not a line in the sand. Sometimes a line in the sand is good, but for many products and services, it’s a turnoff.

What is the question you can ask your potential clients and customers that will bring them a step closer to you?