Meet your funnel

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Brett recently presented to 50 or so marketers and recruiters in the world of foster care. Convincing people to let a child into their lives is no small marketing task. He started by talking of the marketing funnel which goes something like this… 

The funnel is a much-used metaphor for the sales process and it’s an equally useful way to think of your marketing options. Let us explain:

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Fill 'er up.

Whether you are selling a car or signing someone on as a donor, supporter or client it takes a while to move the prospect from being even vaguely aware of you to signing on the proverbial dotted line. It’s a process.

As the prospect gets closer to signing he is moving through the metaphorical funnel.

The funnel is an appropriate device as while you may get lots of people at the start of the process only so many come out the end. Also; you can’t get to the end of the funnel without entering it at the top. Of course the better salesperson or marketer you are, the more people you convert from casual browsers (top of funnel) to supporters (end of funnel). It’s more complicated for humans than for water.

Your goal as salesperson or communications person is to get people into the top of the funnel in the first place and then move them through the funnel as it gets narrower to the very end. Different marketing and communications options are suited to different stages in a prospect’s travel through the funnel. 

If you want to get anyone at all to the end of the funnel you need to fill the top of the funnel with the maximum number of people regardless of their motivation.  You need to reach lots of people who have never heard about you or your cause.

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NFP CSAs are great for some. Not possible for others.

From a communications perspective this means the big, broad marketing channels such as advertising but paid mainstream advertising is a luxury few of us can afford. Even if we could afford it it is no guarantee of success. Ask General Motors.

For the car salesperson, the slick TV advertisement is just the top of the funnel – hopefully enough to inspire some warm bodies through the showroom door.  But that’s all. Then the salesperson has to ‘encourage’ the prospect through the funnel – test drives, brochures, follow-up calls, second test drives, price negotiation, trade-in valuations and so on. Maybe one in 20 prospects gets to the pointy end of the funnel.

So what can we use instead of advertising to act as a top-of-funnel marketing tactic; one aimed to maximise exposure to newbies and reignite people who half-recall us? Media coverage. After all, it is why we consume media in the first place. Media reaches new people in a credible and influential way and is far more affordable than advertising. Media is at the top of your funnel and should be prioritised as such. A presence at public events also offers broad exposure, though usually on a smaller scale. 

nonprofit marketing advice

This is a smart new site for a newly amalgamated bird nonprofit: Birdlife Australia.

What next? Well how are most prospects who have seen you in the media going to acquaint themselves with you? Website. This is true of prospective donors, employees, volunteers, referrers or clients. The website is vital and high in the funnel and should be prioritised as such. 

Then what? Well perhaps it’s the  – wait for it – telephone. Let’s face it eventually most of us have to make a call to transact many things – swapping energy providers, booking our first appointment with the chiropractor, enquiring about the upcoming volunteer info night, seeing if our son might be eligible for reading assistance. Dare we say it – many telephone experiences with nonprofits leave much to be desired. Calls go unanswered, messages go unreturned and it all goes into the ether as few nonprofits track conversions from incoming calls to outcomes.     

Then what? Perhaps it’s time for the written material to come into play. Note; by this stage the prospect is well into the funnel. Despite this, written materials – expensive, time consuming, decision-intensive and unmeasureable – get much fuss from nonprofits. Annual reports warrant external designers and much unpaid overtime from contributors. Brochures are (still) a big deal. Do they get people in the funnel? Nope.

media training nonprofits

Keeping in touch, building the brand, getting our money, funneling us through.

Then what? Well to build real relationships you need time and constant attention p this takes the form of social media, eNewsletters and regular magazines / newsletters.  This is where prospects (now connected to you) get to really know you and for what you stand. This is where you educate them on your issues (radicalise them, if you like) and take them through the funnel.

Then what? They are through the funnel and form your donors, supporters, clients, volunteers, staff members and more.     

Summary: people must enter the funnel if they are to become something special to you. Some marketing and communications options are particularly suited to this (media and web) and should be prioritised accordingly.

See social media and regular communications as ways to build on existing relationships, getting people through the funnel. Social media is great for many things but is overrated as a way to meet new folk. It could be better seen as a way to stay in touch with your most passionate suppporters as they work through the funnel.

