#33 4 marketing mistakes you may be making

Me visiting the door of my old classroom in 2017

While I focus on business strategy, I basically 100% of the time now intersect into marketing, especially when it comes to positioning and even just plain website copy, a lot. The overall mistake I see is that we’re sounding too much like generic companies and not enough like humans doing incredibly compassionate work. Here’s how:

1. You sell what you do versus the value you create

This is a super common one almost every Impact Tuneup customer and I work on together. Your company creates SaaS products for curriculum management? Fine, that’s what you do. But “streamlining student learning” or “personalized learning in every student’s hands” is the value you’re creating. Employing low income women to learn silversmithing is awesome - but that’s what you do. “Transforming lives with jewelry” is the value you create. You have to make it something that’s magnetic to whomever is giving you money for your products or services.

2. You miss opportunities for human connection

Nobody wants to buy from a company. They want to buy from a person, or a team, and be a part of their story. Your generic contact form, info@email address, and business speak are turning people away. (Btw, very few of us, unless we’re semi famous, get so many emails per day that our email address needs to be hidden on our website - and guess what, that is likely preventing prospective customers from contacting you). Your emails are from a human, so they should sound like a human wrote them. And your story is invaluable. If you’re here, in social impact, each founder and employee and board member at your organization has a “here’s why I give a sh**” story - you may not need to sell all of them at once, but those stories need to be accessible and salient anytime someone engages with you.

3. You don’t differentiate enough between your peeps

I was recently working with a nonprofit that fundraises to support low income families with access to community gardening and organic food. Their website talked a lot about the research behind the need for nutritious food in lower income communities, but I wasn’t really sure who that info was for. It didn’t particularly provide any value for low income families, nor did it give potential funders a compelling reason to engage. We created a simpler homepage together that clearly stated what the org did to solve for nutrition in low income communities and then created distinct pages for community members and potential funders that were clearly labeled in navigation. Marketing materials started to differentiate between the two groups as well, with an e-newsletter going out to the community members and quarterly organizational updates and financials going to funders.

4. Your CTA is all in or nothing

Nobody - or very few people - are going to check out your website or a brochure or other marketing material and decide immediately to buy from you, especially if what you sell has a higher price tag. Nor, necessarily, do they want to contact you upon first encounter. Yet so often, those are the only two calls to action I see and hear - in emails, on websites, at networking events, and more. When I introduced my newsletter and began marketing and engaging with my community on Instagram, it became a low stakes way for my cold contacts and leads to warm up to me. Even if what I sold just cost under $100, customers would still likely have needed to engage with me a bit and get to know me before purchasing - we all do this as consumers. So often now, instead of giving people my card at networking events, I say “give me your card - I’ll make sure to add you to my newsletter. I promise if you hate it you can unsubscribe, but it gives you a really good feel for what I’m all about!”

Remember, everyone you work with, everyone you sell to, everyone you fundraise from, and everyone you serve are humans. They have way more things besides you to think about, and they will trust you more and more the more you treat them like a human - especially in this social impact space. Let me know how your solve for some of these in your social enterprise or nonprofit!