Starting a Social Enterprise – Marketing

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Get Started on Branding, Marketing and Sales

It’s really easy to become overwhelmed with marketing. When you look at it simply though, the process of marketing simply involves finding out the answers to just ten questions.  These questions are:


Why do you do what you do? What is your vision? 

One of the biggest mistakes made by the charities and businesses that we work with is that they talk too much about how they are conducting their business rather than addressing why they are conducting it in the first place. People care more about your reasons why because it provides them with a chance to connect with your business on an emotional level. It helps them to understand your motivations and makes them care about your business and its mission. 

What are the trends? 

Research is often overlooked by business owners looking to market their business, but it is extremely important. There are three or four areas that you need to focus on when conducting your research: 

  • PEST analysis: PEST stands for Political Economic Social Technological.  These are external factors that can influence your organisation. It is important to explore how each of these influences could affect your business and whether these effects are positive or negative. 
  • SWOT analysis: Take some time to evaluate your Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats. It is only through reflecting on these points that you can create opportunities that suit your business and mitigate any risks your business may currently be facing. 
  • Data analysis: If you are a new business the chances are you may not have a lot of data to work with just yet. If that is the case, it is a good idea to turn on functions like facebook and google analytics and begin gathering data as soon as possible. Once you have any internal data, you can use this to track the progress of your business or charity, discover where your donations or revenue is coming from and which marketing strategies are working and encouraging engagement. 
  • Competitor analysis: you don’t have to look at all the competition out there, but it is a good idea to look at a mixture of both direct and indirect competitors. Observe what their strengths and weaknesses are. How do they talk to their audience? What kind of content are they posting on social media? How do they share information about their impact? What do they do successfully and how could you do things differently? 

Who do you want to interact with you (more)? 

It is common that businesses who are just starting out on their marketing journey try to appeal to everyone. Although it may seem a little counterintuitive, marketing actually works better when you have a smaller target audience. We recommend that you limit this to six different groups. With charities and social enterprises we have so many different touch points and different types of stakeholder. Which businesses do you want to interact with more, which donors, which volunteers, which customers, and which fundraisers? 

Once you have identified these groups you will be able to create a general profile and tailor your content towards them by building different personas. 

What are the underlying  needs of your audience? How are you addressing those needs? 

What drives your audience? What makes them want to donate to you or buy from you? You can find this out through simply asking people. Perhaps you could release surveys and get information that way. 

How does your audience benefit from what you do? Seen as you are a social enterprise this includes societal benefits as well as the benefits of your product. 

What are your unique selling points? If you are reaching out to businesses for support then you could improve their PR or help them with their Corporate Social Responsibility programs. If you are talking to donors then you can show them the impact that their donations have on the lives of others or on your business. Everyone you interact with will benefit from your business or charity in some way. Highlighting these benefits is a good way to bring more people on board. 

How do you want to be known by your audience? How do you want to appear to them? 

Brand perception is important especially for charities and social enterprises. Recent research has shown that fewer people trust charities. Building an authentic brand image is essential if you are looking to attract more donors, funders, volunteers or customers. You will need to prove and communicate to your audience that your business actually creates a meaningful impact in the community. 

One way to measure how you are already being perceived is through customer reviews. Collect words that were used to describe your brand and then upload that data to a word cloud. The biggest words are the words that were used most frequently. Then use these words consistently in brand imagery and communications to build a strong brand identity. 

What are your audience interested in? What do they engage with? 

Facebook and google analytics can provide data concerning your follower’s demographics and interests. You can then use this data to create campaigns that engage with the interests of your audience and attract a new audience with similar interests. Online platforms are full of businesses trying to market their products or services. Appealing to the interests of your audience is a great way to stand out from other campaigns and capture the right kind of attention from the right kind of people. 

Where do they hang out? What channels will you use to market yourself? What content are you going to use on these channels?  

You can know your audience very well, be creating great content designed to appeal directly to them, but if you are publishing this content on the wrong channel, then a lot of your hard work will be going to waste. If you are trying to attract businesses then LinkedIn may be a good place to release content. If you are trying to recruit young volunteers you may want to use TikTok or Instagram. The channels you choose to release marketing materials on will depend entirely upon which groups you are trying to target. 

What actions do you want your customer to take?

Break these actions down into three steps: 

  • Awareness: ask for a follow on social media or ask them to visit your website.
  • Consideration: Provide them with more information about the product or service in exchange for a larger commitment like an email address.  
  • Decision: Promote the benefits of your product or service along with your unique selling points with the aim of making a sale, recruiting a volunteer or receiving a donation.

Make realistic goals concerning each of these stages. How many people do you want to visit your website in the next 3 months? How many people would you like to follow you on social media or sign up to the email newsletter and how much revenue would you like to generate? Make sure that you set goals limited by time so that you can measure the success of your marketing funnel. 

Read more about this three step marketing funnel here  The 3 Step Content Marketing Funnel (

What content types will work? 

There are many mediums to choose from when looking at how to publish content. The best way to figure out what types of content work for your audience is to release a variety of content and track which mediums receive the most engagement and make a return on investment. This may take some time to work out, but doing so will save a lot of time and money in the long term and make marketing more manageable for your business or charity.  

We understand that initially, this process will require a huge investment both in time and in money, but once you have the answers to these questions, you will find your marketing process becomes a lot more effective and a lot less time consuming. 

If you would like any advice or any extra guidance with any of these steps, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Agency for Good.

Agency For Good are an ethical marketing agency.

We provide completely free marketing consultancy, coaching and training to 3rd sector organisations to help you focus and improve your income and in turn your social impact.

In 2019 we delivered 419 hours to 111 charities and social enterprise and we want to increase this to 500 hours this year so please get in touch.

We also provide high quality but subsidised web design, graphic design, video, social media, SEO, PR and copywriting services.

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