What’s Missing in Nonprofit Marketing? Optimized YouTube for Nonprofits

In a recent article from the Huff Post Business Blog, founder of WhyWhisper Collective, Alexandra Ostrow noted:

“Nonprofits have been slower to adopt video, which is unfortunate, because video is particularly valuable for this sector.”

This was stated after pointing to how YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. It also helps lower bounce rates, increase SEO rankings and heighten click through rates. Since nonprofits have some of the most profound stories to tell, and a great ability to call viewers to action after an emotional video, this seems like a match made in heaven.

So why is optimized YouTube for nonprofits still so rare?

Alexandra and others point to how high quality video comes at a cost – a cost to which nonprofits’ tight budgets can’t commit. They see all of its technical functions and feel overwhelmed. However, as we’ll point to below, there are a few easy way to get started, staying well under budget.

Steps to Setting Up Optimized YouTube for Nonprofits

1. Signing up under YouTube for Nonprofits

Since its launch in April of 2003, Google Grants for nonprofits have helped nonprofits “save the world.” With YouTube as their network, they encourage optimized YouTube channels for nonprofits. Use resources found at YouTube for Nonprofits and read about setting up a Google for Nonprofits account to understand more on what they offer.

You can also follow Google’s nonprofit blog and receive updates like this infographic on nonprofits using YouTube to attract donors.  optimized-youtube-for-nonprofits

2. Establishing a YouTube Profile

Seeing as YouTube is a huge generator of search results, you’re profile could very well show up in front of a potential volunteer, user, or donor. Customize your background and colors, include your logo, link to your site and keep connecting with other YouTube users to establish a community. Everything should tie back to who you are as a nonprofit.

Once you’ve established a profile, make sure you keep active on the site. Not only by consistent uploads, but also through subscribing to other’s channels, sharing and commenting on their videos and responding to any comments on your own. You don’t want unknown activity happening – maintain a positive presence.

Oxfam GB provides a sweet example of an optimized profile:


3. Video Production Tools

Don’t have the budget for a professional video producer just yet? It’s okay – there are plenty of tools that got your back.

– If you’re limited to the camera on your phone:

Keep the background noise to a minimum, find a place with good lighting (outdoors is far easier than indoors) and capture a simple video. You can thank donors as seen in “Follow Up Ideas for Nonprofits, with just a short and authentic video or record yourself explaining what’s going on at your nonprofit as seen with the charity:water example below:

If you want to avoid video recording in general:

You can use a tool like Animoto and create a slideshow. It’s pricing is pretty affordable and it is a really easy way to compile photos, music and text.

– If you don’t want to include visuals:

You can also consider following the lead of an ArcStone client Meshbesher and Spence, who uses podcasts to drive traffic to their YouTube channel (and then to their website) each week. They then promote the podcast in a blog to amplify traffic.

4. Text & Tags

Using the appropriate text and tags in each video is a must if you want your channel to gain traction and show up in search results.

Text: In each description, include a quick summary of the video’s content as well as links to your sources, your website and your social platforms. Consider including a transcript of the video if possible to both help anyone who can’t hear the video and to increase SEO.

Tags: Tags are especially relevant to YouTube and SEO. Make sure to include a few that are consistent with your video’s content.

– For more on YouTube & SEO, check out this resource for a guide: ReelSEO

5. Calls to Action & Follow Up

Lastly, make sure each YouTube video points back to who you are as an organization and then guides the viewer to clicking through to your site. Have a clear intent and call to action with each video.

For more guidance on this tool, contact ArcStone. Our video producer will help you find the best tools, establish a strong presence, and utilize SEO. Read more on 2016 video in an interview of our video producer.

How To Get Started with Inbound Marketing for Healthcare Companies


As a healthcare marketer, you’ve been watching the vast changes in healthcare marketing over the past few years (read more in State of Healthcare Marketing). However, with schedules and budgets stretched tight, it might be a change you’re resisting. This post can help you walk through some initial, manageable steps for how to get started with inbound marketing for healthcare companies specifically.

