Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How to Harness Social Media for Nonprofit Success

At the upcoming Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 2017 Conference, we expect to hear a lot about nonprofit social media strategy, so we wondered what social media trends are impacting fundraising this year. A 2017 Redstart Creative blog post identified several noteworthy trends. As in the rest of the digital universe, video is the new response-getting must; now nonprofits can use live video to boost reach and engagement via tools such as new Facebook features allowing live video to be pushed to followers in notifications or timelines. As social media algorithms reduce organic reach and ad competition intensifies, Redstart advises uncluttered "less is more," quality-over-quantity content that focuses on resonating with the target audience. "Reply and engage" should be a new mantra, too, especially since major platform Facebook began keeping score publicly on all brand pages last year by adding a notification that tells viewers how quickly the page replies to messages. Meanwhile, a NonProfitPRO post by Dale Nirvani Pfeifer, founder of Goodworld, cites three basic steps for donor engagement on social media. Step No. 1: Respond quickly. As Pfeifer notes, 83% of Twitter users and 71% of Facebook users expect a brand to respond to their posts within 24 hours, and more than half of Twitter users expect a brand to respond within 2 hours! Step No. 2: Get personal. Responses can include a personal touch, but less time-consuming tactics include tagging supporters in thanks, or a simple “like” or “share” of comments. Step 3: Honor your donors. Even without personalization, make donors feel special via “thank you” messages and the transparency/inclusion of postings of organization news and fundraising goals. Finally, a recent post on npENGAGE by Jeanette Russell, marketing director of the social engagement platform Attentive.ly, underscores the power of "influencer marketing." Attentive.ly evaluated 90 of its nonprofit customers and found that the top 5% of influencers on a nonprofit's e-mail list of 140,000 can reach an average of 34 million people, or 85% the total reach of e-mail and Twitter combined. To identify influencers, use a social scoring methodology based on measurable factors: reach/number of followers, engagement of followers, relevancy, post frequency, and relationship with the organization. Then segment the influencers and their messaging into three main categories, Russell advises: the few high-scoring VIPs; Media (Blogger) Influencers who can be recruited to post to followers; and Everyday Influencers, who may have lower scores but are already on nonprofit e-mail lists so they can be quickly mobilized. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/harnessing-social-media-to-drive-nonprofit-success/

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

E-mail Regains Lead in Fundraising Digital Efforts

In 2017, e-mail is expected to regain its lead role in the digital efforts of nonprofit fundraisers, per numerous nonprofit marketing pros. For fundraisers and fundraising consultants to make the most of a renewed e-mail focus, they may want to check the tactics provided in a recent post for thedatabank.com by Michael Stein, a nonprofit consultant and digital strategist. For example, to maximize response, e-mail outreach in 2017 may require nonprofits to reboot, refresh and rethink, says Stein. He urges marketers to address four basic issues before blasting out e-mails: Check to see if your e-mail template or e-newsletter needs a creative refresh; make sure the e-mail works well for mobile viewers; consider a rewrite of your welcome e-mail to new subscribers for better engagement; and develop new creative and messaging ideas to test for boosted e-mail fundraising appeal. Next, he advises marketers to "mobilize," personalize and automate e-mail campaigns. Certainly, mobile readiness is essential for wooing donors, especially given, as Stein cites, the recent Movable Ink report that, across industries, 69% of e-mail opens were on a mobile device. A good mobile experience should extend from the e-mail subject line to the website landing page and, most importantly, to the donation page, advises Stein. Personalizing is another proven way to maximize e-mail response. That means digital messaging with relevant, timely content based on smart e-mail list segmentation, using data such as event attendance, website downloads, and donation amount or frequency. Finally, marketers need e-mail automation, especially for timely engagement of new e-mail subscribers and donors. Automated responses should include key transactions such as e-mail subscription, event signups, and online giving, since these are often the most opened and read e-mails, says Stein. Other suggestions include using more graphics and video to boost e-mail response. For more, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/e-mail-regaining-its-lead-role-in-fundraising-digital-strategy/

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Innovative Media Tactics Help Grow 2017 Circulation

