by Jay Hobbs, Director of Marketing & Communications
By now, it’s no mystery: If you don’t reach clients or donors online, you’ll have limited hopes of carrying out your life-saving mission.
What’s a little more mysterious, however, is exactly how to meet your clients and donors online. Is Facebook enough? How about Twitter? Instagram? Website banner ads?
Like any other technological shift, moving your reach online is an ongoing process, filled with unexpected twists and turns—and probably a lot more trial and error than we’d all like to admit. And so much of your online success depends on putting simple (and often cost-free!) tools to work in the most efficient way possible.
That’s why a group of my fellow Heartbeat International co-workers and I are looking forward to seeing you at our in-depth day, Putting Your Mission on the Map at this year’s Annual Conference April 18 in Chicago.
Running projects like Option Line, Extend Web Services, Pregnancy Help News and the Heartbeat International websites and social media outreach efforts, our team is constantly learning what it takes to be successful online—and we can’t wait to pass along our most recent findings at the Conference.
Together, we’ll hit five specific areas of online reach throughout the day. From getting the most of out Social Media—which you can learn more about here—to harnessing the power of the Web through Local Search, pay-per-click advertising and a SEM-optimized website presence, you’ll walk out with a clear-headed vision of reaching clients and donors in an online world.
Don’t miss out on this exclusive chance to roll up your sleeves and hammer out your online marketing strategy with our team. You can book your space here—but don’t hesitate, because spaces are filling up as we speak!
See you in Chicago!
Brian Fisher, president of Online for Life, joined Real Choices Pregnancy Medical Clinic Executive Director Mia Green on the stage of the Real Choices Spring Gala, announcing his organization's acquisition of the Grapevine, Texas-based pregnancy help center.
This new chapter of Online for Life's efforts has been super-charged with a $3.4 million gift that has transitioned the small volunteer effort to a large office staff, including statisticians, developers, and marketing experts.
Identifying as more than merely online marketing specialists, Fisher's announcement included his goal to increase Real Choices' "effective rate" in encounters with abortion-minded clients. Fisher noted that the practices Online for Life will refine in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will then be taken to the "super centers" in other major metropolitan areas, likely as future acquisitions, franchises, or start-ups.
Online for Life's most recent acquisition signals another local entity with plans to go regional/national, as Real Choices joins Women's Care Center (South Bend, IN), BirthChoice (Orange County, CA), Thrive! (St. Louis, MO), and Stanton Medical Clinic (Boise, ID) in promoting a common-brand/franchise model.
For more than a decade, our friends at Care Net have encouraged affiliates to utilize their national brand, which today numbers just over 140 locations. Meanwhile, Women's Care Center has experienced great success at spreading a true brand/franchise model across multiple states, with 22 locations in seven states.
Each of these brands follows in the footsteps of a key innovator of pregnancy help outreach – Birthright International. Birthright has nearly 300 individual pregnancy support service locations across North America (and a few in Africa as well) bearing its brand. Birthright, originally founded in Toronto, was part of the inspiration for Heartbeat International (then known as Alternatives to Abortion International), which began in 1971 to serve and strengthen the pregnancy help effort.
Difference of approach, philosophy, and focus has led both organizations to grow and develop along separate paths in the past four and a half decades. For the same reasons, it remains to be seen if one brand/franchise will eventually dominate the pregnancy help movement much in the same way as Planned Parenthood, a name that dominates the abortion market with a one-third share in the United States.
Evaluating the Franchise Approach
There are many strategic questions about a national brand/franchise. Online for Life's new "laboratory" center, Real Choices, plans to contribute great insight into "effective rates" that may serve other communities. But will what works in Texas translate to New York City or vice versa? Can processes that work in the Bible Belt leave the same footprint in the Pacific Northwest?
Further, is a monolithic brand an easier target for the opposition? NARAL continues to refer to pregnancy help ministries as "crisis pregnancy centers," a common term from an era before the Internet, the late 1980's. The billion-dollar abortion industry, unrestrained by our "best practices," would likely relish the thought of marshaling their powerful political and media allies on an obviously connected, monochromatic brand.
Yet Planned Parenthood has made its brand work for the better part of the past century... Until recently, that is, in the wake of concentrated scrutiny by conservative state legislators and a small, gutsy group of undercover investigators from Live Action, led by Lila Rose. Alliance Defending Freedom is now leading a specific effort to topple Planned Parenthood's brand image, exposing it for what it really is. Such efforts on various pro-life fronts have damaged Planned Parenthood's single brand, especially in conservative states.
Moving Forward in Confidence
Whether or not a single brand is in your pregnancy help organization's future, what is most important is that we continue to be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord is constantly moving us as His people, toward the Promised Land. This calls us, each day, to learn to be more effective in who, where, and how we serve.
Brand us, hopeful that the Lord, in His wisdom and power, will guide each and every organization and leader.
by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President, Ministry Services
Will you watch the competition on the field or the competition among the commercials?
That’s right. The Super Bowl will be upon us soon and millions upon millions will tune in. It seems that more emphasis is on the commercials than on the teams (unless the team is one of your favorites).