Few people are drawn into or through the funnel by brochures or annual reports. Many, many, many are blocked by poor telephone experiences.

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Social Media Savvy 101 webinar announced

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Due to public demand (yes, really) we are holding another Social Media Savvy 101 webinar Friday August 17. All the details right here. This will be the only Social Media Savvy 101 webinar until at least 2013.

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Facebook app

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facebook apps for nonprofits
This appears on the NGV Facebook page. Who could resist the offer to Napoleonise oneself?

Jay McCormack and Brett de Hoedt recently co-presented App Savvy 101. The session looked at both smartphone and Facebook apps. Facebook apps are probably lower on the priority list of many nonprofits but they do offer a way to build on your existing Facebook efforts. They may be a way to boost engagement and build friends. Apps may be more game-like than information based.

facebook apps
A simple three stage process.


Here’s what Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has gone with to promote its Napoleon exhibition.

The pictures to the left tell the tale of this Facebook app in action. What a cute, fun and shareable idea.

facebook app development
Voila! Dignified, authoriative and low-to-the-ground, much like the man himself.
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Get more retweets, more often

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If you are tweeting it’s natural that you want your content to be retweeted. (For newbies, “retweeting” is when a recipient of your message, forwards it to her followers.) 

Having your content exposed to more people is a key way to build your following. It’s a particularly honest way to build your following as only strangers who are impressed by your content will choose to follow you. Very meritocratic.

get more twitter followers

People love links.

So what content is most likely to be retweeted? Take a gander to the left at this graph from which shows that tweeters who usually contain links in their tweets are the most retweeted.

This tallies with what we know about successful content – don’t talk about yourself, share something of value. Sometimes that value may be found courtesy of a link to your site but often it will be a link to a news site, a blog, a picture.

Note that neither inspirational quotes nor bitchy 140-character diatribes about conservative politicians fall into this category. Nor do “Good morning / good evening” tweets.

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Public Media Savvy 101 workshop in Melbourne filling fast.

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Hootville is holding a rare public Media Savvy 101 workshop in Melbourne Wednesday June 6, 10am to 4pm. It’s our first such workshop since 2010. We already have Bush Heritage Australia, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Victoria Legal Aid, Barwon Community Legal Service, Dental Health Services Victoria and Reseach, Edit, Write attending. Why not you?

media training in melbourne

Where the hell is everybody?

We guarantee an energetic, nonprofit-specific, highly practical workshop lead by Brett de Hoedt that will gain you media coverage that would otherwise go begging – or worse go to someone else. There will be lots of time for Q&A and learning from your peers.

Here’s what’s on the agenda.

Fee: $550 per person inc GST includes workshop, 30 or so pages of notes and four weeks of post-workshop, on-call coaching and advice. Morning tea, coffee and tea and beverages provided. This fee is a fraction of a private Media Savvy 101 workshop. Places are limited.

Our excellent nonprofit venue: Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Level 5, 50 Market Street, Melbourne. It’s a great space on the corner of Market Street and Flinders Lane, close to public transport and parking.

Bookings: email brett [@] hootville dot com with the names of participants along with your billing details and you shall be rewarded with an invoice.

Some of our testimonials.

Queries: Call Brett 03 9017 1062.

Want a Media Savvy 101 for just your organisation?  Who would blame you? Call Brett 03 9017 1062.

Want this in Brisbane, Perth, the regions or Adelaide? Call us and we’ll see. If you can pull together a couple of bookings, we can do the rest. Let’s make magic happen people.

Don’t thank the Academy. Be the Academy.

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In our Marketing Savvy 101 workshops we explore the many and varied ways to prosecute your marketing plan. Sure we all realise that a website and perhaps social media is vital. Media coverage is obligatory for some and a bonus to others but awards and Halls of Fame are too rarely exploited.

