How Biomedical Nonprofits Can Benefit From Connecting Online and Offline Channels

January 27, 2015

3 Ways Integrated Marketing helps Institutions Communicate Like Leaders

Biomedical nonprofits often see online and offline donors as two separate audiences: Offline donors tend to be older and give consistent amounts on a regular basis, while online donors may be younger and tend to give larger, one-time gifts. While these categorizations are largely true, it is difficult to reach your Leadership Marketing goals (such as building trust) when your marketing messages aren’t consistent.

Here are 3 very good reasons for integrating your donor communications between online and offline channels:

Integration can grow your donor base
Online donors are younger donors, and they tend to give larger donations than their offline counterparts. However, they also tend to give once and call it good, regardless of how many follow-up emails you send. Unless you quickly shift new online donors to offline renewal, odds are you will lose them. Integrating your online and offline marketing communications can help solve this problem by treating EVERY donor as having offline giving potential. From the moment an online donor chooses to give, your biomedical nonprofit can begin sending e-newsletters and updates to their inbox as well as to their physical mailbox. If the messaging is consistent, they will come to trust that 1. Your biomedical nonprofit will meet them wherever they search for information and make giving as convenient for them as possible, and 2. Your brand and mission is the same in the “real world” as it is online.

Integration shows brand consistency
While it’s true that the majority of older donors may not be acquired online, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t technologically savvy enough to visit your website. As of April 2012, 53% of American adults ages 65 and older used the Internet or email. 70% of those users accessed the Internet regularly (Pew Research). If your offline donors receive your newsletter in the mail and decide to visit your website, wouldn’t you want their experience with your brand to be consistent? If your website’s homepage is highly scientific and not donor-friendly, how will they feel when they visit? Do you keep an archive of the newsletters you mail out online, and would it be easy for casual Internet users to find them? When online and offline communications are integrated, offering a consistent brand experience is simple.

Integration can take your content farther
One of the best ways to position your biomedical nonprofit as an industry leader is to consistently show the value of your research. Sharing studies, insights and breakthroughs in newsletter or blog posts is a great way to do that. Integrating that information will have the greatest impact. For example, assume you’re sharing an inspiring story of how your research has touched someone’s life. Typically, you might choose to send it out as a part of your monthly “snail-mail newsletter.” But once that newsletter has gone out, how will that story touch your online audiences? If you think of every piece of content as a cross-channel opportunity, you are more likely to find creative ways to share it. For instance, you might distill the story down to one powerful image with a short, informative caption and a “donate now” option. Donors captured in this way could automatically receive the longer, newsletter version in their mailbox. Now when they receive your newsletter, they are familiar with the image and actively interested in learning more. They already feel connected to your nonprofit, making them more apt to sign them up for offline renewals.

If you have questions or you need help integrating your marketing channels, please contact me, Karan Cushman, by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing


Positioning Your Biomedical Nonprofit As An Industry Leader

January 20, 2015

134H (1)
3 Proven Marketing Tactics That Can Boost Your Brand Image

If your current marketing plan looks pretty much the same as it did last year, you can expect to see the same results. It might be time to raise the bar, and update your marketing to-do list. Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start. Here are a few Leadership Marketing tactics that can help your Biomedical Nonprofit stand out this year:

1. Focus on Inbound Marketing:
Cold calling is not always an effective way to break the ice with potential donors, which is why many nonprofits are spending their energy on Inbound Marketing instead. So, what is Inbound? It is basically getting potential customers to contact you. Inbound Marketing starts by building an online presence through blogs, articles, Enewsletters and other forms of content that don’t directly ask for a donation. The goal is to provide compelling online content that encourages audiences to reach out with questions or for more information. And when they do, you can be sure they are both interested in your expertise and motivated to support your work.

Tip: Choose topics that are both relevant to your brand and of interest to your target audience, and then use your expertise to create share-worthy content on those subjects. Be sure to tag your content with your company URL.

2. Share Your Passion:
Nonprofits have something going for them that for-profit companies may not: They have a passion for a cause that others share. This shared passion is a built-in conversation starter. But instead of just talking about it, why not make this the year that you demonstrate your passion? Show your commitment to the greater good by providing community education, sharing resources, or creating online tools that benefit others.

