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‘Pokemon Go’ and Your Nonprofit

July 14th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising, Marketing, Social Media

Gotta catch ‘em all!

No, we’re not talking about Pokemon. We’re talking about all these new faces exploring your area in search of Pokemon.

Everyone and their moms are on “Pokemon Go.” (No, really—my mom has it, too.)

And the data backs that up.

According to data from SensorTower, the free, augmented reality game that lets users find various Pokémon out in the real world has been downloaded nearly 7.5 million times from Google Play and the iOS App Store in the U.S., TechCrunch reported.

That is a whole lot of people who are getting outside, discovering new areas and meeting new faces. So how can your nonprofit use this rocketing app to its benefit?

Follow your fellow nonprofits’ lead: Embrace the hype. Getting more people to stop by means you have that many more people to introduce your cause to.

Beth Kanter rounded up a great collection of how nonprofits have been using the game to their advantage. Here’s what we took away from their efforts.

1. Download the app and showcase the Pokémon near your location.

The hunt is on. Wannabe Pokémon Masters are looking for Pokémon wherever they go. Actually, they specifically are going places just to look for them. Posting a picture with Pokemon you’ve found on your own grounds will let gamers know they should stop by (and that you’re hip enough to have downloaded the app).

Who can you nab a selfie with on the National Mall? The Washington Monument has hosted singers like Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, Odetta and now… ‪#‎Jigglypuff‬? Come out to sing your own song, catch ‘em all and ‪#‎FindYourPark‬. You never know who you’ll run into!
While you’re hunting Pokémon, we choose you… to take a selfie with your faves and post your pic here! Remember to be respectful of the memorials and other visitors, but share your Pokémon victories with a ‪#‎pokeselfie‬ at the ‪#‎nationalmall‬! Gotta catch them all? More like gotta catch the Mall!

 

All 92nd Street Y dance classes, art classes and May Center gym classes can safely resume. We captured the Rattata that was outside Buttenwieser Hall. ‪#‎PokemonGo‬
 

Seriously, don’t you want to visit the National Mall and the 92nd Street Y now? (We also want to go to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and hang out with Pikachu.)

2. If your location is a PokeStop, embrace it.

If your location has been designated a Pokestop, a place of interest where users can stock up on Pokeballs—and snacks and medicines for their captures, you probably already have seen an increase in traffic. Users naturally will want to visit your location. View this as an opportunity, not a nuisance.

 

The Art Institute of Chicago
Pokémon have invaded the Art Institute! Catch them if you can and find 14 PokéStops in and around the museum. ‪#‎PokemonGO‬
The Art Institute of Chicago's portrait.
The Art Institute of Chicago's portrait.
The Art Institute of Chicago's portrait.
The Art Institute of Chicago's portrait.

Not only are we the stop for all of your community philanthropy needs, but we’re also a Pokestop for all you ‪#‎PokemonGO‬ players out there! Come visit us and stock up!

 

For those organizations that want to draw extra attention and visitors to their locations—say, for instance, when their hosting charity events or special programs—there is the “Lure Module.” The in-game item is available for purchase and attracts additional Pokemon to the location for 30 minutes. And people go where the Pokemon go.

Not a Pokestop? According to Forbes, those locations were pre-determined by the developer, Niantic Labs, but with the huge, immediate success of the app, it may just be a matter of time before it becomes a new marketing opportunity.

3. Find creative ways to integrate your cause into the game.

Now, your organization probably isn’t Pokemon-centric, but, as you’ve seen, that doesn’t need to stop you from joining the fun.

One of the biggest benefits of the game is that it’s pushing people to be more active. After all, they have to go to the physical location to catch a Pokemon. (“Pokemon Go” players who also wear Fitbits love life right now.)

One Facebook user pointed out that this is the perfect opportunity to encourage gamers (and cause supporters) to download WoofTrax, an app that donates to animal shelters whenever its user walks with or without his or her dog, ATTN reported. While the apps aren’t related, they can be used at the same time—melding the exercise of hunting for Pokemon with giving back.