1) First, what is inbound marketing? 

Inbound marketing is the method of creating online content (blogs, social media posts, videos, infographics) that attracts your potential customer as they search for answers. Once they’ve landed on your content, the hope is that they will click through it and eventually come to the purchase stage of the buyer’s cycle. Read more on inbound methodology here.

2) So how does inbound marketing work for hospitals and other healthcare companies?

The Pew Research Center recently released a study stating that 72% of internet users searched for healthcare information online (read more about the study at Becker’s Hospital Review). We know people are always going to have questions regarding their health, and can assume they want thorough and reputable answers. Now, we also know they’re starting to see the internet as a worthy source of information.

Enter: your marketing team! If you can answer these healthcare questions and get people to keep coming back to your site for more informative content, it’s more likely they’ll come to you when they need a doctor’s appointment or new healthcare provider.

3) How do we even start increasing our content?

a) Choose your platform: Our go-to content management software is WordPress (read why here), but there are plenty of free tools for aiding your content management.

b) Get to know your audience: You can’t create quality content if you don’t know who you’re talking to. With a plentitude of content out there, visitors won’t read through content which doesn’t speak to them. Break down each of your audiences, using a guide found here, so you can better understand what content they would search for, when they’d look for it, and how you might show up in their results.


c) Set up a promotion schedule or automate promotion: Consistently rolling out new and updated content is key, so whenever a searcher needs an update, you’re their go-to source. Make sure you aren’t being sporadic – be mindful of your content by sticking to a schedule or even automating, using a tool like Buffer or Hubspot. Read more about marketing automation in this post.


What else should we be sure to do with our content?

a) Monitor: If you don’t analyze and then document this strategy, it won’t improve. You need to know what’s working and what’s not. Monitor Google Analytics (with a best practices and set up blog) and set up a Documented Content Marketing Strategy for best results.

Google Analytics Dashboard

b) Optimize your best content: There are tons of free tools for inbound marketing, but sometimes in order to get higher quality traffic, you should pay for more. For example, if you conduct paid ads the likelihood your content will show up in search results increases. What is more, if you run ads during open enrollment periods (when a lot of people are searching for healthcare), the likelihood that sales-ready leads will land on your site also increases.

How do you use paid ads? If you’ve tracked your content, you’ll know which content people especially like. With this, you can select that content for paid ad campaigns right at that time period. Since you already know people like the content, your click through rate will likely be higher and your cost-per-click would then decrease. For more on paid ads read Kissmetrics Blog “5 Things You Must Do Before Jumping Into Paid Advertising.”

Concluding thoughts:

With the majority of healthcare marketers planning to increase their investment in digital marketing (take a look at Econsultancy’s report for more on this), make sure you’re making plans to join the race so you become the go-to resource before others. For help setting up your inbound marketing strategy, contact the digital marketing agency ArcStone.

Increasing College Admissions with Audience Personas


There are thousands of colleges in the U.S., and the competition is fierce. If you’re working for a college or university on the development and marketing side of things, you’ve probably been stretched thin trying to target each one of your various audiences with your content marketing strategy.

Your priorities are widespread…

1) First you need to attract prospective students to your school, standing out amongst the thousands of options out there.

2) You’re current students need to see they made the right choice, keeping retention rates up.

3) You want to please your alumni, because they keep the college financially stable.

4) The college realm as a whole, and all the reviewers and “top 100’s” lists must know you’re a force to be reckoned with.

5) Don’t forget: with all those concerned parents out there, you must assert that your school is safe and perfect for their child.

Sowhat is the best approach for establishing and maintaining a positive online reputation for your school? 

Through reading this post (and perhaps the full version in this ebook) you’ll soon be increasing your admissions with audience personas. By developing a more thorough image of who your ideal audiences are, you’ll have an easier time figuring out which piece of the puzzle you have to focus on and when. Let’s start by walking through how to learn about each persona and then where to reach them online. In the end, you can take this strategy and apply it to each distinct audience, so you can determine which persona is your priority and when.

