Charities boost their digital marketing efforts

From using social media sites like YouTube and Twitter to deploying pay-per-click campaigns, digital marketing is becoming increasingly popular among charities hoping to attract donations and boost interest in their operations.

Whatever the size of your organisation, it’s likely that there is scope to improve your digital marketing efforts, and this – when combined with its offline counterpart – can result in a significant rise in the number of supporters you have. Here are just some of the steps you may be able to take.

Make a user-friendly site

First and foremost, your website needs to be user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Keep things simple and functional, so visitors can quickly find the information they are looking for. Text should be as easy to read and jargon-free as possible, while all links ought to be clearly identifiable (it’s worth having a link to a sitemap and your homepage on each page). It’s also a good idea to have audio versions of your website’s text to increase accessibility and ensure those with a visual impairment are able to stay up to date with your organisation’s work.

If users visiting your site for the first time with the intention of making an online donation find that they cannot do this easily, they may be inclined to give up on making a payment altogether.

Ensure donating money online is simple and secure

Let’s look at the issue of donating money online a little in more detail. Charities of all sizes rely heavily (if not entirely) on supporters’ financial donations, so you should encourage all those visiting your website to pledge money.

Having a ‘donate’ button prominently displayed should ensure you do not miss a single opportunity to generate income. Although many of us are increasingly purchasing goods and services over the internet, some people still have concerns about submitting their credit card and/or bank account information online. You can help alleviate such worries by using a reliable hosting provider for your site as well as SSL encryption.

How offline marketing can help

Although you may think there’s no need to link offline and online marketing, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because there’s been a greater drive towards the latter in recent years, offline advertising can help bring traffic to your site and encourage more people to donate.

Promotional products are an extremely effective form of offline advertising. In the digital age one of the most popular forms of promotional merchandise is a promotional USB stick. Whether given out for free at events like festivals and conferences or offered as a ‘thank you’ to existing supporters, branded USBs provide people with a physical reminder of your organisation and how they can get in touch if they want to make a donation or find out more about your campaigns.

For added impact, preload your USBs with information about your charity prior to distribution. Make sure that any documents you put on the memory sticks contain a link to your site, and encourage recipients to sign up your email marketing list – and you should soon find more people visit your site in order to make a donation.

Of course, it’s a good idea to have your main website’s URL printed on the USBs, but it’s also worth putting on your Facebook and Twitter profiles too, so you can interact with supporters in as many different ways as possible.

Creston buys stake in DJM Digital Solutions

UK insight and communications services company Creston plc (LON:CRE) said on Wednesday it had taken a controlling stake in local digital healthcare specialist DJM Digital Solutions Ltd as part of its strategy to strengthen its presence in the digital marketing segment and expand the portfolio of its health division.

Creston is paying an initial £1.2m ($1.9m/€1.5m) for the 75% stake and pouring some £300,000 in working capital into the company. The terms of the deal also call for the payment of an additional consideration of up to £1.8m that will be made in June 2015. The buyer has also secured a call option exercisable after April 2020 to buy the rest of DJM for a maximum £2.4m.

With the deal, which is seen to have a modest impact on Creston’s earnings this fiscal year, the company seeks to make use of the growing adoption of smartphones and tablets among healthcare specialists, which highlights the need of bringing the industry’s marketing communications in line with innovative work practices, Creston’s CEO Don Elgie said. With DJM on board, Creston expects that its healthcare division will experience strong growth given the increasing significance of digital technology for its clients.

DJM, headquartered in Richmond, Surrey, has a 26-strong headcount. The company recorded revenues of £600,000 in its fiscal year to 31 July 2012.

Accenture acquires New York-based digital marketeer avVenta

International management consulting, technology services and outsourcing firm Accenture Plc (NYSE:ACN) unveiled the acquisition of privately held, digital marketing production services provider avVenta Worldwide, in a move to enhance its marketing services portfolio aimed at chief marketing officers (CMOs).

The buyer did not disclose the value of the transaction.

New York-based avVenta started operations in 2005 and has an additional office in Charleston, South Carolina and a centre of excellence in San Jose, Costa Rica. It offers digital production, marketing services and platform support to more than 130 top global brands, including major companies in the pharmaceutical, technology and travel sector.

The combination of its digital production and design processes with Accenture Interactive’s marketing operations, technology and analytics services will provide CMOs with solutions to help increase return on their marketing investments, Accenture Interactive’s global managing director Brian Whipple said in a comment.

Jay Noce, avVenta’s CEO, sees the deal to result in a powerful portfolio of marketing services combining avVenta’s near shore digital production operation and Accenture’s global delivery capabilities, he said. avVenta’s capabilities and delivery model complement Accenture Interactive’s suite of business services, helping it to better cover the end-to-end needs of complex marketing organizations, he explained.

Accenture is present in over 120 countries where it employs 257,000 staff. For the fiscal year to 31 August 2012, the company delivered revenues of USD27.9bn (EUR21.7bn), it said.