Two days ago, I received an email that shared a similar sentiment from Charity Miles, an app that let’s users earn money for various charities while on the move. In fact, the whole purpose of the email was to encourage the user to join the “Pokemon Go” Challenge. Through the challenge, not only are users earning money for charities, but when they take a screenshot of a Pokemon sighting on their walks, upload it to the app and share it on social media, they are entered to win a Charity Miles T-shirt.

Pokemon Go Charity Miles

The Durham Bulls, a Triple-A affiliate for the Tampa Bay Rays, also came up with a fun way to give back. Yesterday, they opened up their park for fans to search the stadium for Pokemon, CBS Sports reported. It cost $5 to enter—and all proceeds went to a pet adoption charity.

By Allison Ebner
NonProfit Pro magazine
July 14, 2016

Retarget Acquired: 5 Ways to Target the Right People With the Right Digital Marketing

June 16th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Email, Marketing, Website

Marketers often treat random website visitors as “anonymous,” but they’re not. In fact, every computer that visits your site is individually identified by its IP address. Every anonymous email has the potential to be reversed. And when you employ digital marketing identification and validation tools with your targeting data, you can do some amazing things.

1. Identify Hashed Email Addresses

Not all email addresses come in easy-to-read packages. Some are “hashed” — encrypted using a hexadecimal key that returns a string of numbers, but keeps the original email address private. This can be an essential step in ensuring the privacy of your audience data, but at some point you need to actually use the information in your targeting.

If you can identify consumers through their hashed emails, you can match them back to profiles in your database and continue to treat those hashed emails with the same personalized marketing as openly logged-in customers.

2. Email Validation

Sometimes, even the non-hashed emails are difficult to work with. Who knows how long ago that customer registered with you, or if the person used their regular email address or a fake. Since emailing bad addresses can lead to serious spam issues, not to mention wasted email, being able to validate those addresses on the fly is essential.

There are five essential types of errors you should validate against:

  • Email Correction: Misspellings and typos should be caught and corrected.
  • Syntax Checker: Invalid email formats should be identified and corrected where possible.
  • Spam Suppression: Keep known spam traps, honeypot addresses and complainers off your list.
  • Mailbox Check: Check if your messages to each mailbox are being delivered, or if they’re hard bouncing or soft bouncing.
  • Global Domain Check: Confirm up-to-date, accurate status of all email domains, so you’re not mailing to a honeypot.

3. Digital Identity Validation

Again, digital visitors are not as anonymous as you might think. You can install a layer of validation at the conversion point to empower your lead validation and fraud prevention initiatives.

These checks allow you to quickly verify online information to determine eligibility for an offer, validity of a transaction or identification of multi-channel contact information. For example, you can choose to validate data in an online contact form or at point-of-sale to further protect your business interests. Verify name, address, telephone number, email address or a combination of input data for optimal online fraud prevention.

4. E-append and Reverse Append

Unfortunately, many customers will not update their profile with you when they have a change of email address, physical address or other life event. So how can you stay up to date on the prodigal customer?

E-append is a data service that allows you to add email addresses to the data you have on current customers or prospects. A flexible matching algorithm allows you to not only find other email addresses they use, but logically choose which email address is best for your company to continue using.

Likewise, reverse append services allow you to append real-world data to people you may only know as email addresses. This allows you to target those consumers in direct mail and telemarketing campaigns. It can also provide a wealth of other demographic and targeting data for you to further refine the messages they’re getting, and where they get them.

5. IP Recognition and Retargeting

As mentioned above, every computer has a unique IP address. Recognizing and tracking those visitors may help you to increase your digital conversion rates by identifying behavior in real-time, based on the IP address. It’s really straightforward to find this information.  Use a simple web analytics solution that captures visitor data in parallel with IP addresses. Something inexpensive and simple like Clicky.com will get the job done. That information can be used in conjunction with a retargeting partner to serve targeted ads as the visitor IP appears on various other websites.

