Katherine Coles started early as an entrepreneur. She started her first business at age 12 offering yard services to her neighborhood. She solidified her reputation when she founded her high school pom pom squad and college sorority chapter, both of which are still in existence today. She later tried her hand at a gift basket service and a color consulting company, and eventually got to Mad Marketeer, her current venture.
Mad Marketeer is an online marketing agency that targets smaller organizations with enough sustainable infrastructures and solid revenues to need marketing solutions, but without the budget to hire a full-scale marketing agency. It provides services that are geared to meet these needs and are packaged into bite-sized, affordable programs perfectly suited for small firms.
Finding a Niche in Nonprofits
Mad Marketeer has found a niche to focus on within smaller to mid-size organizations. This is due in part to Katharine’s life long dedication to “giving back.” From serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused children in Northern Virginia to mentoring inner-city children in Boston to providing inspirational education programs to at-risk children in Southern California, Katharine is committed to improving the community. And she does so at Mad Marketeer by providing corporate solutions for nonprofits at prices they can afford.
Guidestar states there are more than 1.8 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S., including public charities, private foundations and other types of nonprofit organizations. Seventy four percent of all public charities and 83% of all foundations are “small,” meaning they have less than $500,000 in expenses and few paid staff. This is quite a strong target audience for Mad Marketeer to appeal to.
Mad Marketeer has worked almost exclusively with nonprofits since its founding in 2007. Its website division, PowerSite123, has been working with nonprofits for over 14 years. In fact, their flagship program, NonprofitSite123, was developed specifically to meet the website needs of nonprofits as they tend to lead with the heart but struggle due to lack of business understanding.
Mad Marketeer has recently secured two large clients, The Farrah Fawcett Foundation and United Way, both of which are nationally recognized nonprofit organizations. They also released a service assisting nonprofits in managing their Google Grant and have made the shift from project-based pricing to a more retainer-based model, which has proven successful.
What sets them apart from other digital marketing firms is that they go a step further by educating nonprofits and other small businesses on how to make better marketing decisions. This gives their clients a sustainable foundation for furthering the success of their business independently.
A completely bootstrapped venture, they have started looking to become affiliates with companies offering products and services that compliment their own. One such partnership they have launched is with another startup, Zuznow, which offers clients technology to transform websites seamlessly into mobile form factors.
Zuznow, founded by husband and wife team, Racheli and Chen Levkovich, provides a platform for automatically converting websites into a fully reflective mobile website for any device. According to the 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarket Study, mobile listings are growing at about double the rate of email lists, with a median increase of 32% in 2012. Blackbaud and Common Knowledge say 73% of nonprofits allocate half of a full time employee to managing social networking activities and 43% budget $0 for their social networking activities. While non-profit organizations may not always recognize the value of SEO (search engine optimization), blogging, social media or other online marketing tactics, they at least understand the importance of an interactive, functional, easy to navigate, well-designed and easily maintainable website.
With current revenues of over $250K annually, we can expect Mad Marketeer to continue to add value to non-profit marketing in the coming months.
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