If you’re just getting started with content marketing, before reading through this guide, take a peek at “Nonprofit Content Marketing: Metrics to Track & Tools to Get Started.” 

Increasing College Admissions with Audience Personas

Step 1) Describe each persona

– Take the time to write down a description of the types of people you want to reach online. Since there’s so many different types of searchers looking for very different schools, you don’t want or need to speak to all of them. Ideally, the people landing on your content will also be the people that are the right fit for your school.

– You can start with the five audiences we listed above (prospective student, current student, alumni, the general public and parents).

– For each audience, make up a few fictional representations of who they might be. For example let’s start with our first target audience, students. Let’s also assume you’re a smaller liberal arts college in the midwest.

– Ask yourself why this persona would be interested in your school and what their concerns are. Here are two different examples that would both be a good fit for your school:

a) Prospective student Harry:

Harry is from a small town in the Midwest and has been nervous about school for awhile. He’s looking for a smaller school that challenges him in many different classes, but also has a strong biology program for when/if he commits to premed. He’s a little nervous about making friends so he wants a school that has fun extracurriculars like comedy clubs and club sports. A good financial aid package is also a top priority as he’s worried about paying for school.

b) Prospective student Julia:

Julia comes from a big city on West Coast, but craves a more intimate environment and to see a new part of the country. She is interested in so many different areas of study that she’s a little nervous she won’t be able to pick a major. Her other top concern is that she wants to be able to continue to dance and play piano, so she needs to find a school that has those programs.

Step 2) Determine content for each persona

– Now that you know who your content might actually be speaking to, map out what blogs, infographics, landing pages and the like would answer their main concerns.

– For each audience ensure you have a few pieces of content that seem specific to them.

– For example, our previous personas need content that answers their questions. For Harry, have a blog from a current student describing the financial help they received from the school, or a video showing club sports. For Julia, have an infographic that shows all the different classes and demonstrate that it’s okay for her to experiment.

– Depending on the time of the year, plan out your content and social media posts to make sure that they’d be in front of each audience at the right time.

– For example, Harry and Julia will likely start their search for school around the spring of the junior year of high school and be looking to visit the school in the summer and fall. Promote the appropriate posts especially around that time.

– Don’t neglect to test this process. Look at your Google Analytics data on your site (quick intro to analytics here) and which social posts are getting attention. Then document this strategy so you can improve it each year and better target your personas.

Step 3) Guide your audience to action

– A major detriment to content marketing occurs when the visitor is not guided to the right place for action. Moreover, a strategy is flawed when it has not been determined what that action should be in the first place. With each piece of content you have to determine what you want your visitor to do.

– Should a students Harry and Julia contact you for more information? Follow you on social media? Sign up for an overnight visit with a current student?

– Once you determine the answer to this question, point the visitor to the action with strong CTA‘s and by actually stating what they should do. If you don’t say it, they might not think to do it and will move on to the next school.

Need more help with your school’s content marketing strategy?


State of Healthcare Marketing 2016


With the onset of the Affordable Care Act along with the ever-evolving digital landscape, there’s no way that the state of healthcare marketing could remain effective without evolving greatly through time… right? If you work in a marketing or development role in the healthcare realm, we could all benefit by reading about the current state of this field and what is expected this year.

One piece of the change started with The Affordable Care Act in 2010 made it so that many Americans are mandated to have a health insurance plan. In short, this shifted healthcare to be more consumer-focused, resulting in more people going online to shop for the right fit for them. This also means that healthcare marketing teams would have to invest more on their online marketing presence in order to stay in front of the consumer.

Alongside this change, there are thousands of resources online for patients – mobile apps for their health, blogs answering their questions, video appointments with doctors. You name it, there’s a digital resource trying to take advantage of each need.