In some instances it may be possible to capture and append multi-channel contact, behavioral and lifestyle information to IP addresses of online visitors. Use this information to immediately personalize the consumer’s online experience, create personalized retargeting campaigns beyond your website, or identify and append alternative contact information to their record, including name, postal address, phone numbers and email addresses.

http://brianlacy.com/marketing-and-communication#e-mail-appending

http://brianlacy.com/data-and-wealth#data-services

By Infutor
April 19, 2016
Target Marketing Magazine

The Math Behind not Segmenting or Personalizing Direct Mail

December 23rd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Direct Mail, Fundraising

Dear Current Reader,

Sounds very inspiring doesn’t it. In fact, the research at Haines-Direct would show that personalization increases direct mail response rates by up to 10%. So instead of getting 50 people to read this article, I could’ve gotten 55 readers if your name was on it….shoot!

Since the only metric that matters with direct mail is ROI, let’s turn the 10% into a numbers game. Say you normally get 100 responses with no personalization. With personalization, the same letter can generate 110 responses. If your average gift per response is $40, then you just made $400 by putting a name on a solicitation.

The same math can be applied to direct mail segmentation. I’ve heard many organizations that send the same message to everybody, regardless of their relationship with the donor. Here’s the perception when receiving an un-segmented mail piece:

“Did they even realize my last gift?”

“Do they not notice that I donate at this time every year?”

According to research through hundreds of individual direct mail campaigns, Haines-Direct has experienced an average of an 8% increase in response when using segmentation.

If you normally send out 20,000 direct mail pieces, get a 2% response with an average gift of $40, then you would receive $16,000. With an 8% boost to response by adding segmentation, your response would move to 2.16%, thus increasing your total collections to $17,280.

Examples of segmentation would include:

  • Developing copy depending on when they last donated. For example, having the same introduction to donors who donated to the holiday appeal, but not the spring appeal
  • Adding additional copy thanking donors who have donated to the brick-a-thon, walk-a-thon, or phone-a-thon
  • Acknowledging where the donor made their last gift. Donors can donate through direct mail, through the phone, online, or in person.
  • Some donors want frequent communications from your organization, while others want an infrequent volume. Regardless of the frequency, all donors are valuable
  • There is a wealth of information in current research about generational giving trends. Most of this information provides strategies and tactics for targeting or segmenting your fundraising efforts toward these generational donors. The four main generations are: Matures, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y (or Millennials).
http://brianlacy.com/consulting-services#annual-giving-consulting

http://brianlacy.com/solicitations-and-appeals#direct-mail-appeals

September 8, 2015
By Greg Palya
Haines Direct – Direct Marketing Solutions for NonProfits

Laser-Focused Direct Mail With Personas

December 15th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Direct Mail, Fundraising

The best way to increase your chances of great response is to mail to people who are interested in your product or service. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective is to create personas.

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Many marketers are familiar with personas in their inbound or digital marketing, but for some reason have not applied them to their direct mail campaigns.

Benefits of Buyer Personas:

  1. Ability to target the right people for each message — send them only offers that they are interested in.
  2. Increase response — better offers equal a better response rate.
  3. Ability to find more prospects like your current customers — when you profile other people you can match them accurately to your current customers.

By creating buyer personas, you can identify who your ideal customers are, where they are and what they want. When you combine this with variable data direct mail you can laser focus your message to each individual based on that person’s persona while getting the benefits of postal discounts for mailing a larger quantity rather than doing a separate mailing for each persona.

We get asked many times, how can we create personas? Here are a few ways you can start researching:

  • Interview or survey current customers — create questions that answer what you need to know in order to build your personas.
  • Review LinkedIn profiles — try to find the common themes between each of your customers.
  • Ask questions on social media — this can give you a larger pool than just your customers, but be careful to fully vet each person responding before you add their input to your research.

After your research there are some best practices for building your personas:

  1. Focus on motives not behavior. Why are they doing what they are doing?
  2. Keep them fictional, but be as realistic as possible. Do not base them off of your most important customer, this can give you a skewed result.
  3. Choose one primary persona, this should be the group of people that will make you the most money.
  4. Create a story for each persona that is explained in five segments:
    • What is their job and demographics?
    • What does a day in their life look like?
    • What are their challenges or pain points?
    • How do they search for information?
    • What are their common objections to your product or service?