Tip: Sharing your Biomedical Nonprofit’s passion and expertise with the community doesn’t have to be done online, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. For instance, consider starting a Science Café. Science Cafés are live events normally hosted by a scientist, but open to the public. Science Cafés aren’t intended to be lectures. Rather, they are casual meet-ups where everyone is encouraged to join in, ask questions, and share their ideas about the topic at hand.

One of my clients, the MDI Biological Laboratory (, a Biomedical Institution near Acadia National Park, has been hosting Science Cafés for some time. My team helped them successfully brand their events with a marketing program that invited the public to “Learn about the science that affects your life”. This has helped MDIBL own these events, build recognition and foster trust within their community. Your nonprofit can host a Café, too! To find out more about the grassroots Science Café movement, visit

3. Communicate Like a Leader:
Biomedical Nonprofits are natural leaders. They lead the way with innovative research and ask questions that others have not. Unfortunately, many Biomedical Nonprofits don’t market themselves as the leaders that they are. It’s a shame, because Leadership Marketing is one of the most inexpensive ways that nonprofits can build awareness, trust and support for their cause. Commit to actively showing thought leadership by sharing your insights and expertise online and in your community.

Tip: Every marketing communication is an opportunity to show leadership! Specific thought leadership tactics can include blogs and advertorials, microsite sponsorships, audio/video interviews, survey sponsorships, whitepapers and infographics, round-table webinars, in-person events, and more.

What is Leadership Marketing?

  • Leveraging an organization’s original insights, innovative thinking and unique perspective to show thought leadership in a particular industry
  • Sharing those insights online and in your community to build trust, gain allies and move supporters to act
  • Building and maintaining a brand persona that thinks and acts like a leader

Do you have questions about putting Leadership Marketing to work for your Biomedical Nonprofit? Please send your thoughts and comments to or call 866-960-9220.

Powerful Messaging = Campaign Success

January 13, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 10.30.33 AM

3 Insights That Can Help Streamline Your Bioresearch Brand’s Pitch

Recently, two of Maine’s leading Biomedical Institutions, The Jackson Laboratory and the MDI Biological Laboratory, successfully passed bond measures (Question 4 and Question 5 on Maine’s 2014 Ballot) to fund their facilities and research into the future.

These success stories are largely due to the clarity of the messaging that drove their campaigns and their ability to easily share those messages across many different communication channels. Your Bioresearch Institution may never have to pass a bond measure, but it can benefit from clarified messaging.

Ready to make your pitch stronger? Here are 3 insights you can gain from The Jackson Laboratory and the MDI Biological Laboratory:

3-4 “Power Points” Are All You Need
When trying to gain support from a broad audience, the best approach is a simple one: Define your main message and support it with strong arguments. In the case of these two bond campaigns, the main appeal was to get the public to vote “Yes.” To encourage that action, each of these institutions had to give compelling reasons why they deserve support.

MDI Biological Laboratory presented 3 strong reasons for voters to support their measure: Train our workforce; Grow our economy; Accelerate drug discovery.

The Jackson Laboratory condensed their appeal down to these 3 points: Fight cancer; Create Maine jobs; Support research.

Encouraging your team to streamline its messaging in a similar way can strengthen your overall campaign and develop repetition, so your message will stick in people’s minds.

Create a SIMPLE messaging platform for your campaign before you do anything else. Start with your lead benefit or appeal, and then support it with 3-4 bullet points or “Power Points.” To start, your bullet points should be no more than one sentence long, and they shouldn’t require lengthy explanations to understand. A good rule of thumb: If your audience can’t get it in fewer than 10 words, your Power Points are too broad (and there’s a good chance they won’t resonate in your actual PowerPoint presentations, emails, leave behinds or other communications).

Simple Messages Feel More Honest
It’s easier to be convincing when you can state your case briefly. If your team can’t quickly explain why your Bioresearch Institution’s work is worth supporting, you may not be clear enough on the reasons yourself. If you need lengthy copy to make your case, it may not be a strong one. Remember, the more you say, the more you open the door for questions and objections.

Of course, there are vehicles where you will want to expound on your main Power Points—brochures and other print pieces, for instance—but by and large your digital and in-person presentations will benefit from quick messaging hits. By keeping it simple, you make it easy for your audience to digest, believe and repeat your message.

Take a look at the online landing pages for these bond measure campaigns, and you will immediately see what I mean:

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 10.32.26 AM

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 10.31.26 AM

Notice how clear and immediate the messaging is. There is nothing to second-guess and no unnecessary information to complicate the issues.