However, as could be concluded from the research in Econsultancy’s “Healthcare Study: Organizing Marketing in the Digital Age,” healthcare marketing is a little bit behind other sectors in regards to digital marketing. The healthcare industry as a whole has many obstacles to face in order to build a digital strategy that meets the needs of its online audience and to meet its own needs.

In order to understand more about the current state of healthcare, let’s review some of the main points the report addresses. This data is collected from people facing this issue head-on: Econsultancy’s survey (conducted in September 2015) features responses from 150 professionals in the medical realm including mainly manager level or above representatives from pharmaceutical, medical device and direct healthcare provider companies.

Their major question they sought to answer:

“how [is] healthcare marketing evolving in response to a number of factors in personal and professional technology, media consumption and consumer behavior”?

State of Healthcare Marketing for 2016

1.is healthcare marketing really “lagging behind”?


  • As we can see from the above graph, healthcare is a bit behind other sectors in regards to how digital technology has influenced their marketing efforts.
    • 30% of the respondents go on to describe digital marketing as separate from their marketing in general, which is not the case with other sectors. 
  • Econsultancy states that “Healthcare companies are particularly challenged. They can suffer from cultural resistance to change and often miss on top talent, especially in digital realms.”
    • Since the healthcare industry hasn’t been as quick to evolve as others, they don’t hire the innovative resources they need to make big changes, which just slows down change even more.

This doesn’t mean healthcare marketers aren’t trying to make a change – many of the respondents anticipate changes this year…

2.What do Marketer’s need for change?


  • The biggest shift they expect is a greater focus on patient behavior. They will seek get to know what patients want and are looking for online.
    • This means they’ll need to increase their focus on audience development. They’ll need to break down who their various target audiences are and then develop website and social media content that directly relates to each. Read about the “patient journey” (a healthcare marketer’s version of the buyer’s cycle).
    • Which also means a significant focus on their website analytics (take a look at some Google Analytics resources) and data on their users and potential clients. With this investment, they can better understand what users do on their site and social and how they might get them to come back and improve a new visitor’s UX.
  • Along these lines, they’ll need to invest in both new software that helps collect this data and more staff that will manage this software. If they do one without the other, it won’t be as cost-effective.


  • Similarly, they’ll want to invest in marketing automation as many of the study’s participants plan to do. They won’t be able to keep up with all their various audiences and social networks if they don’t have the equipment that can help.
3.Advice for Marketers
  • One of the biggest conclusions a healthcare marketer can draw from this report is that change is here, and if they are afraid of making such changes, they put their company at risk. Econsultancy speaks to this stating, “Fear of change is the number one threat to [these] cooperation[s].”
  • Another issue they address is a tendency to let go of talent with digital skills and creativity when budgeting gets tight. They advise to find good talent and keep it, making employees in the digital realm feel needed, because they very much are. If the talent doesn’t see that a company is committed to keeping them onboard, they won’t sign on to help in the first place.

If you are working as a marketer in the healthcare realm and want to stay on top of the latest in healthcare marketing, subscribe to our newsletter, check back into sites like Franklin Street’s blog “The Next Idea” or follow Twitter influencers like  or @davidafeinberg

Subscribe to These 5 Nonprofit Marketing News Updates

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to stay even more aware of nonprofit marketing news, so before 2015’s year-end, I sought out to uncover some of the best nonprofit newsletters to subscribe to for 2016.


1. NPQ


This is the place to come for a general overview of all things nonprofit. This includes some best practices for keeping up with the latest nonprofit trends, but also a hub of the latest nonprofit-related headlines.

2. Idealware


For a more tech-oriented update, Idealware is my go-to. With each newsletter, Karen & Laura point you to one big event or resource such as a 90 minute webinar or nonprofit guide. One of my favorite blogs to keep in an eye on is their “Best of the Web” each month. This includes a layout of resources from the month, including announcements that occurred that month, ways to keep up with new best practices out there, and general inspiration for a nonprofit.