There are two big benefits to adding personas to your direct mail. The first is that you can save money on services and postage — and since direct mail’s biggest expense is postage, you can save a lot by not mailing to people who are not interested in what you are offering. The second is by getting more people to respond because they are interested in your offer. So, while you are saving money you are also making more money. It is a win-win situation!

Have you tried using personas in your direct mail? How has it worked for you?

http://brianlacy.com/solicitations-and-appeals#direct-mail-appeals


Target Marketing magazine

Don’t Overcomplicate Year-End Fundraising

December 11th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Annual Giving, Direct Mail, Fundraising

You’ve got a little less than a month left before the bells toll announcing the end of 2015. For most fundraisers, that’s a time for balancing efforts—to end the year strong in terms of income, to use up accrued vacation, to be cheerful at the company party and to keep up on work so 2016 fundraising doesn’t fizzle before Valentine’s Day.

Here are five ways to stay focused on what matters in these final days of 2015 while still having time for holiday cheer.

1. Set realistic goals for December. It’s better to do some things well than plan to do everything by Dec. 31—but never get anything executed. A good mailing on Dec. 11 beats a great mailing that never gets past the planning stage. Especially in a small shop, accept that you can’t do everything; instead, do something, but make sure it’s something that matters.

2. Review your year-end donor communications and make sure the focus is on the donor, not your organization. When I was being nosy, my dad used to say, “This isn’t to you, for you or about you.” Unfortunately, too much year-end fundraising isn’t to, for or about the donor. “We have had a good year. We did this and that. I am so proud of all we have accomplished.” Where’s the donor in that? The formula for success in fundraising is not “What we do + your money = success.” If the donor isn’t front and center in your fundraising messaging, rewrite it until he or she has the starring role.

3. Set aside anything that catches your eye—in the mail or online. You may not have time to digest these pieces now, but think of them as free training for later in 2016. These samples sometimes are called a “swap file” because you can swap ideas from them. Sometime in 2016 when you are creatively coming up dry, the subject line that you actually noticed in the midst of the holiday-email clutter or that envelope that stood out from the rest of the mail can trigger a great idea that gets your own creativity flowing. Two ideas for jump-starting or expanding your own swap file:

  • Donate to organizations you admire from a fundraising standpoint. Then watch what they are doing and when they are doing it. You can’t assume everything they do is “best practice,” but you can see how others treat and communicate with donors and learn from that.
  • Consider a holiday gift to yourself of a subscription to Who’s Mailing What!, the ultimate swap file, collected and categorized for you.

4. Call some large donors from earlier in the year who haven’t given in the last four to 11 months, thank them and give them a report on what their gifts did that made a difference. Don’t ask. Just thank and report. Then see if it makes a difference in their year-end giving. (Don’t wait until Dec. 30 to do this; you want to give them enough time to make a gift after they get over the shock of being thanked and receiving a verbal report on impact.)

5. Celebrate your success in 2015. Fundraising is a train that never ends (unless the organization goes out of business). You did some great things this year; I know you did! Don’t wait for someone else to point them out and thank you for your amazing efforts. Look back at your favorite mailing and the one that raised the most (not always the same). Pull up that great e-news or e-blast you sent. If you were a kid, what would you want posted on the refrigerator door for all to see? Create your own virtual refrigerator door and take time to say “Well done!” to yourself.

Dec. 31 will come, no matter what we do. And this old dog knows that you won’t get everything done that you (or your boss) would like to see accomplished. But stay focused on what matters—your donor and your mission—and forgive yourself if other things get neglected. Choosing that new computer system or printer can wait until 2016.

NonProfit PRO magazine

http://brianlacy.com/consulting-services#annual-giving-consulting

http://brianlacy.com/solicitations-and-appeals#phonathon-campaigns

http://brianlacy.com/solicitations-and-appeals#direct-mail-appeals

 

IoF ban on data-selling will hurt charities that use direct mail, says head of agency DM Focus

December 7th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Direct Mail, Fundraising

Adrian Williams tells Third Sector that the move ‘goes above and beyond’ the Data Protection Act and means there would be no grace period for charities to use data gathered more than six months before.

