Thursday, September 18, 2014

Online Donations Weak? Check for Common Errors

Nonprofits dissatisfied with online giving dollars and growth should inspect their online fundraising for some common donation-sapping mistakes, per the advice in a recent post by Julia Campbell of J Campbell Social Marketing. She outlines six ways nonprofits often get it wrong when it comes to online giving, and here are just three takeaways that we'll pass along.. Basic Error No. 1: Online fundraising doesn't work if it leads potential donors to a badly executed, hard-to-navigate website, especially one that is not mobile-friendly. With more people projected to access the web via mobile devices than via desktop as soon as next year, it's shocking that 84% of nonprofits still aren't making donation pages readable by mobile users, as reported recently by Basic Error No. 2: Online fundraising doesn't work if it is hard to find and hard to do. Yet, as the article notes, a recent study found that 65% of nonprofit websites ask visitors to click through three or more pages to donate, losing about 40% of visitors with each click per research. Also, many websites simply fail to clearly ask for a donation. Get rid of that vague "Get Involved" button and put a bold "Donate Now" button on all pages, and then link every button to a single page with an easy-to-use form for entering credit card information. Basic Error No. 3: Online fundraising doesn't work if it is not promoted. If you build a great donation page, donors will not just come. Online giving needs to be promoted in e-mail channels, social media channels, and direct mail pieces, as well as at events and in other interactions with potential donors. For more suggestions on removing roadblocks to online donation success, see

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

These Smart Brands Offer E-Mail Success Lessons

We often pass along articles on common mistakes in e-mail marketing, but how about the positive lessons, the success stories? Kevin Ward, recently posted an inspirational piece for Business2Community about tips gleaned from six well-known brands' e-mail campaigns. All are producing e-mails that have personality, easy readability, user-friendliness, and attention-grabbing appeal  -- plus specific, well-executed tactics to stay ahead of the competition. For example, Ralph Lauren wins sales with its clear, targeted call to action. Amazon leads the field with personalization. Betty Crocker's recipe for success is warm Pinterest-style personality. ThinkGeek thinks about conversions with extra coupons and deals. Huckberry revs up the urgency with limited time offers for its deals. Crate & Barrel has lots to peddle but uses e-mail focus, with a single customer-driven product offer, to funnel sales. For e-mail creative examples:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Using a Scientific Approach to Direct Marketing

Thanks to evolving technology, today's direct marketing can rely more on scientific discipline than risky, intuitive market reads. A recent article in Direct Marketing News highlighted a five-step scientific approach that you can apply to almost any marketing channel -- social media, e-mail, mobile, display ads and, of course, direct mail -- courtesy of Matt Dopkiss, CEO and founder of Dynamit, a data, design, and technology company. Here's Matt's "big bang theory meets big data." First, identify the hypothesis, or marketing question, that a campaign is seeking to answer (say, which offer gets to highest response). Make sure that the test hypothesis is specific, measurable and actionable. Second, use a control model for comparison of results. Compare the response of subscribers receiving a new e-mail version with a set of subscribers not receiving the e-mail, for example. Third, use statistics to verify your theory, collecting enough data to draw valid conclusions -- but not such a huge data set that noise overwhelms actionable results. Fourth, repeat tests to make sure results can be reproduced and are not due to timing or extraneous factors (such as weather, news events, etc.). Finally, be certain you are applying the right technical tools and methods (and trained staff) to extract actionable data. For more detail, go to

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Digital Marketers: Poor Data Stymies Personalization

Personalized marketing is such a basic today, it's shocking to learn that the majority of digital marketers still struggle with personalizing large-scale efforts. And the problem is rooted in something even more fundamental: customer data. More than half of digital marketers (53%) say they always or often struggle with personalizing their marketing efforts at a large scale, according to a recent report from Neustar, which was recently reported by MarketingProfs. Only 4% say they never struggle with personalization, per the survey of 100 U.S.-based digital media and marketing executives.The marketers surveyed say they struggle with scaled personalization for a mix of reasons, but weak data leads the list: 33% cite poor or incomplete customer data as the biggest obstacle, 26% say they have difficulty turning their data into action, and 15% struggle to identify customers across different devices. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) say they need both better data and better marketing platforms to make personalization easier. To read the MarketingProfs report, go to

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Top Event Marketing Tools: Direct Mail & E-Mail

Direct mail and e-mail marketing are the most popular -- and the most effective -- forms of attendee promotion, according to the Center of Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) “Cost to Attract Attendees” study released earlier this year. Direct mail and e-mail together accounted for 56% of the event advertising budgets of survey respondents. The popularity of the two marketing tools held steady across a variety of different metrics, including event size, event cost, marketing reach and event organizer. So it's no surprise that respondents also judged direct mail and e-mail as the most effective forms of advertising in drawing attendees. On a five-point scale, 87% of those surveyed gave direct mail a rating of “4 – Effective” or “5 – Highly Effective.” E-mail marketing scored a four or five rating in 86% of cases. The CEIR study was based on 137 responses from executives and event coordinators for many different industries and for events with revenues ranging from under $250,000 to over $10 million. Respondents reported more variation in cost per attendee depending on event metrics. Cost per attendee showed a relatively stable decrease as overall event costs rose but remained in the low $20.00 range. Cost per attendee was more skewed by total attendance; median cost per verified attendee for events drawing fewer than 1,500 guests soared to $46.70, for example. For access to the whole report, go to,-e-mail-best-event-marketing-methods

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

E-mail Beats Text in Tapping Luxury Brand Buyers

Luxury brands seeking affluent customers should favor e-mail over mobile text messaging, according to 2014 first-quarter data from the Luxury Institute. As recently reported by eMarketer, the Luxury Institute found that just 17% of U.S. affluent internet users, those with an income of $150,000 or more, had signed up to receive, or were somewhat to very likely to opt in to, text messages from a luxury brand. Even tech-savvy, affluent millennials were not interested in luxury brand messages popping up on their phones: Only around a quarter said they had or would be interested in receiving such communications, a percentage similar to Generation Xers. In contrast, 49% of respondents said they had opted in, or were somewhat to very likely to opt in, to receiving e-mails from a luxury brand. Luxury brand e-mails are likely to do even better with younger affluents, however. The overall e-mail acceptance of 49% was skewed lower by boomers (44%) compared with millennials (61%) and GenXers (54%). The study held another discouraging note for digital luxury-brand marketers: Digital generally doesn't appear to play a major role in U.S. affluent internet users’ shopping or purchase processes for luxury items. For example, only 22% of all affluent respondents (27% for techie millennials) said they researched luxury brands online and then purchased in-store. For more, see

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to Use Direct Mail to Rev Trade Show Marketing

With direct mail accounting for 30% of trade show attendees' ad spending, snail mail is still essential to show marketing even in this increasingly digital world, points out Charles Dugan in a recent Trade Show News Network post. Based on his experience as owner of a trade show display firm, Dugan offers some good tips on direct mail tactics. Starting with the basics, he advises planning at least two campaigns: an early awareness mailing to get planners to put the show on their calendars and then a follow-up mailing closer to the show with exciting materials and attendance incentives. Then cut costs and boost response with targeting, both geographic and demographic. Use available mailing list data to personalize, ranging from gender all the way to ethnicity or specific hobbies. Offer incentives for attendance, with the inclusion of complementary tickets for example. Take advantage of direct mail's unique physicality to make a dimensional package that's fun and enticing, boosting open rates and response. And integrate snail mail with digital, via QR codes for example. QR codes can be used to promote access to exciting website materials, including videos, or something as simple as an online RSVP. For more, see the article at