In a past life, I was the Marketing Director for a web hosting company. I had an ad-hock background in online marketing from working on my own artistic projects, but I certainly wasn’t up-to-date on the latest tools and tricks. Of course, with the lightning fast pace of technology, being up-do-date is a constant challenge, but I was rather dismally behind the curve. Fortunately, my boss was happy to give me the time I needed to learn so I started reading everything I could find on Internet marketing best practices—from SEO and meta tags to social media and newsletters. By the end of my two years with the company, I was something of an expert on marketing strategy. I learned that all the frenetic updating and linking in the world can’t match a good person-to-person campaign. I think the online marketing experts would agree.
Don’t get me wrong, a multi-pronged approach is important—you can’t lead an audience to your website without good linking, fresh content, and smart social networking—but once you’ve got people on your site the real work begins. In this world of information overload, companies have to communicate something meaningful to get through.
Voluntour companies embody meaning. Their programs are innately inspirational and yet, often the real passion of the project isn’t effectively communicated to interested volunteers. A nice website isn’t enough. Often people need consistent reminders. Today, they may feel stressed out and closed off. Next week, that may change. People have good days and bad days, days when they feel bogged-down by work or family, and days when they feel ready for adventure. You need to get your message to them again and again, and it has to be fresh every time.
In my opinion, when it comes to Internet campaigns, newsletters are one of the most versatile and powerful tools in the voluntour company’s online marketing toolbox. When we sign up for a newsletter, we expect to receive multiple editions. So, when we see it in our email inbox, we aren’t annoyed, we’re interested. Newsletters are the perfect platforms for stories, and stories speak to us on a personal level. They inspire. As a voluntour company in a rapidly growing industry, you have a lot of competition. By sending out new, fresh, inspirational content every few weeks, you’re providing a constant reminder of who you are, what you do, and why it matters. Your newsletter is a lifeline to the people who make your organization: your volunteers.