A mere 30 seconds of time costs advertisers somewhere north of $3,000,000 in 2010. But how many opportunities does an advertiser have to get in front of so many people and score with such a high sales impact? Is it worth it? Only those who are close to the numbers – who know the cost of the ad as well as the number of people who say, “Yes” and adopt the product – can answer that question. And answer they will!
Can we ask similar questions about the “numbers” impact in pregnancy help ministries? I mean the number of people we see who are facing a true life-and-death decision. And then the number of people among that group who say, “Yes” and embrace the Gift of Life and the Giver of Life.
So what does it cost to have the type of conversations that lead to the result we desire? How much do we spend on marketing our ministry to those who need us the most? What percentage of our budget are we spending now? How much should we spend? Where are we advertising? Are we still in the old, familiar places? Or are we looking for new and more cost-effective avenues like web search and social media?
As you gather with friends and family for America’s annual event, the Super Bowl, enjoy the commercials. The folks from Madison Avenue have worked hard to get our attention and capture us as consumers. They work almost as hard as we do to gain the hearts of our “customers.” When you’re tempted to think about how deep are the Madison Avenue advertisers pockets compared to our pinched budgets, remember the value of the widow’s mite – priceless. And the treasury of Our Provider – infinite. And the importance of our customers – eternal. Also remember that it’s up to us to be good stewards whether He entrusts us with one talent or five (Matthew 25:14-30).
Take heart! What’s most important, money can’t buy.
by Brad Mandel, Ad America Internet Marketing & Yellow Page Services
At your next staff meeting, write down all of your services, then write down the number of ways you might search for that service on Google. The final step is to search for the service you provide in your serving area…how many times do show up in the towns you serve?
According to Google, 97% of all consumers are searching for a local business online.
When an abortion-minded woman does a Google search on her cell phone, Google delivers the “map results” of exactly where she is standing? If your center’s online information is well-optimized, your location will pop up.
Potential clients want to find you. How can they if you don’t have a “places” listing on Google?
First, head to the homepage of Google Places and sign in with your Google account. Go to Google Places, type in your phone number, and edit the information to claim your business listing. Your company information might already be within Google’s directory. It could also be out of date and have an old address or phone number where you can revise or clean it up.
Submit: When you are done, scroll to the bottom of the page and hit submit.
Validate: You will be given an option to have Google call you or mail you a post card to verify your information. Verifying by phone is faster and easier!
Finish: Once you have verified the PIN, hit finish. Your site will now be posted on Google.
Congratulations on taking this first step in increasing your visibility online through Google! I say the first step because this is an ongoing process that you are going to need to work on as time continues. Google searches the most up-to-date and relevant content. It is up to you to show Google that you are the best business in your industry.
Having additional places where you show up on the internet helps Google confirm that you are an important business for your industry.
About 19 of every 20 18-29 year olds own a cell phone. For those who have yet to finish high school, it’s seven of every 10. An April 2011 Pew Research Study, “Trends in Mobile Phone Usage,” finds that cell-phone ownership is high among all ethnic groups and even among income levels.
We are truly living in a digital age where information is readily available at the tip of our fingers, as well as the fingers of those who might need our services. A follow-up study by Pew* shows that among 18-29 year-olds, half who have cell-phones have smart-phones and regularly access the internet with them. This means potential clients have the opportunity to access and receive information wherever they are. They have the ability to receive a large range of information in a very short time. With the use of QR codes, social media, mass transit booths, billboards, and digital posters, the value of having a mobile-ready website is becoming more and more evident.
Clearly mobile devices are rapidly becoming the dominant digital format versus desk bound machines. Your website is often your primary marketing tool to reach prospective clients in your community. With technology at the ready for them to search for you, will you be ready to connect with them? Conventional wisdom says that if the person searching for you on the internet can’t find you (quickly), to them, you don’t exist.
In the digital marketing world, effectiveness is measured in seconds, or even fractions of seconds. If your website, in standard form, takes more than a few seconds to download, it may be discarded for a quicker source. Once downloaded, is the information easily navigated? Again, the culture of information at the ready leaves little time to impact the seeker with positive information to make a good connection.
***Smart device owners are taking full advantage of the technology at their fingertips and are spending their time out of home accessing the internet. It would appear that all smart device users, especially younger groups (18-34), have a hunger for information and a need to be entertained. Accessing the internet (80%) and using social networks (67%) are among the top functions used on smart devices.
Younger audiences are more open to interaction. They instinctively understand the relationship between branding and themselves, thus, making them willing participants in the brand/consumer relationship.
Be sure your website is mobile-friendly. This takes some effort by your web design friends, but clearly the trend suggests it is well worth it. The research suggests this will very soon be the number one way your website is accessed. Option Line is mobile friendly for the very purpose of being available to our target demographic. Your website should be also.
*Pew Research Center, 7/11/2011, http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2011/PIP_Smartphones.pdf.**CBS.CBS Outdoor Media on the Move. Web 2012. http://www.interactiveeurope.com.***Bosomworth, Danyl. “Statistics on Mobile Usage and Adoption to Inform your Mobile Marketing Strategy.” Smart Insights. Web 2012. http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/.
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