The Institute of Fundraising’s ban on charities selling supporters’ data and on sharing data without consent from donors within the six months before they do so is likely have a significant effect on the ability of smaller charities to use direct mail effectively, the head of the direct marketing agency DM Focus has said.

Adrian Williams, managing director of the agency, which helps charities to buy and share donor lists, told Third Sector today that the IoF’s recent announcement that it would change the Code of Fundraising Practice so that charities could no longer sell data or share it without valid consent had taken him by surprise.

“The way the IoF has gone about it is retrospective,” he said, referring to the IoF’s endorsement of the Information Commissioner’s direct marketing guidance on third-party consent. “I never thought that would happen. It never has before; they have stepped into a very dangerous position because this recommendation goes above and beyond the Data Protection Act.”

The ICO’s guidance says that if an organisation is making contact by phone, text or email for the first time, it should not rely on any indirect consent given more than six months ago.

Williams said this meant that there would be no grace period for charities in which they could use data they had gathered more than six months before.

“The selling and swapping of data has massive implications for the sector,” said Williams. “If this change goes through, it would have a massive impact on smaller charities that rely on purchasing charity data to get direct mail to work. Many charities are not too sure where to go.”

Williams, who also spoke to Third Sector before the IoF’s announcement earlier this month, had previously said that an IoF prohibition on the sharing of donor lists without express consent would have an insignificant impact on data-sharing compared with the EU data protection laws that are expected to come into force in the next 12 months.

But today he said: “I think that this has a much larger impact than the EU rules, which might change. Many charities purchase data, so this announcement will have big consequences for them.”

He said that reciprocal transactions – where charities swap lists using services such as the Reciprocate programme run by the list broker ResponseOne – would be “wiped off the agenda”.

Williams, who recognised direct mail distributed by his company in photographs of Olive Cooke surrounded by charity mailings in the Daily Mail, estimated that almost two-thirds of charities that fundraised by direct mail bought lists of potential donors, about 10 per cent exchanged their donor lists with other charities and about 3 per cent sold or rented these lists to third parties.

Speaking to Third Sector in early September, he said that the EU regulations – which at their most extreme could forbid organisations from contacting, profiling and tracking an individual’s cookies online without their consent – would have a significant detrimental effect on the number of lists available as well as on fundraising income, which could cause some charities to close down.

He said such rules could lead to unscrupulous practices if marketers felt the legislation was too restrictive. “Some rogue organisations could say: I’m going to mail from India and get some 12-year-old boy to write my copy,” he said.

Williams said that international development charities in particular would have good cause to post their direct mail from developing countries in order to circumvent EU or UK rules. “They wouldn’t need to worry about any legislation because they’re not writing from the UK,” he said. “Most charities would adhere to the rules but you might find some wouldn’t.

“We shouldn’t apologise for what we’re doing. We’re doing it because it works, because it makes money and because it allows us to offer the services that the government doesn’t put onto the market.”

He also questioned whether the public really found direct mail an irritation, saying they could just “chuck it on the fire” if they did not like it.

A spokesman for the IoF said that in order for fundraising to be successful and sustainable in the long-term all potential supporters needed to have confidence in how charities used their data.

“Moving towards sharing data where the individual has ‘opted in’ by giving informed consent will mean people feel more in control over the fundraising communications they receive,” he said.

He said the Code of Fundraising Practice set standards for fundraising that went beyond minimum legal requirements. “This is one area where we need to raise the bar to ensure that fundraising practice meets the expectations of the public,” he said. “We know that the Information Commissioner’s Office is to produce guidance on informed consent and the timescales of valid consent to help fundraisers understand how to manage data appropriately.”