Once you’ve outlined your messaging platform, distill it down even further. What are the key takeaways, and how can you share them in just a few words?

Simplicity Supports Creativity
Your Institution will start to see the real payoff of streamlining your messaging when you begin to extend your campaign out across several marketing channels—especially social media. Clear messaging translates easily to different platforms and invites sharing.

MDI Biological Laboratory offers an example of how using quick-hit messaging actually opens up opportunities to have more fun on social platforms. On their website, they made a solid case for why they thought the public should support them. Then on social media, they invited supporters to give their own reasons. Because it was Bond Issue 5, they asked supporters to write their motivations for voting “Yes” on their hands, and then took pictures of them “giving a hand.” Here’s what it looked like:

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 10.30.33 AM

In this case, simplifying the message made it feel more personal and homegrown.

Once you have simplified your messaging, carry that spirit through with powerful visuals that will resonate with your social network and invite sharing.

Have questions about creating an effective messaging platform? Contact me, Karan Cushman, by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing

Performing an Inventory of Your Marketing Strategy

January 6, 2015

3 Questions To Ask About Your Leadership Marketing Strategy

It’s been a full year since I started blogging about Leadership Marketing for Biomedical Nonprofits, and I’ve shared a lot of actionable communications tactics during that time. Now’s your chance to sit back and review how well your Institution has done at implementing them. Here are 3 questions that can help you find out:

Have You Defined Your Brand’s Mission?
Over the year, I’ve talked a lot about showing your Biomedical Nonprofit’s commitment to the greater good. This is important because it allows those who may not fully understand the science of what you do to connect with your overall human health goals. Translating those goals into a mission can provide focus for your marketing and energize the way you communicate. When you are successfully sharing your mission, your internal team will be able to state what that mission is, and your external reputation will reflect it.

Are You Sharing Strong Content?
Sharing content is a must-do for establishing brand leadership and showing industry expertise. A good rule of thumb is to use the 80/20 principle: create 20% original content and curate the rest. If you’ve been focusing on creating new content this year, you probably have a large library of PowerPoint presentations, insightful articles and Newsletters on hand. You can continue to gain value from that content by reposting and re-sharing it via social media. You can measure the success of your content marketing efforts by monitoring the traffic back to your website.

Are You Connecting With Those Outside Your Walls?
Biomedical Nonprofits need to be sure they are translating their scientific missions into something the general public—and potential donors—can get behind. Hosting community activities, lectures and other educational events can help others understand what you do and turn passive interest into active support for your Biomedical Nonprofit’s goals. Some clues that you are successfully connecting: Your social media pages are hosting two-way conversations and your website’s events page is up-to-date.

If your Communications or Development team has accomplished any of these things this year, you deserve a pat on the back. Leadership Marketing is a new way of branding your Biomedical Nonprofit, and a lot of time goes into making it happen. Hopefully you’ve seen firsthand why it is worth it.

Do you have questions or comments? Share your thoughts by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing Meanwhile, I’ll be turning my attention to new trends for marketing Bioresearch Brands in 2015.


Is Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Website Market-Smart?

December 16, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 2.03.29 PM
Leadership Marketing Tips for Creating an Emotional Connection

Successful Biomedical Nonprofits foster emotional connections with their audience. And although the interface between your website and a potential donor is a computer screen, it is still possible to make the interaction personal.

So, how do you know if your Institution’s website is market-smart?
Ask yourself these simple questions:
1) Does our site immediately define our purpose from a donor’s perspective?
2) Does it distinguish us from our competitors?
3) Does it reflect our values as a brand?
4) Does it provide the appropriate usability for our audience?
5) Does it do all of the above quickly?

Create Messaging for Every User
Who are your primary users? Researchers? Donors? Patients? Each one of these audiences searches the web with a different agenda and at a different pace. Consider their age, education level, technical savvy and lifestyle – all of these things can help you determine the mindset of the visitors coming to your site. Once you’ve done this, it’s your challenge to create a site that offers the information and user experience they are seeking.

What Are They Hoping to Find?
What are the top three reasons users go to your site? Again, a market-smart site is one that speaks to your audience(s) quickly.
Are they:

  • Scientists looking for information?
  • Supporters wanting to make a donation?
  • Volunteers looking to get involved?

Your website may need to be relevant to all of the above, which can be a challenge. The key is to make those connections right away on your homepage, and quickly direct users to the appropriate sections of your site to learn more. Remember, if they can’t immediately identify with the information on your homepage, they may not spend the time to go deeper.

