One of our big marketing pet peeves is when organizations do not want to set goals on communications strategy. Goals are important, and measuring your progress towards those goals is essential as well.
If you are a loyal follower to our blog you will remember our blogs about program evaluation, especially the logic model. Logic models are great for planning our programs and how you are going to assess them.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Often times we have seen organizations attempt to shout their message from the tallest mountain in the hopes that it would reach the right people at the right time. In addition, the phrase we hear most when it comes to organizations explaining their communications challenges is that they just need to “get their name out there” or “more people just need to know about us”. One of my mentors constantly says “Hope is not a strategy”, and I think it applies this as well.
Even if you had a million dollars in your marketing budget and were just focused on your local community it would still be hard to reach everyone and sustain communication; therefore, your organization truly needs to consider who you want to reach and what action you would like them to take (refer to your communications matrix).
As with a good logic model, having outcomes and metrics is very important in measuring the success of a communications plan. We are here to tell you, if Instagram is not rendering you any results – give it up. If it is one less item on your already overflowing plate, take the opportunity to shift your focus to something that is giving you results.
When setting a communications goal, make it SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely/Time-Bound) in order to measure if effectively. One example of a marketing goal for an afterschool program might be – Increase the number of volunteers by 20% by the end of the Fall semester in order to serve more students in the Spring semester.
Once you have your goal, you have to consider which marketing platform is going to give you the results that you seeking. For example, if you seeking to add additional volunteers to your program it may be wise to ask yourself where you are getting your current volunteers. After asking around you may discover that many of your volunteers are coming from the local church next to the school where your program is located. Maybe printing some posters for the church to hang is enough to get you the volunteers you desperately need. Another option may be to ask current volunteers to distribute some flyers to those that might be interested in volunteering as well. It could be social media, e-mail marketing, and a variety of other platforms, but you have to decide which platform is best for you to get the result that you wish to achieve.
We have included a Measuring Success worksheet with this blog to help you select your goal, platform, and metrics. We suggest starting with the goal, then figure out the metrics to identify that goal, and then work on which platforms/methods make the post sense for your messaging. Asking yourself the question “Will this platform provided the results we need in order to meet our goal?” is a very important question since it allows you to be strategic in your marketing actions.