#BeMoreDigital Marketing Day offered an eclectic blend of sessions all dedicated to the essentials of marketing. Here we look at the highlights of the event
Marketing has changed massively in the past year. Everything has gone digital. Website maintenance, email campaigns, virtual events, online fundraising, hashtags and online activism have all taken on new significance. Charity Digital’s #BeMoreDigital Marketing Day on 20 May 2021 explored many of the above trends – and so much more.
Over the course of five sessions and three workshops, attendees learnt how to hire digital marketers, the fundamentals of email automation, tips for branding and re-branding, how to effectively use hashtags, and much more. The event was crammed with advice from wonderful speakers, hosts, and presenters, all of whom provided edifying and engaging sessions.
We want to say a final thank you to our sponsor, GetResponse, who have provided so much help and support to the UK charity sector. Their partnership allowed us to provide all our events free of charge, which means that we were able to spread marketing wisdom even further.
Here is how the day panned out. For people interested in any of the below sessions, we have published the recordings, they are available on the Event Hub here!
The #BeMoreDigital Marketing Day kicked off at 09:00 with an introduction from the Charity Digital Head of Marketing, Chris Hall. Chris welcomed guests, discussed the events, and briefly explained some of the house rules, particularly around the virtual event platform Remo.
Attendees were then whisked into the first session with Louise Troy, Digital Marketing Manager at 15 Square, who explained her charity’s achievements in the past year. Louise also explained some of the obstacles the charity faced, such as a poorly designed website and under-utilised social accounts, and explained how hiring a digital marketer shifted their fortunes.
Louise demonstrated the extent of that shift change, suggesting that the hire led to skyrocketing traffic on the website and a vast increase in the number of people signing up for membership.
Louise covered so much ground in such a short amount of time, with plenty of advice around inbound marketing, SEO, shareable content, and hyperlinks, as well as offering some blogging ideas, video ideas, virtual events and fundraising ideas, and loads more.
The presentation was a crash course in the essentials of digital marketing, convincingly making the case for using a dedicated digital marketer and explaining why charities should aim to provide consistent, shareable, and engaging content in various forms.
After a short break on Remo, with attendees taking advantage of our networking opportunities, we got straight to the second session, hosted by sponsors, GetResponse. Irek Klimczak, Content Project Manager at GetResponse, ran the brilliant session, which explored automated marketing.
Irek immediately contradicted the idea that automation is expensive and complicated. He said that automation, particularly around emails and other elements of marketing, is actually cost-effective and simple.
Irek then demonstrated why charities should use automation. He said that automation, among other things, allows charities to better understand their audiences, offers huge opportunities to save time and reduce costs, creates space for charities to experiment with new ideas, and provides optimal ways to spend money and increase return on investment.
Irek was convincing. And he continued to convince. He ran through GetResponse’s page and offered a tutorial that demonstrated simplicity. He showed that automation was easy and simple, far removed from common preconceptions. The tutorial was intricate, offering attendees real-world examples of exactly how automated marketing works.
Next up were our friends from Blood Cancer UK. Helen De Soyza, Head of Brand and Communications, Liam Toyne, Digital Marketing Manager, and Laurence Pigott, Content and Communications Manager, explored the essentials of branding.
The presented talked about their own experience launching a (re-)brand on a low budget. They kicked off by explaining how things didn’t go to plan. After an initial idea, Blood Cancer UK realised that what they had planned wasn’t what their community wanted or needed.
COVID-19 was at front of mind and the charity pivoted to meet that demand. Our presenters explained the importance of staying relevant, spending time listening to your community, and ensuring charities represent the people they are supposed to represent.
The presenters ran us through some of their marketing campaigns, which proved very entertaining. The content was often reactive. After Burberry released a mask for £90, for example, Blood Cancer UK followed with their own campaign, releasing their masks for the same price, with the tag line: “Our products might not be haute couture, but buying from us does help fund lifesaving research (which is SO this season!).”
