Reimagine End of Life Workshop 2: Building your Digital Home, Marketing Tools & Platforms for Getting StartedFeb 22, 2021
Demystify Your Marketing Tool Options and Give You a Clear Path Forward Based on Where You Are Today
We're going to dive into the top marketing tools and resources available. We'll cover three levels of expertise for each topic covered and hopefully will help you with your online marketing whether you are just starting or fine-tuning your strategy.
1. Basic Website Builders
The goal of building a website is to create a digital home base for you and your work.
Starter Option: Wix
If you’re starting out and would like a free option for building your site, Wix is currently the front-runner. Their free model does have ads, but if you start out and like their format, you can upgrade for about $13/month to remove the ads.
You will have design limitations with Wix, but for a simple site with relatively little stress, Wix is a great place to start.
Intermediate Option: Squarespace
If you are looking for a more refined design experience, and you’re not committed to starting with a free option, you may want to consider Squarespace. Squarespace also offers more options for e-Commerce if you plan to have transactions run through your site. However, one drawback is that it is not as user-friendly to design with as Wix.
Squarespace’s pricing starts at $12/month, but the second tier at $18/month offers a few nice upgrades including a professional Google email address, meaning you can have an email address associated with your domain (so, for example, [email protected] instead of [email protected]).
Advanced Option: Wordpress or Webflow
If you want a more robust, custom site, Wordpress or Webflow are going to be better options. If you are just getting started, we would not recommend these platforms because not only do they require more development expertise to set them up well, but the frequent updates that Wordpress pushes out can easily cause significant glitches in your site if you don’t have a developer on hand to monitor and tweak your site with each update.
When our clients are deciding between the two, we encourage Webflow over Wordpress - especially if they are open to support from a developer. Webflow has greater design flexibility, cleaner code, and a more user friendly CMS. The downside of Webflow is that there can be a steeper learning curve with the initial design, and it’s a newer, lesser known platform than Wordpress.
2. Social Media Marketing Tools
The goal of social media is to increase your exposure, build awareness, and nurture an audience to guide them toward behavior that improves the end of life experience for all.
Starter Option: LinkTree
The starter tool we're going to recommend today is Link Tree, which is a free tool for Instagram. Instagram has a thriving end-of-life community presence, so this tool is a simple place to start.
Link Tree was created because unlike Facebook posts, Instagram does not allow you to share a clickable link in your post. So, for example, if you write a blog post on your website and want to share it on Instagram, your only options are to simply tell them to visit your website or send them to the generic link in your profile.
This is problematic for a few reasons. One, the best marketing tactics are those that have minimal friction. You need to do everything you can to make engaging with your content as easy as possible. People scrolling through social are often busy, distracted, and impatient. If they have to search for your website or, once they arrive on your website, if they have to search for your blog post, you will lose their interest before they interact with the content that you spent so much time creating.
Link Tree allows you to create a custom link in your profile that takes visitors to a landing page where all links you reference in your posts will show up. That way, as you add content, events, booking links, etc. over time, they are all in one place that’s easy for your Instagram community to access.
Intermediate Option: Buffer
If you’re tired of loading your posts manually, one at a time, you may want to consider a social media scheduler.
Most of our clients prefer Buffer for scheduling social media because it’s user friendly and they offer a free version. Buffer helps you batch your work and schedule multiple posts at one time to not only help you save time, but also ensure you’re posting on a consistent schedule. Consistency is a key element in growing your audience online.
The free plan allows you to post for up to 3 different platforms (so you could share on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels, for example). You also have an option to upgrade and enjoy more tools including access to analytics.
Advanced Option: Sprout Social
If you want a social media scheduling tool and also want more robust analytics options, Sprout Social may be a better option. We're including this as an “advanced” option not because it’s difficult to use, but more because it’s a higher investment and also takes more time to get what you need out of the tool.
In addition to better reporting options on your individual accounts, it also offers chatbot creation, social listening, and trend monitoring as well.
3. Basic Collateral Design Tools
The goal of using basic collateral design tools is to connect with, nurture, and convert your audience through visual storytelling without the cost of an outside designer.
Starter Option: Canva
Canva is a widely-used online design tool that allows you to create quality designs on your own. Their options and templates range from simple social media posts all the way to longer reports, presentations, and print materials. You also get access to limited options of stock images.
Their basic version is free, but if you would like further customization options, more access to images and editing tools, there are paid versions as well. If you have the time and patience to work with Canva, it can be substantial cost savings for your marketing - especially as you’re just starting out.
