Digital Marketing for Social Enterprises: Definitive Guide [2023]


This guide to digital marketing for social enterprises, B-corps and ethical and sustainable businesses. We will cover some basics that should help you jump-start your digital marketing and help you build a digital marketing plan to grow your business. 

This guide covers: 

What is digital marketing & eCommerce for social enterprises?

First, let’s define what we mean by digital marketing and eCommerce.

Digital marketing is any marketing activity that takes place in the digital realm. This could include marketing on a website, social media, search engines, or online videos. In 2022 most marketing will have some sort of digital touchpoint. 

eCommerce is simply selling products or services online. This could be just part of your business or your entire business.

Now let’s look at some key concepts that will help you get started with digital marketing for your social enterprise, B-corp, sustainable or ethical business. 

Defining your social enterprise’s digital marketing goals

It’s important to define your marketing goals; what are you hoping to achieve through digital marketing? 

Your goals will depend on your business type and ambitions. If you are engaging in e-commerce, then your goals may relate to making and increasing sales. However, you may also have goals related to your social enterprise’s mission.

Whatever your business goals are, you should define them as SMART goals. 

A SMART goal is a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal.

Here are some examples of SMART goals that may be relevant to an e-commerce brand:

  • Increase the number of customers by 30% within the next year. 
  • Increase the average order value (AOV) by 20% within the next year.
  • Increase the average number of orders a customer makes by 10% within the next year.

And here are some examples of SMART goals that may be relevant to a social enterprise that is also a charity:

  • Have 5 skilled volunteers sign up within the next 6 months.
  • Increase the number of donations by 10% within the next year.

Make sure you write down your goals so you can use them later to measure your success.

Finding your social enterprise’s target audience

Now that your goals are defined, you can think about who you need to target with your digital marketing to reach these goals.

A useful exercise to get inside your audience’s head is to create a set of personas.

What is a persona? 

Creating personas is a marketing exercise where you describe your customer or client. Creating personas can help you better understand your target audiences and figure out how to market to them more effectively.

Personas are given specific details, including names, ages, where they live, and interests.

Here are some examples:

Liz, 38 y.o. Female. She lives in Melbourne’s inner North. Works in the soical services sector. Has two young children.

Motivation: Liz cares about the environment and wants to do more to reduce her impact. However she has a busy life and is time poor. She is willing to spend a little bit more on products or services that are sustainable as long as they fit easily into her life.

Peter, 28 y.o. Male. Lives in Hobart. Works in IT. Is single and has an active social life.

Motivation: Peter loves technology and is interested in the tech sector. He is interested using technology to solve problems and improve peoples lives. He would be excited by the prospect of support a service because it was innovative.

You should create a persona for any group of people who are essential to meeting your marketing goals.

Understand the marketing funnel for social enterprise

Another important concept to get your head around is the marketing funnel.

A marketing funnel is a journey that potential customers take as they move from awareness of a product or service to purchase. It’s called a “funnel” because of the decreasing number of people who make it to each stage of the journey.

At its most simple, a marketing funnel has 3 sections:

Top of funnel (TOFU)

The top of the funnel is where your audience is first exposed to your brand. It’s at the top of the funnel because it’s the earliest stage in their journey, and it’s where you need to introduce your brand and generate interest in your product or service.  

Top-of-funnel activities could include content marketing, social media marketing, or optimising your website for generic searches related to your product, service, or your social enterprise’s area of impact. These activities are designed to reach new audiences and introduce them to your business.

Middle of funnel (MOFU)

The middle of the funnel is the stage where your audience is starting to engage with your brand. They may have become aware of your social enterprise through top-of-funnel activities, and now they’re interested in learning more about what you offer and how you are making a difference.

Middle-of-funnel activities include lead generation, collecting people’s contact details, and sending them a series of welcome emails. These activities are designed to build relationships and trust between you are your audience. 

Bottom of funnel (BOFU)

The bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is when your audience is finally ready to become customers. They’ve progressed through your marketing funnel, and they now know who you are, and understand how your products can benefit them.

Some bottom-of-funnel activities include email marketing campaigns with direct sales asks or Facebook Ads and Google Search ads. 

Your bottom-of-funnel activities should be the final step to achieving the goals that you have defined for your marketing.

Choosing effective digital channels to market your social enterprise

Now that you have your SMART goals defined, the target audience in mind (your personas) and an understanding of the marketing funnel, it is time to think about what channel and activities you will use for your marketing. 

It might be tempting to focus all your efforts on bottom-of-funnel activities. And if this is the first time you focus on your marketing, there may be some quick ways to achieve results.

However, you should undertake activities for each stage of the funnel; otherwise, you may start as your audience will stop moving down the funnel, and you won’t have new people to deliver your MoFu and BoFu marketing to.  

Start by brainstorming a bunch of ideas of digital marketing ideas. Keep your audience personas in front of mind. Where do they hang out online? How do they find information online and discover new products or services? 

At this point, there are no bad ideas just think of all the ways you might be able to reach your target audience at each stage of the funnel. 

Then it is time to assess your ideas and decide which activities to undertake. Be sure to consider the financial cost, the time it will take to deliver them, and the expected results. 

There is no reason you need to reinvent the wheel; if your audience spends time on Facebook and uses Google to find information focusing on those channels is probably a great idea.

Create a measurement plan for your social enterprise

You should measure the success of your digital marketing for your social enterprise, B-corp or ethical or sustainable business. One of the significant strengths of digital marketing is its measurability. 

Create a measurement plan to outline how you will measure your results. It may sound scary, but a measurement plan is just a document that outlines how your business will track and measure the success of its marketing campaigns; it can be simple. 

The plan should include your goals and metrics that indicate people might be heading towards completing those goals.

You may want to include metrics for each phase of the funnel, so that you can keep track of how your audience is moving along your funnel.

Here are some examples of metrics you could track for each stage of the funnel:

  • ToFu metrics: social reach, organic traffic from generic terms
  • MoFu metrics: returned website visitors, leads generated, social engagement
  • BoFu metrics: number of sales, the average order value, cost per sale

Still need help?

As you have probably figured out, digital marketing for social enterprises is a big topic, and this blog post couldn’t possibly cover it all. But hopefully, it has pointed you in the right direction to start your marketing journey. 

Sometimes making the most of your limited time and resource means outsourcing some of your marketing to skilled professionals like us. Get in touch to find out more about our ethical and sustainable marketing consultancy.

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