For today’s Monday Marketing Morsel, we are going to look at one of the most popular online marketing tools in use today: the multi-step webform.
And there’s no better way to learn than by doing, so I’ve created a multi-step webform for you to complete.
I’m doing this for two reasons:
The first is to learn more about you and how I can make Get Nonprofit Clients even better. Please answer the question about your biggest marketing challenge honestly.
The second is to show you how this works, and why you might want to put one on your website too. I’ll elaborate on that on the survey “thank you” page.
Tell me your biggest challenge with marketing your business to nonprofits.
After you are done, come back and share your experiences with these kinds of forms, or how you could see using one on your website, in the comments.
I hear this a lot, especially from relatively new consultants, and especially from women.
“There are people who know a lot more than I do.”
“There are people who’ve done this kind of project many more times than I have.”
“There are people who have been doing this work for decades longer than I have.”
Of course, all of those statements are likely true, and will be forever. So what?
If you are getting hung up on statements like these, you are really focusing on just the first way that people become known as experts. There are two other equally compelling ways to reach the same status.
1. The Expert with Real World Experience
This is the been-there, done-that expert or “hands dirty” or “eye witness” expert. It’s the kind of expert that most people are thinking of when they pooh-pooh their own expertise.
2. The Reporting Expert
This is the kind of expertise you gain by constantly listening, observing, and analyzing. If you are good at soaking up all kinds of information and squeezing it back out in more useful forms, or are great at crowd sourcing, curating, and convening, you are likely this kind of expert.
3. The Expert with Insightful Perspectives
This expert focuses more on the future than on the past. They talk about “what ifs” and “why nots.” They are often more visionary or inspirational that other types of experts.
Is one better than another? That totally depends on what you are doing, and who you are doing it with. Performing brain surgery, yes, we want the real world expert. Teaching others about how to solve problems that current brain surgeons are having? I’d go with one of the other two.
In my own journey, I started out as the real world expert. As I built my consulting and training practice, I focused more on being a “reporting” expert. Now, as I build my coaching/mentoring practice, I’m working more on the “insightful perspectives.”
What kind of expert are you? Did you start as one kind and transition into another? I’d love to hear your path in the comments.
People love to follow a good system. Just look at the hundreds (thousands?) of popular diets and fitness regimes out there.
You might think of it as a process, method, game plan, or recipe. But in consulting or coaching, it’s often called a framework. SWOT analysis is a framework. Myers-Briggs is a framework.
It’s your approach to solving common problems for your clients. You can make up frameworks yourself, or you can adopt frameworks created by others. (If you use someone else’s, be sure to do your research. Sometimes simply acknowledging the creator is enough; other times you need to pay a licensing fee.)
Sometimes a framework is a step-by-step process, other times it’s more of a checklist. Sometimes they are attached to specific timelines. Frameworks are often expressed visually.
I’ve found frameworks, even very simple, limited ones, to be extremely helpful in working with nonprofits. It gives everyone — you and your clients — a place to start and a way to move forward together. Frameworks can be especially helpful in giving some structure to otherwise hard-to-grasp conceptual work. They can also add some credibility to your work. When they are really good, they can become a core part of your brand.
Because of all of these benefits, you can also use them in your marketing!
Here a few examples of frameworks I have created:
The Six Rs of Message Relevance – This is a simple PDF that many people have told me they’ve printed out and keep next to their computers.
Six Month Mentoring Program for Communications Directors – In each month of the program, we cover one of six core elements of nonprofit marketing that I defined as:
- Your Community
- Your Messages
- Your Style
- Your Plan
- Your Tools
- Your Team
“Start Here, Then Try, Next Steps” — We created this framework to organize a lot of the free advice we offer on our website. You can see it at work on these pages on growing your email list and email newsletters. We also use it to organize the content within the Mentoring Program for Communications Directors.
CALM: Collaborative, Agile, Logical, and Methodical. This is brand-new one that I just released today! I’ll be expanding on this the rest of the week on the Nonprofit Communications Blog and using it in some new coaching programs I’m planning.
Think about how you can create a framework for the consulting or coaching you do with nonprofits. It can make your marketing much easier!
Last week I blogged about the perils of getting too far ahead of your clients.
But let’s face it, getting to mix things up a bit when you are bored is one of the benefits of self-employment.
However it might not always be the best business decision, because there might still be very well paying clients associated with that now-boring-to-you work.
How have you handled this situation? I’d love to hear your responses in the comments.
Here are a few things I’ve tried (some more successfully than others) . . .
- Take what I’ve learned from the now-boring work and turn into some kind of freebie (like a download with a registration form).
- Take that same information and turn it into a worksheet to get future clients through the boring part of the work more quickly, or with less direct help from me.
- Set a timer to make myself focus on the boring work for a set amount of time, and then reward myself with something much more fun if I was able to stay focused.
- Delegate it. I’ve brought on others to do the work that no longer interests me, but that our clients still need.
- Tough it out, especially if I see some kind of shake-up on that topic on the horizon.
- Stop doing that kind of work, and be OK with losing the market positioning or the revenue associated with it, because the boredom simply isn’t worth it.
How about you? Please share in the comments how you handle it when you get bored with your work.
Last week I blogged about the real end result of our communications director mentoring program: A sense of calm.
But guess what? If I tried to sell “calm” as an outcome for a nonprofit coaching program, I don’t think anyone would register. What nonprofit is going to pay for that??
What nonprofits can get approval to spend money on is training on specifics tactics, coaching on making good marketing decisions, and the like. They want to leave with expert advice and real skills.
They need to connect the dots very clearly between what you say in your marketing and what they need in order to get their important mission work done.
It’s wonderful if you know some of those bigger picture, often more ethereal, outcomes of your work. But don’t get too lost in them. Save them for the one-on-one conversations, not your website.
How about you? Do you have common outcomes that you don’t actively use in your marketing materials? Please share in the comments.
Don’t you love those moments when you get these wonderful big ideas or a surge of pure clarity about your work? It’s definitely a huge high for me.
I love those moments so much, and they have led to so many good business decisions, that I started to be more conscious of what I was doing right before they happened.
While sometimes it’s on a walk, or in the shower, I’d say more than 80% of the time, it’s when I am reading non-fiction.
There’s something about reading about other people’s ideas and experiences — even when (or perhaps especially when) they have nothing to do with nonprofits or marketing — that puts my own mind into creative high gear and I start connecting dots in whole new ways.
So, while I use to think of reading time as a luxury, I know now that it is actually extremely important to my business development.
I wrote last week about three books I’m reading now.
Your assignment: Pay attention to what you are doing right before you get your big insights. Make note of it. Find your own pattern, and make more time for it in your work life.
Already know what triggers those big ideas or clarity for you? Share in the comments!