Owning a non-profit business can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things an individual could ever do. But ownership is only one-third of the non-profit owning picture. As business owners quickly find out, ownership is actually the easy part. You see, a business owner knows that they have the ability to offer a service, and the fact that it’s a non-profit usually means they’re not in it for the money (Not all the time. But hey, that’s another article). There’s also the difficult part of actually running the business. But one aspect of business ownership that owners fail to tackle is branding. This is the ugly black eye of business that everyone sees, but nobody wants to acknowledge (usually because it means they don’t have the actual answer for such a complex problem). Well, here are 5 ways to effectively brand you non-profit, and not break the bank in the process.
Know your target group
Everyone. That’s who my business’s services are for and that’s who I’ll market them to. The non-profit owner who goes in with this mindset is in danger of generalizing their services to the point where no one will be interested. Clients and customers enjoy feeling special. They want to feel that they business they choose is specifically for them. As time goes, your target market can grow. But, for now, tighten your shot group.
Develop an effective branding plan
You are your business’s greatest spokesperson. Only you can express the excitement your non-profit business has while assisting its customers. But what happens when you aren’t around? Your logo, of course. Let’s use Batman for example (Yes, I know he isn’t real. At least that’s what they tell me). When Batman wasn’t around, the only way to put the Commissioner’s mind at ease, as well as contact a hero, was to flash the Bat Signal (His logo) in the night sky. Do your customers feel comfortable flashing your logo in their, or someone else’s time of need? Does your logo correlate strongly with your business services? If not, seek a trusted company that has a strong reputation of helping businesses build strong, lasting impressions in the public eye.
Advertising is one of the most important, yet very expensive aspects to running a business. Without advertising, your business fails. Not because your services were horrible, but nobody knew your business existed. People won’t magically realize that you’re in business. A good press release can do a world of good for you and your business, but that is a pretty expensive investment, or is it? In the conventional theory of press releases, this is a very expensive investment. But with the power of social media, your personal and business’s FaceBook page (You do have a FaceBook fan page for your business, don’t you?) can be an excellent forum for announcing the opening of your brand new business.
Build your online reputation
A strong online presence can go a very long way. Most potential customers will not even entertain the thought of seeking assistance from any business without a website. People love to research on their terms, and looking online for a business that can meet their needs allows them to do just that. Make sure your website has any and all information that a potential customer may want to research. Show the 3 W’s of what your business is about.
1. Who (The name of your business, and that you are a non-profit)
2. What (What services do you offer, and who can benefit from them.)
3. Where (Where is the organization located)
Your social media presence is just as important. It may be extremely difficult to juggle 3 to 4 different social media platforms at once. When starting out, try establishing your business on one platform. When you have a good following on that platform, choose another to grow your online presence. LinkedIn is one of the strongest forms of social media for businesses, start there. You can also link your Twitter account to your LinkedIn account, so you can actually have 2 for the price of 1. Ensure you add a clear, legible picture of your logo to all any and all of your social media platform profiles.
No time for being shy
Your non-profit business needs a face, someone with whom customers can make a connection between human and organization. Take plenty of pictures (in business or professional attire. No jailhouse poses, please) and add them to both your business website, and social media platforms. The time for being shy ended when you turned your dream into a legal reality. You can’t afford to keep your identity a secret, Bruce Wayne, it’s time for the world (or at least your customers) to know your Batman.