You blinked and now January is gone. If like many people, you’d intended on having an impressive marketing plan for 2017 figured out by now but got distracted along the way, don’t worry, there’s still time! Marketing planning can seem overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be. By setting informed objectives, establishing metrics up front and getting the basic right, developing strategy becomes a quicker and easier process. Here’s our accelerated guide to developing your plan for 2017.

Learn from the past to look to the future.

Reflect on what worked and what didn’t work during the year and why. Establish your benchmarks such as your total donations, membership acquisition, subscribers and donor retention rate so you’ve got a solid base to work from when you come to define your objectives.

Using data sources such as google analytics will allow you to identify key trends from the past year, including the top months for traffic, conversions and sales. Your most popular services or products, where your traffic is coming from and which demographics are most likely to convert on your site are also important to consider.

Set realistic marketing goals, objectives and budgets.

Working to a defined set of objectives is crucial to keeping your organisation motivated and moving together in the right direction. Objectives should be realistic and measurable. As part of the process, ensure that you also consider how you will assess each objective.

The types of objectives you might set for 2017

  • A set percentage increase in your average conversion rate for donations on web
  • A set percentage increase in social media traffic to your website
  • An increase in your donor/member retention rate
  • Grow your database by a set number of people
  • Increase the average donation amount of your regular givers by a set amount

Be consistent in messaging and brand.

Central to all effective marketing, whether it be online or offline is a great brand. You could have great objectives, or a campaign that is highly effective at cutting through clutter, but without a great brand the effects will not be long lasting. A brand is only as brilliant as it’s worst piece of collateral. People develop relationships with brands and if each touchpoint doesn’t make your audience feel a deeper connection and trust towards your brand, then you’d best spend some time this year reviewing your collateral, advertising and digital assets to make them aligned and powerful.

Some things to check:

  • Digital assets (website, social media, listings) use consistent messaging to describe who you are and what you do. Ensure they provide opportunities for the audience to learn more or engage.
  • Ask your colleagues and volunteers to describe what your organisation does. If this is highly variable, you may need to prioritise developing your brand values and internal communication strategy this year.
  • Line up all your print collateral and check for consistencies in messaging and also style – is the brand being applied consistently? Are the same fonts and colours being used? Is the photographic style consistent? Do the logo test – if you cover the logo on the piece of collateral, does it look like your brand? Or could it belong to anyone?

Develop your road map

Remember those great objectives you defined? Time to develop the strategies to get you there. Here’s an example of how this might look.

Objective: Increase social media traffic to the website by 20% YoY


  • Add a blog section to your website that discusses issues your audience is most interested in. For each blog, share on each social platform at least 3 times per article, taking a different angle with each social post.
  • Utilise promoted posts on Facebook to extend the reach of posts to drive web traffic
  • Develop strong connections with complementary brands and agree to share each other’s content on your social feeds
  • Ensure social sharing functionality is available and encouraged on relevant pages of the website
  • Develop a social media competition that requires users to go to the website to enter

If February’s calendar isn’t looking too promising either, or you’d just like some support, you can always rely on your friends at Freerange. Our brand, marketing and digital diagnostic will do a lot of this for you, from analysis to developing that road map. You can learn more about it here.

2017 here we come!

The secrets of compelling nonprofit marketing - How to make your digital marketing way more effective

Topics: Brand, Digital, Marketing