Circulation pros and media owners looking for new strategies to acquire subscribers, boost event attendance and up revenues will find some great lessons in Editor & Publisher's annual feature "10 Newspapers That Do It Right."  It spotlights ideas for 2017 circulation, revenue and engagement growth with applications beyond the newspaper world. For example, the Albany Times Union is growing its print subscription base by offering more frequency flexibility with a Thursday through Sunday and/or Sunday-only print delivery as primary options. "As consumers continue to downsize their subscriptions to fit into a busier and more digital audience, this change in tactics presented the consumer with flexibility," Brad Hunt, circulation sales and marketing manager, explained to E&P. At the same time, the paper reduced subscription churn by using data analysis of starts and stops to develop more efficient retention and engagement touch points, increasing starts by 7% and cutting stops by 18%. In another example, San Antonio's Express-News woos subscribers and boosts ad revenue via multimedia publication of unique local content. For example, in October 2015, the paper launched a 48-page, all-color tabloid magazine, Spurs Nation, about its local NBA team, the Spurs. Full of original and exclusive reporting on the team (80,000 subscribers currently), the tabloid is inserted in the Sunday paper and sold on newsstands. Four months after the magazine launched, a half-hour "Spurs Nation" television show debuted on the local NBC affiliate. Plus, on game days, the paper began publishing a double-truck with a scouting report and feature story. Content was accessible on the paper’s premium subscriber website and on a niche site. So, in a single buy, advertisers can get magazine, newspaper, TV show and website ads! Plus, the paper added book publishing this past holiday season, with a book about major moments in San Antonio basketball. Finally, publishers hoping to woo millennials to their print, digital and mobile platforms may want to study Singapore's Straits Times decision to create Singapore’s first coffee festival. "We wanted to target a millennial crowd in particular, and much of the publicity was specifically created for maximum impact on social media," Managing Editor Fiona Chan told Editor & Publisher. Since the goal was to get millennials engaged with the publication, the paper’s designated Reading Room at the festival gave guests the chance to interact with reporters, columnists and editors through a series of hour-long Q&A sessions. "Readers are increasingly looking for more than just commoditized news that they can get for free anywhere. What they want is to engage with journalists and newsmakers, to ask specific questions about the issues that interest them and to obtain detailed answers," Chan advised. For more detail, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/innovative-media-tactics-offer-ideas-for-growing-2017-circulation/

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fundraising Pros Forecast 2017 Direct Mail Trends

For nonprofits, 2017 offers an avalanche of political and technological changes, yet we don't see any trend sweeping direct mail or e-mail out from under fundraising marketers just yet. In fact, NonProfit PRO magazine recently found relevant mailing insights when it asked nonprofit pros nationwide for 2017 fundraising trend predictions. For example, Roger Craver and Tom Belford, editors of The Agitator, predicted that the continued rise of digital technology and data will paradoxically foster an increase in “old fashioned” pre-digital methods of communication and relationship building, such as direct mail, printed "thank you" notes, personal phone calls and print newsletters. Why? Because old-fashioned non-digital communications "provide a key—and currently missing—fundraising ingredient: a human, real-life interaction between an organization and its donors." Meanwhile, Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE, principal of Clairification, advised nonprofits to recognize that they are now dealing with an all-encompassing "Generation Connected" (GenC) and must be in multiple spaces simultaneously—but with consistent and integrated messaging. Merely fundraising through multiple channels does not equal integration from the consumer’s perspective, she warns; integration requires coordinated images, messages and offers across channels to avoid muddling the brand. Plus, direct mail is still a top fundraising tool—but not if used as a blunt instrument. Nick Ellinger, vice president of marketing strategy at DonorVoice, noted recent Dutch research that found 63% of the revenues of an additional nonprofit mailing aren’t new revenues but rather cannibalized from the revenues of other communications. However, by investing in donor knowledge and targeting, customization and personalization rather than just mail volume, test programs report stable gross revenue and a significant increase in net revenue in year one (or year two at worst), Ellinger reported. For more trend predictions, see http://www.acculistusa.com/fundraising-pros-forecast-2017-trends-for-direct-mail/

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mailers Must Cater to Millennials As Digital Shoppers