They showed us other examples of reactive content, too, including a hilarious takedown of Noel Gallagher following his rejection of masks and an intriguing response to Hockney’s recent London Underground art. Blood Cancer UK embrace humour, which helps them to raise awareness, spread their reach, and generate some much-needed funds.
After another break, and another chance to network, attendees moved onto the session from Sense. Adam O’Riley, Product Manager, and Louise Heath, Digital Communications Officer, kicked off with an a look at one of their recent campaigns, Sense Sign School.
Sense Sign School has been a massive success. Sense led us on a journey through that success, exploring the basics of great email content, emphasising the importance of accessibility and engagement. They also discussed the strategic thinking that defined the campaign, such as scenario planning, how to engage stakeholders, and how to look beyond the campaign.
They showed us how they used Charity Digital’s Dot Digital to plan their email marketing. They aimed to build relationships through seven emails, somewhat dependent on automation, which led to positive results. They had more than 82,000 sign-ups, which was a huge growth on the previous year. And, importantly, people were signing-up for the right reasons.
To end the session, Louise and Adam taught attendees some British Sign Language (BSL). Attendees joined as the wonderful presenters demonstrated the BSL for pizza, fruit, tea, and other delicacies. It was an enjoyable end to an insightful session.
There was one final break before we entered our panel discussion from 12:35–13:15. The panel session discussed how the hashtag can create a succesful marketing campaign, bring communities together, and support fundraising and awareness-raising activities of charities.
We were excited to host Rachel Grocott, Head of Communications at Bloody Good Period, a charity dedicated to period equity, and Matt Moore, Fundraising Manager at Mermaids, a charity that supports gender-diverse kids and young people.
The session started with Matt’s puppy, who made an impromptu appearance. Then Matt spoke in detail about the great work Mermaids have been doing with Starbucks. Matt explained that the #WhatsYourName campaign inspiration from trans YouTubers who had drawn attention to the significance sharing names can have for some transgender and gender-diverse people.
Rachel spoke about Bloody Good Period’s campaign #NoShameHere. She talked about the objectives of the campaign, the way hashtags draw engagements and open-up conversations, particularly around issues that are sometimes stigmatised. Rachel spoke about another campaign, #FlowHoHo, which used humour to raise awareness around period inequity.
Both of our guests then gave some helpful advice to attendees. If using hashtags, they said, charities should aim for specificity, make sure they get the timing right, never overcomplicate, make everything accessible and, importantly, do not go overboard.
Workshops took place in the afternoon, starting with one from our very own Elizabeth Carter, Email Communication Manager at Charity Digital.
Elizabeth offered a masterclass in email marketing. Elizabeth works with clients every day to help them optimise, personalise, and generally improve their email marketing campaigns. She has worked in email marketing for more than 12 years, so she really knows her stuff!
‘Emailing your way to success: a masterclass for beginners’ covered all the basics, including common layouts, effective design tips, and the best way to create engaging and clickable content. Elizabeth also covered more complex elements of email marketing, such as understanding and using metrics, reporting on campaigns, and the essentials of tracking.
AbilityNet’s Jess Cahill, Accessibility and Usability Consultant, and Arnaud Ramgoolam, Accessibility and Usability Consultant, took over for the next workshop, ‘Digital accessibility: creating content for everyone’.
The workshop was presentation-based, but it gave attendees the chance to take part in interactive exercises to put learning into practice. The workshop taught attendees, among many other things, how to upload accessible images, how to write alt text, how to manage and track your content, and so much more.
The final workshop of the day was on ‘Social media for small charities: making it a tool, not a task’. Rita Chadha, CEO, and Tilly Humphreys, Communications Coordinator at the Small Charities Coalition, offered some advice to small charities hoping to boost social media. Their workshop drew on their own experience and offered some essential best practice advice.
Attendees learnt the essentials of social media, the best way to present a consistent tone and voice, the intricacies of analytics and the best way to use them, and much more.
Thanks to all who attended our #BeMoreDigital Marketing Day. We hope you learned lots and can apply your learnings to improve marketing and comms in the future.
As mentioned, Charity Digital will release recording of some of the above sessions, so keep up to date with our websites or subscribe to our emails for more information.