28 September 2015
By Susannah Birkwood
Third Sector

http://brianlacy.com/solicitations-and-appeals#direct-mail-appeals

 

 

IoF ban on data-selling will hurt charities that use direct mail

December 3rd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Direct Mail, Fundraising

 

Adrian Williams tells Third Sector that the move ‘goes above and beyond’ the Data Protection Act and means there would be no grace period for charities to use data gathered more than six months before

Data-sharing: will charities suffer from new rules?
Data-sharing: will charities suffer from new rules?

 

The Institute of Fundraising’s ban on charities selling supporters’ data and on sharing data without consent from donors within the six months before they do so is likely have a significant effect on the ability of smaller charities to use direct mail effectively, the head of the direct marketing agency DM Focus has said.

Adrian Williams, managing director of the agency, which helps charities to buy and share donor lists, told Third Sector today that the IoF’s recent announcement that it would change the Code of Fundraising Practice so that charities could no longer sell data or share it without valid consent had taken him by surprise.

“The way the IoF has gone about it is retrospective,” he said, referring to the IoF’s endorsement of the Information Commissioner’s direct marketing guidance on third-party consent. “I never thought that would happen. It never has before; they have stepped into a very dangerous position because this recommendation goes above and beyond the Data Protection Act.”

The ICO’s guidance says that if an organisation is making contact by phone, text or email for the first time, it should not rely on any indirect consent given more than six months ago.

Williams said this meant that there would be no grace period for charities in which they could use data they had gathered more than six months before.

“The selling and swapping of data has massive implications for the sector,” said Williams. “If this change goes through, it would have a massive impact on smaller charities that rely on purchasing charity data to get direct mail to work. Many charities are not too sure where to go.”

Williams, who also spoke to Third Sector before the IoF’s announcement earlier this month, had previously said that an IoF prohibition on the sharing of donor lists without express consent would have an insignificant impact on data-sharing compared with the EU data protection laws that are expected to come into force in the next 12 months.

But today he said: “I think that this has a much larger impact than the EU rules, which might change. Many charities purchase data, so this announcement will have big consequences for them.”

He said that reciprocal transactions – where charities swap lists using services such as the Reciprocate programme run by the list broker ResponseOne – would be “wiped off the agenda”.

Williams, who recognised direct mail distributed by his company in photographs of Olive Cooke surrounded by charity mailings in the Daily Mail, estimated that almost two-thirds of charities that fundraised by direct mail bought lists of potential donors, about 10 per cent exchanged their donor lists with other charities and about 3 per cent sold or rented these lists to third parties.

Speaking to Third Sector in early September, he said that the EU regulations – which at their most extreme could forbid organisations from contacting, profiling and tracking an individual’s cookies online without their consent – would have a significant detrimental effect on the number of lists available as well as on fundraising income, which could cause some charities to close down.

He said such rules could lead to unscrupulous practices if marketers felt the legislation was too restrictive. “Some rogue organisations could say: I’m going to mail from India and get some 12-year-old boy to write my copy,” he said.

Williams said that international development charities in particular would have good cause to post their direct mail from developing countries in order to circumvent EU or UK rules. “They wouldn’t need to worry about any legislation because they’re not writing from the UK,” he said. “Most charities would adhere to the rules but you might find some wouldn’t.

“We shouldn’t apologise for what we’re doing. We’re doing it because it works, because it makes money and because it allows us to offer the services that the government doesn’t put onto the market.”

He also questioned whether the public really found direct mail an irritation, saying they could just “chuck it on the fire” if they did not like it.

A spokesman for the IoF said that in order for fundraising to be successful and sustainable in the long-term all potential supporters needed to have confidence in how charities used their data.

“Moving towards sharing data where the individual has ‘opted in’ by giving informed consent will mean people feel more in control over the fundraising communications they receive,” he said.

He said the Code of Fundraising Practice set standards for fundraising that went beyond minimum legal requirements. “This is one area where we need to raise the bar to ensure that fundraising practice meets the expectations of the public,” he said. “We know that the Information Commissioner’s Office is to produce guidance on informed consent and the timescales of valid consent to help fundraisers understand how to manage data appropriately.”