With the millennial generation, roughly those aged 18-35, now outnumbering boomers, most marketers want to keep this big batch of younger purchasers in their crosshairs. Yet direct mailers sometimes report frustration that response does not match expectations.  One cause may be failure to take into account millennial shopping and buying habits. A recent article by eMarketer, drawing from its "US Millennial Shoppers 2017" survey report, cited three shopping habits of interest to direct marketers. First, millennials tend to prefer digital shopping, even while in stores. Second, millennials are very comfortable with mobile shopping. And third, millennials have a strong presence on social platforms.  So it's no surprise that Target Marketing magazine's Summer Gould recently cited five reasons direct mail may flop with millennials--and three come back to the clear digital preferences identified by eMarketer. First of all, a direct mail offer that does not include an online purchase option is missing sales, Gould points out. And, per eMarketer reporting, mailers may be losing sales in a big way considering that 90% of millennials, 93% of Gen Xers and even 84% of boomers said they bought online in a June 2016 Berkeley Research Group survey. Next, since millennials clearly embrace mobile shopping, every aspect of the shopping experience should be mobile-friendly (website, landing pages, shopping cart), Gould advises, and it is certainly key if the direct mail includes mobile-scanned QR codes to connect digitally. Then, since social media matters to millennials, a direct mailer lacking a social presence is also snubbing millennial shoppers. Regardless of digital messaging, printed content also needs to seem authentic and friendly if the mailer wants millennials to make a connection with the offer and the brand, per Gould. Finally, millennials expect a company to be up-to-date with technology and to integrate marketing, shopping and sales with technology--whether in-store, in direct mail, or on the website. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/direct-mail-woos-millennial-shoppers-by-embracing-their-digital-side/

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Addressing 'Big Data' Issues in Agency Agreements

The era of "big data" has created both greater opportunities and greater complications for marketers in terms of access and use of data. In fact, Advertising Audit and Risk Management (AARM), a North American provider of independent advertising audit and consulting services, recently urged advertisers and marketers to review agency contracts to make sure they address evolving "big data" issues. Data can drive a precisely targeted marketing strategy by leveraging insights from transactional and customer behavioral data--assuming that the advertiser has the right to receive and use that data. Based on their experience, AARM cites at least six key, but often unanswered, data questions that should be covered in contracts: Who owns the data; where the data is stored; how long the data is stored; how secure the data is; whether the data is kept separate from that of other advertisers; and whether the data is being used to aid other advertisers. AARM points out that data ownership is not automatically ceded to an advertiser or marketer despite investment in a media buy generating a data stream. Many within the media chain may try to claim the generated data: Ad agencies, trading desks, publishers, demand-side platforms, and third-party ad servers all may seek unrestricted access, if not ownership, of valuable customer data. That's why marketers and advertisers need to be sure that legal agreements clearly and consistently spell out data ownership rights, privacy considerations, security and access rights for first-, second- and third-party data. For more, see the full post at http://www.acculistusa.com/what-data-questions-should-agency-agreements-address/

Thursday, March 9, 2017

2017 Magazines: Digital Embrace, Platform Tensions

The pursuit of circulation and ad revenue will push magazine publishers to embrace a number of digital publishing trends in 2017, per predictions in a Publishing Executive magazine article by Ron Matejko, president of digital publisher MVP Media. For one, watch for subscription drives to leverage digital outreach.While insert cards and direct mail remain sturdy tools for circulation marketing, Matejko foresees increased use of digital tools in audience development, and he cites the example of Dallas-based D Magazine, which is leveraging its combined database with outreach via automated and personalized e-mail campaigns and targeted social media advertising to audiences that look like their current print subscriber base. The result has been more new and renewed subscriptions for the print product, in fact almost a 100% increase in subscriptions generated monthly through digital efforts. Mobile apps are another area that will see increased interest, predicts Matejko. Consider the success story of Cities West Publishing in Arizona, which expanded its app offerings last year with interactive versions of two monthly print publications, as well as apps to supplement multimedia campaigns for two special issues. The benefits: branding, extended shelf life beyond the newsstand, and revenue via multi-platform value-added for print ad partners. Plus, Matejko cites other tech innovations that could transform digital publishing, particularly when teamed with mobile. For more on his digital publishing trend predictions, see http://www.acculistusa.com/2017-magazine-trends-digital-embrace-platform-tensions/