"If you build it, they will come" is not necessarily true on the Web. Putting a non profit website up is one thing, but getting visitors to come to it is another. The process becomes even more difficult if you have limited resources to market your cause.
Here are some shoestring marketing ideas that can help you get the visitors you need at the least cost possible:
1. Create the best content you can, showcasing the strongest services you can (or are currently) offering. Your content is your best advertisement – if visitors love your content, then they will go back and spread the word to others.
2. Make it easy for users to recommend your site. Viral marketing is very important — and easy to tap on the Web. But give your users the tools. Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, your visitors can share your mission with their networks. Be sure to include a "like" button or other "share this" buttons on your site. If only 10 people go to your site, but these 10 people invite 10 more – that’s additional traffic that you get for FREE!
3. Rank well in the search engines (organic search results, not the pay per click). Search engines can be a big source of traffic. The key is to create the best content in your niche. If you have good content, and a worthy cause, other websites will gladly link to you and offer your site as a resource to their audience. Check the on-page factors and be sure to get linked from authority sites in your topic area.
4. Send out press releases. If you subscribe to our nonprofit website package, an initial press release is included FREE. While outfits charge as much as $650 per release, there are free press release submission sites on the Web. Press releases allow you to (a) attract media attention; (b) get more back links to your website without sending each website an email request; and (c) get more visibility especially if your press release gets in Google News or Yahoo News.
5. Submit articles. Write articles and submit them to websites accepting author submissions. You get exposure for your nonprofit; it establishes you as an authority in your field, and allows you to get backlinks for your website.
6. Get sites where your target audience gathers to link to you. If you are a non profit working on the health insurance sector, make a list of websites focusing on health insurance and ask them to include you in their resource page. The more links you have, the more visibility you get and the higher your search engine rankings will be.