3. John Haydon


After attending his webinar (packed with useful information on setting up a year-end publishing social strategy) and having him tweet back at me (promptly and authentically I might add), I became another John Haydon fan. He has not failed me and I love his weekly emails – especially since he promises just one email a week. If you ever have additional time, you or a member of your nonprofit can also sign up for one of his weekly coffee breaks for a free 15 minute presentation with 15 min of Q/A afterwards. His Twitter account is also a notable one (@johnhaydon).

4. Beth Kanter “Beth’s Blog


Coming in as one of the top nonprofit influencers on Twitter (@kanter), I trust Beth Kanter is sending out news people are wanting to receive. She writes with upbeat and insightful voice, providing innovative ways to promote your nonprofit and also just general fun life advice (like staying stress-free with adult coloring books). She even has published a few books, especially oriented around networking for nonprofits.

5. M+R


Reading through M&R’s content feels like you’re actually sitting down with a group of fun people with intelligent advice. Their tone throughout their site and content is consistently light-hearted and friendly. On their site they also include free tools for nonprofits like a benchmark tool to see how your online metrics compare to other nonprofits’ and “social media calisthenics” which offer exercises for your social media team to practice.

Of course, you should definitely subscribe to The Nerdy Nonprofit blog for our own two cents. We send our newsletter out once a month, with a few blogs from our own site as well as our favorites from others from both the nonprofit tech and marketing realm.


Nonprofit Communication Versus Development Roles – Understanding the Overlap


“Communications Directors and Development Directors have conflicting goals. Development, of course, wants to retain and acquire donors. Communications wants to focus less on fundraising and more on brand awareness and engagement.” — Tech Impact, 2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report

In a 2015 Communications Trend Report, Tech Impact made the statement above. Similarly in an 2016 Nonprofit Communications Trend Infographic posted by Kivi Leroux Miller, the dissonance in priorities is addressed.

The 2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report [Infographic]
If you’re like other organizations we work with, this may seem ironic since a nonprofit’s development versus communication roles often overlap on a small team. However, the conflict exists: even though your nonprofit’s main goal is to bring support to your cause, there are distinct ways of doing so, resulting in conflicting goals within a single nonprofit.

So how does this happen? It’s a chicken before the egg scenario. Your development staff seek donors and their continual support, resulting in money to market your nonprofit and increase its engagement. However your communication staff seek out brand visibility, allowing your donors to find your nonprofit in the first place. Each role depends on the other.

How to fix the diverging priorities within a single nonprofit:

Here are some questions we came up with for marketers to ask their sales team. This can be applied to nonprofits, as a conversation between the development and sales teams, geared towards improving the entire donation process and resulting in more effective marketing of your nonprofit.

1. What does the sales/donation process look like from first contact to closed sale/donation? 

You might understand the basics (i.e. the donor contacts you, you help them through the donation process, you follow-up etc.) however, we encourage you to dive deeper.

– How long does the donation process take?

– Why might a donation fall through? What are potential downfalls to the nonprofit?

– How does communication typically work? Email? Phone? Mail?

By really understanding what this process looks like, the communications team can better optimize their efforts with materials that address any of these issues. Their marketing campaigns can be aimed at directing potential donors to the most common form of contact, your content can point to reasons their donations are necessary, and you can understand how long a targeted marketing campaign should really be running.

2. Who is your ideal client/donor and why?

Everyone has a favorite type of person they like to work with – maybe they’re the kindest or most easy-going or the most devoted. Your communications team can target their marketing efforts around drawing in that specific type of person. If they build out a few audience personas (grab our persona guide here), and market directly to them, chances are your ideal donors will find you more easily.

3. What are the most common questions the potential clients/donors ask?

There is probably a large handful of questions the development team receives time and again. If this is true, it’s likely that this information has not been as easy to find as it could be on your site. The communications team can take advantage of these questions for effective content marketing. There won’t be a struggle finding that next blog topic if your team is working on answering these questions. Start planning your content marketing strategy around each.

Remember that your goals ultimately align, and budget time and money according to which side of this relationship needs more attention. To review more on the relationship between sales and development, take a look at our original 5 questions to ask.