Awards ceremonies needn’t necessitate a black tie gala. They needn’t even reward good behaviour. Why not take a leaf out of the The Razzies playbook which ‘celebrates’ the worst of cinema each year? We did when we suggested an awards ceremony for client Combined Pensioner and Superannuants Association. We celebrated the worst in government policy and corporate behaviour from the perspective of the low-income constituency that CPSA represents. Certificates were sent out to winners but more important were the media releases.

nonprofit marketing plan

If the sandwhich industry can do it…

Likewise Halls of Fame give you a chance to gain media coverage through rewarding the prime movers of your sector. We were chuffed to score significant coverage on disability employment issues when our client ACE National (now Disability Employment Australia) instigated a Hall of Fame.

There is no building devoted to them but it is a Hall of Fame nevertheless. Devote a section of your website to yours. If you want a ceremony to announce the inductees (always have more than one) incorporate it into your conference dinner or AGM.

If the sandwhich industry, stockmen and shearers can do it, so can nonprofits. Don’t wait for your peak body to do it – you may be waiting a while. And no, we are not making up that image above – there really is an industry body for sandwhiches and they do have awards and a Hall of Fame. Bless ’em and all they stand for.

awards ceremonies as PR stunts

And about time too.

Oh we just became aware of this PR-driven drivel. Mind you if they need an emcee… Bottom line – start some awards, get some added media coverage, build some relationships.




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Recent feedback

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This is who we’ve recently trained and what they’ve said:

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Our drums. Oft beaten.

“Always professional, practical, enthusiastic and witty to boot. I would recommend him every time to improve your results and smile while you are doing it.”

James Beckford Saunders, Director – Education and Advocacy, UnitingCare Moreland Hall.


“You listened to our needs and have an incredible amount of knowledge on a variety of topics or at least we were convinced that you did.

You’re ability to naturally command the attention of the audience at the same time as putting them at ease is excellent and your professionalism, people skills, quick wit and humour was very much appreciated.

It’s a significant gap and the difference between being ok and being brilliant. I wanted our event to be brilliant and for that we paid you.”

Rebecca Gallahar, marketing, Interchange Outer East.



“Thanks again for the training yesterday Brett – we all found it really useful and we’ve already starting moving on a few new things.”

Brendan Sydes, CEO, Environment Defender’s Office. (24 hours after Media Savvy 101 training!)


media training reviews

Yes, we take compliments via social media.

“You’ll be pleased to know that our Vic/Tas Secretary is currently providing grabs for radio news, and may be recording an interview for ABC News. Training translated to ACTION!”

Leanne Shingles, National Communications & Campaigns Officer, Finance Sector Union of Australia. (Days after Speak Savvy 101 training.)


media training australia

Elite athletes trumpet our training.

“Following the training you did for our staff, I’ve had great feedback, and there’s been a request to run a repeat session.”

Lisa Darmanin, Assistant Secretary, Australian Services Union- Victorian & Tasmanian Authorities & Services Branch re Copy Savvy 101.


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No, really...thank you.

“Thanks for last week. Really interesting.”

Kristin Sinclair, Centre for Volunteering re App Savvy 101 participant.

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Build a better YouTube presence

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using youtube for nonprofits

Hands up who is willing to utilise video as part of their marketing.

As with so much of the digital world- it’s easy to start but more challenging to execute well. YouTube channels are no exception. Uploading a few videos to your channels is no big deal but there are endless tweaks to draw more punters in, more often.

This article from Social Media Examiner has some advice for you. Our advice is simple – have a YouTube channel for your organisation and take the time to get it humming. Everything you need to know is out there for the learning and 99% of it is free.


Superb copywriter sought by Hootville client

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Melbourne-based copywriter? Efficiently create readable, attention-grabbing copy? Ready for a large project? Reject the overuse of rhetorical questions and fragments? Good.

Inner South Community Health Service (for which we are developing a stupendous new website) is seeking a copywriter. They are a smart, passionate nonprofit.

Here is their current site which Hootville will be replacing.

Here’s the aptly titled copywriting brief: WRITER BRIEF


Hootville to emcee ACFE conference in Melbourne

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What does ACFE stand for? We’ll tell you: Adult Community and Further Education. Who is emceeing the 2012 ACFE metropolitan provider conference on October 18 and 19? We’ll tell you: Brett de Hoedt. Now you know.

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