Intermediate Option: Prezi and Animoto
If you’re in a good spot with simple designs, you may want to consider adding in some short video. According to Hubspot, 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video, and that’s just one statistic in a sea of compelling statistics about the power of video marketing.
Prezi and Animoto are two great options for getting started. If your videos are more content and information heavy, I would recommend Prezi. If you want to create videos that are more geared toward storytelling or relaying short, engaging education, Animoto will likely be a better choice.
It’s worth noting that Canva also offers video templates, so if you’re already using that tool for design, it’s an easy way to experiment with video as well.
Advanced Option: Adobe Creative Studio
For an advanced option, it’s hard to beat Adobe Creative Suite. This is the go-to software for most marketing agencies and professional designers. It offers a wide range of tools with Photoshop, illustrator, and InDesign being a few of the most commonly used.
We have this listed as an advanced option because not only is it more of an investment, but the learning curve can also be pretty steep for their products. We would only recommend this route if you have some level of experience, as well as the time to pour into honing your skills. Otherwise, you may find yourself frustrated, hours later, with an image that could have been created in Canva in just a few minutes.
4. Online Groups and Networking
The goal of joining online groups and networking is to connect with others in our space, learn from one another, and explore partnerships that can increase our collective impact.
Starter Option: Facebook
The easiest way to get started here is Facebook. We're sure we all have a lot of mixed feelings about the platform, so of course it’s a personal choice. However, as of right now, there are more Facebook groups for death doulas, grief therapists, etc. than on any of platform we're aware of. These groups are great for connecting with others, staying up to date on news in your specific field, and connecting for potential support and partnership.
Intermediate Option: Near
If you’re ready to go beyond learning and networking and move into sharing and booking services, we’ll put a personal plug in here for Near. Near provides a full-service booking platform for connecting with new clients, scheduling services, and collecting payments. We created Near to help make doing the work you love easier, so that those who need your services most get the support they need. You can register for free today at StayNear.co.
Advanced Option: Paid Events
Paid events are another category that we're including here as an “advanced” option, not because they are difficult, but rather because they are often a greater investment of time. Educational and networking events are common, so we encourage you to search for events in your area of expertise. One example we'll share here is an upcoming event by Doula Givers, the first Death Doula Global Summit that begins November 16.
5. Email Marketing Options
The goal of email marketingg is to nurture your community and convert your audience on a platform that you own.
Starter Option: MailChimp
If you’re getting started with email marketing, chances are you’ve considered MailChimp. It’s one of the most popular options on the market for small business email management, it’s fairly easy to use, and there is a free version available.
If you’re dipping your toes in and do not anticipate growing your list quickly, this is likely a good fit for you. It is worth noting that MailChimp does not make as much financial sense as your list continues to grow, because the functionalities do not necessarily grow as the cost grows with your list count.
Intermediate Option: ActiveCampaign
If you are going to pay for an email service, even if your list is really small right now, I would suggest going with ActiveCampaign over Mailchimp. Even if you don’t need all of the functionality right now, you’ll be well set up for the next steps and you will not have to redo any of your foundational elements, tagging, etc for your list if you transfer later.
ActiveCampaign gives you an opportunity to build more custom, complex automations that help you connect with your list members in very personalized ways based not only on their basic information but also on their behavior and interaction with your communications. I have a helpful resource we’ll email out after this webinar that will walk you through how to best set up your account if you go this route.
We truly believe that ActiveCampaign will suit anyone's needs beyond the starters. There is an option to use Salesforce for larger operations but is more for larger enterprises.
If this feels overwhelming, the important thing to remember is you do not need to do all of this at once, and you may not even need to do all of it - ever. The goal here was to show different options to help you see what resonates, and have an idea for future planning. You do not need to go out and implement all of this now.
If you do not currently have a website, I encourage you to go ahead and get a very simple website that up. Not only do you own that platform (as opposed to only have a presence on Facebook, for example), but the sooner you get a simple site up the sooner you will start seeing SEO (search engine optimization) benefits and the sooner you will be able to get search traffic from Google organically.
After that, the best next step is really up to you. What is most helpful, what fits your personality and activity both online and offline? Take some time to think about these things and pick just one thing today, and the rest will come in time.
This is the second in a series of three marketing workshops hosted by Reimagine. We recommend you begin with this video and follow along in order.
- What is Your Story? Clarifying Your Brand Messaging
- Building Your Digital Home: Marketing Tools & Platforms for Getting Started
- How Do I Grow My Email List? Building Your Online Community