The Coast News Group
Websites are living things that continue to grow and need constant attention. Stock image
Ask Mr. MarketingColumns

Should this website have been built?

In 2019, my team was hired to build a fundraising website for a nonprofit. We worked carefully to acquire imagery, target messaging and fix tech issues.

The man in charge wanted to raise funds to help orphans, paying for the site himself. It was a noble gesture.

Whenever we’d communicate, I’d ask about his plans for marketing the site after completion. We mapped out strategies for advertising, social media, public relations and speaking at conferences and luncheons.

Finally, the truth came out. “I don’t know how to do any of this stuff,” he admitted.

“Do you want us to do it for you?” I asked.

“Yes, but I have no money,” he said.

As helping orphans is a worthwhile effort, I offered to help him find a college intern to handle his social media at a small cost. “You’ll control the message,” I assured him.

Then I volunteered to help supervise the intern, without charge.

My only request: Write a paragraph specifying his goals.

Predictably, the project outline never came…and I moved on.

And, unsurprisingly, he announced this week he’s canceling the website, stating, “It didn’t do what I wanted it to do.”

No great shock, since there are 18 billion-plus web pages vying for attention. Without ongoing communications effort, nobody will come to a site they don’t know exists.

His fantasy was right out of the movie “Field of Dreams”: if I build it, they will come. Only it doesn’t work that way in the real world.

Marketing success doesn’t happen by accident, and just hoping it’ll work out is a recipe for failure. Websites are living things that continue to grow and need constant attention.

And, as we’ve observed before, you must always promote today with an eye toward making a sale tomorrow.

I share this tale to encourage advance planning for your every marketing effort. Know your audience and objectives. Map out a quick plan of how you’ll promote your message, assign responsibilities and understand your budgets and funding sources.

Finally, whether it’s an employee or a hired gun, nobody can be expected to care about your effort as much as you do. Meaning if you don’t invest the time needed to market your organization, you can’t realistically expect anyone else to fill in the gaps for you.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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