By Susannah Birkwood
28 September 2015
Third Sector

Gmail’s New ‘Block,’ ‘Unsubscribe’ Buttons

November 27th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email, Marketing, Social Media

Email marketers trying to reach the coveted Gmail inbox are going to have to work a little harder and a lot smarter. On Tuesday, Gmail debuted “block” buttons and this week Android users will see the “unsubscribe” option available in their apps for unwanted email.

“Sometimes you get mail from someone who’s really disruptive,” writes Sri Harsha Somanchi, product manager, in a Tuesday post on the Official Gmail Blog. “Hopefully it doesn’t happen often — but when it does, you should be able to say, ‘Never see messages from this person again.’ That’s why you can now block specific email addresses in Gmail — starting today on the Web, and over the next week on Android. Future mail will go to the spam folder (and you can always unblock in Settings).”

By Thursday, Jess Nelson published five tips on MediaPost for marketers who need to become more Gmail-friendly. “Marketing Tips: Avoiding Gmail’s New Block Button” says marketers can:

  • Provide Relevant Content. Marketing thought leaders have been beating this drum for awhile, but now it’s — ahem — more relevant to them to be clear and concise for recipients.
  • Communicate Only to Recipients Who Have Requested It. Opt-in lists sound good, no?
  • Make the Unsubscribe Process Easy. Make this button easy to find—not buried at the bottom of the message. [Editor’s note: In a seemingly useless metric to many direct marketers, Nelson’s piece says an unsubscribe in a marketer’s message also counts as a click. Well, yes, but … perhaps it’s better to think of it as not being reported as spam. A deliverability and reputation enhancement, rather than a click.]
  • Reputation Matters. This is where Nelson says spam complaints can ruin a sender’s reputation.
  • Study, Learn and Grow. Studying “block” and “unsubscribe” statistics can also help marketers understand which content resonates with recipients and which content ends up being what Somanchi terms “disruptive.”
By Heather Fletcher

5 Reasons Why Social Media Buttons Hurt Nonprofit Websites

November 20th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Social Media, Website

That little row of social media buttons has become a ubiquitous feature of most websites. After all, it’s good to show off that you’re social, and that there are channels where you can interact directly with stakeholders.

But is your website header or sidebar the best place to show that off?

Here are five reasons why having social media buttons on your nonprofit’s website might do more harm than good:

1) They send visitors away from your website

Honestly, I could stop here.

Just think about this empirically for a moment: you spend a ton of time and money driving people to your website. They arrive on your homepage or a landing page, only to have multiple exit paths via a social media button. Is leaving your website really what you want them to do?

Yes, the buttons could be configured to open a new browser tab or window, but they’re still not looking at your website.

And yes, they could visit Facebook or Twitter and follow/like you, giving you the ability to communicate to them, but that’s quite a large leap to assume that conversion is going to happen, even if that is the conversion you want.

2) They distract visitors from where you really want them to go

Websites are built for one purpose: generate a conversion from the visitor. That’s it. For nonprofits, it could be a donation, an event RSVP or an email sign-up form.

Anything that distracts from that purpose is a bad thing. Think of your website as a funnel, with the homepage or landing page representing the top or opening. Every page element should move the visitor through the funnel toward your desired conversion. Social media buttons represent holes in your funnel.

That’s why some conversion rate optimization experts also recommend removing navigation options from pages with forms (like a donation page, for example). The less options you have to navigate away, the better. Having too many options can risk what Unbounce calls The Toothpaste Trance, where a website visitor is given so many options that they end up choosing something at random that will end up being meaningless to them (kind of like when you stare at all the options in the toothpaste aisle).

nonprofit-website-header

3) It’s hard to communicate a reason to click them

Look at these buttons:

social-buttons

What do they communicate?

Pretty much the only thing they communicate is that “we are on these networks.” They give no expectation of what kind of content will be found there, or why you should care about that content. They are completely passive calls-to-action.

4) They are non-native to the design of your website

If you have a custom-designed website, those little blocks with varying colors and letters can stick out like a sore thumb. Granted, you can customize them to adhere to the style of your website, but that’s one more thing that you need (to pay) a designer to do.