A market-smart website defines your Biomedical Nonprofit’s brand from your audience’s perspective as quickly as possible, and it provides the appropriate usability that is instinctive for each specific audience. If you have questions or need help making your Institution’s website market-smart, contact me by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing

Is Your Biomedical Nonprofit Building a Long-Term Relationship With Donors?

December 8, 2014

4 Leadership Marketing Tactics for Retaining Supporters

As a Biomedical Nonprofit, attracting new donors is always a major goal. But what about retaining the donors you have? The length and quality of your relationship with donors can influence them to include your institution in an endowment or even their will.

Here are 4 Leadership Marketing tactics that can help ensure you are building trust and earning lifetime support:

Be accountable
If you’ve outlined how your Biomedical Nonprofit will use funds, follow through by demonstrating how those dollars were spent. For instance, if you raised funds for an improvement to your facilities, remember to share the results and communicate the positive impact your donors’ contributions had. Doing this on a regular basis will maintain a positive dialogue and give donors the confidence of knowing you respect their giving intentions.

Communicate on their terms
The Internet provides new options for keeping in touch with donors, but it’s not everyone’s preferred method of communication. Understand how donors like to receive information, solicitations and acknowledgements. If you began the donor relationship by mail, don’t assume you can automatically move that conversation/giving behavior online. Give your donors choices, and respect their comfort level.

Involve donors
Avoid including a direct ask in every communication. It is nice to occasionally send updates about how and what your Biomedical Nonprofit is doing without including a little envelope or “donate now” button. This lets donors know that you value their participation as much as their contributions. Of course, you can always direct them online for more information where they will certainly have the opportunity to give, but the real goal is to invite an emotional investment as well as a monetary one.

Show gratitude
This is a simple but critical step in keeping donors on your side for the long-term. Thank them at every opportunity. Let donors know you value their participation in making your institution the scientific leader it is!

Do you have a great story about a long-term relationship with one donor? Whether they are giving large or small amounts, we’d love to hear about it. You can contact me by calling 866-960-9220 or write to me at

Measuring Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Social Media Health

November 17, 2014

Key performance indicators for measuring and optimizing your social media efforts

I am revisiting a great article by Jacqueline Zenn from Social Logic about how to evaluate your brand’s social media health. This is a summary of the article along with some of my own Leadership Marketing tips for effectively using social media for networking and greater consumer engagement.

For many Biomedical Nonprofits, social media is an everyday priority for networking and building consumer engagement. With the endless amount of data available, it’s tough to determine what metrics really matter. How do you measure whether your social media presence is making a difference? Here are a couple of quick and simple tips for monitoring your Institution’s social media health.

Is Your Network Growing?
This is a lead indicator of the consumer awareness of your Biomedical Nonprofit’s brand. How many people are actually talking about your latest research and its impact? Is your social media network growing? A week-by-week or month-by-month tracking system is a good way to measure the overall social media health of your brand.

Monitor Your Share of Voice
Review the total number of mentions of your brand versus competing brands with tools like Social Mention. Monitoring your brand’s share of voice can help determine whether you need to work harder to earn more of the conversation and really own your brand’s USP.

Review Engagements
Social media is a conversation. Every reply or comment you receive on a tweet or blog post can help you understand how people are feeling about your institution and its work. The more you engage, the more likely your audience is to respond, connect with your institution, and ultimately offer their support.

Brand Ambassador Mentions
Track mentions by those you feel are “key influencers” for your brand. Due to their substantial and loyal social media following, influencers can become valuable ambassadors of your brand. As they follow and discuss your latest research, fundraisers or other events, your targeted social communities grow.

Check Referring Traffic
Many social campaigns have the goal of driving traffic to specific places, such as a product page of your website, in hopes of creating greater awareness and inspiring donor gifts. Hopefully if your brand’s media communication is increasing, so will hits to your website or blog. Google Analytics is a great tool for finding out how much traffic is being referred to your Biomedical Nonprofit’s site via other social channels.

Beyond The Numbers
Measuring your social media efforts is not just a numbers game. It’s critical that you also evaluate what people are saying about your Institution. How do they feel about your Biomedical Nonprofit and its work? Are you listening and continuing the conversation effectively?

Have questions about your social media strategy? Contact me by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing To read the full article: 9 Ways to Measure your Brand’s Social Media Health



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers