Ads and Acquisition – Mobile Strategy for Nonprofits

5 minute read

Team Mobile Messaging

Continuing to grow your email and mobile list is extremely important for nonprofits to spread broader awareness and increase actions on their issues. Many nonprofits gain email subscribers from paid acquisition but how can this translate into growth for your mobile list?

Anywhere you advertise to gain new email subscribers, advertise for mobile too!

Start with what you have

Leveraging your social media channels

Starting with social media can be an easy way to add new subscribers to your mobile list. Those that follow your organization on social media already have an affinity for your organization’s work, so try to move them to the next level of engagement by cross-promoting sign-ups for your mobile list.

This can be done by creating a keyword graphic asking your social media followers to text in a keyword to your short code to take action, sign up for a newsletter, or get special access to a downloadable wallpaper. Whenever you include a keyword call to action, be sure to include compliance language in fine print on your graphic – we don’t want you to get audited!

By submitting your cell phone number you are agreeing to receive periodic text messages from this organization. Message and data rates may apply. Text HELP for more information. Text STOP to stop receiving messages.

If your organization regularly does Facebook or Instagram lives, create a keyword for the event or advertise an existing one to your live audience. This is a great way to get the people who are already actively involved on your issues to move up on the engagement ladder.

The NRDC created an eye-catching organic campaign asking people to text BUZZ to 21333¹ for a link with ways to save the bees, and grew their mobile subscriber list by 9% in one month!

Website engagement

You can also turn people who come to your website from a search into mobile subscribers. Lightboxes on web pages are a popular way to collect emails or solicit donations. You can add an optional mobile opt-in here as well and have the lightbox appear on your web pages.

Paid ads and Acquisition

Facebook is a popular place for advertising for nonprofits. You can target similar audiences to your current audience, create remarketing campaigns and reach new audiences. If you’re already advertising on Facebook, make sure your landing page includes an optional mobile phone field and check box. This piece of advice doesn’t only apply to Facebook – anywhere you have an ad going to a landing page, be sure to include mobile sign-ups there too.

Since signing up via landing pages isn’t the only way people can get onto your mobile list, you can potentially test different styles of ads such as a link to a landing page vs a keyword opt-in. Once tested and assessed, you can calculate the cost per acquisition to determine what works best for your overall mobile acquisition strategy. Many users are already used to filling out landing page forms, however, because the mobile phone field is optional you might not capture as many new users. By advertising the keyword, when the user texts in, they are instantly added to your mobile list and stream of messaging. However, because this is a higher-bar ask, you might see a lower number of overall sign-ups.

While Facebook is one of the most popular and easiest places for nonprofits to advertise, there are plenty of other places where you can advertise an ad that goes to your organization’s landing/sign-up page (which will include mobile!)

“Traditional” Places to Advertise

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Care2
  • DailyKos

Less traditional places to advertise

  • Cable TV
  • Streaming services
    • Services like Hulu or Pluto that include ads could be a spot for you to advertise a keyword text in or a QR code that the user can scan on their tv
  • Spotify
  • Twitch
    • Nonprofits could partner with influencers for a keyword shoutout on stream
    • Twitch also offers more traditional banners and video advertisements
  • TikTok
  • Reddit

QR Codes and Events

Whether you’re hosting in-person or virtual events, offer an easy way for your activists and supporters to get involved. QR codes can be displayed on printed materials at an in-person event, or on screen as part of a presentation at virtual events. QR codes act as a link and can point directly to web pages related to your call to action. As with any link, make sure the landing page that your QR link points to includes a mobile number field to capture the information. While events are not always the largest source of new mobile subscribers, they can be a great way to engage people who are already interested in your issues and get them onto your mobile list.

Oxfam used SMS to make their events more interactive, and at the same time turn a one-off engagement into a lifelong connection.

In order to spread awareness, increase donations, and mobilize supporters, having a large list is essential. If you’re seeing high engagement across email social media, and your website, you can turn those audiences into mobile subscribers. Make sure the process is easy to follow to retain engagement levels, and when you get them to convert, be ready to communicate effectively and drive high engagement. Unsure how to do that? We’ve got you covered. Come and see how we’re supporting nonprofits like you with their mobile messaging strategy.

The Ultimate Guide to Subscriber List Growth


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