5) They could send visitors to dormant social media accounts

If your social media accounts aren’t updated regularly with unique and engaging content, they may send a negative signal to a website visitor who navigated away from your site only to see a Facebook page that hasn’t been posted to for a year. If you insist on including social media buttons prominently on your website, be sure to only include your most active networks.

Where you should put social media buttons

There are, of course, appropriate and useful locations for social media buttons on your website and beyond. Here are a few:

  • Website footer (where they won’t distract, ideal if you’re concerned that someone might visit your website for the sole purpose of identifying your social media channels)
  • Share buttons on content like blog posts (where users can share content that they just consumed)
  • Follow/Share buttons on donation confirmation pages (share their philanthropy)
  • Follow/Share buttons on donation confirmation email receipts (follow you elsewhere for future updates)

If you don’t have a dedicated donation confirmation page, you can easily add social media buttons to your donation confirmation message:

bloomerang-social-post-donation

Notice that most of these examples are post-conversion. meaning the website visitor has already taken some action on your site. You’ve gotten what you want out of them; now give them the option to follow you elsewhere.

uwic-conf-page

By |September 22nd, 2015|Social Media|Bloomerang

Are Your Emails Reaching the Inbox?

November 9th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email, Fundraising

Every year, ReturnPath publishes the Deliverability Benchmark Report, which is the analysis of inbox placement rates. The 2015 report has just come out and deliverability trends are a tad worrisome.

This year’s report opens with the following statement:

“Marketers have spent years honing their email expertise, refining their strategies and improving their campaigns. For most marketers today, email is a given—the workhorse and often the foundation of their digital marketing program. And yet, our research shows that reaching the inbox is more difficult than ever. Worldwide inbox placement rates are dropping, with one in five commercial emails now failing to reach the inbox.”

This is especially important to understand considering email volume is up another 7 percent this year from 2014 (16 percent since 2013). In other words, there are more and more emails and fewer of them are reaching the inbox.

Want some more tough news? The largest drop in deliverability—the highest drop anywhere in the world—is in the U.S. In 2014, reaching the inbox in the U.S. was measured at 87 percent, and in 2015, we have dropped to 76 percent. Not reaching the inbox means it is reported as spam or “disappears,” which means the mailbox provider most likely blocked it.

With that said, the report also provided some stats by industry. Unfortunately, we cannot see the breakout of nonprofits in the U.S., but when all nonprofits are viewed globally, the change from 2014 to 2015 is only 1 point—from 90 percent to 89 percent. Either way, what is clear is that deliverability in the U.S. is more challenged than anywhere else in the world and that is going to affect everyone—even nonprofits.

There are several practices that a nonprofit (or anyone, really) can use to help offset what is happening in most American inboxes. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you keeping your list clean? Do you do regular maintenance on the list? Are you removing bad email addresses? Are you scrubbing your list after the bounces happen with a campaign? As emails are brought into your database, are you screening them for proper email structure (@, .XXX, etc.)? Make sure you are doing everything you can do to keep your list clean.
  2. Are you structuring your annual email campaigns with your best email consumers in mind? In other words, are you taking the time to plan your communication schedule for people who regularly open and respond versus those who rarely open and respond? If you are still marketing to one segment (meaning everyone who has an email), this will continue to upset constituents and hurt your deliverability. Start looking at your email constituents by traditional performance metrics—how often are they opening emails, which emails are they opening, etc.
  3. How relevant are your emails? I know everyone thinks that word is overused, so I don’t care if you call it something else—just make sure your information is in line with what your email constituents want from you. There are multiple ways to do this: look at their behaviors and where (i.e., topics, subjects) they are clicking on in previous emails; review how your email constituents originally signed up to receive your emails; track what emails they are opening (or not), etc. And don’t forget that you can always ask them. This is a great way to ask for overall feedback from your constituents.

Have you tracked deliverability of your emails year-over-year—or even across differently themed campaigns? If not, that’s the first step.

NonProfit PRO Magazine