Tuesday, December 12, 2017

How Year-end Fundraising Gets Multi-Channel Boost

Even though nonprofits are deep into year-end donation drives, it's worth checking off fundraising benchmarks to give those final tweaks and finishes before New Year's. MobileCause, a fundraising software and strategy firm, has developed a handy infographic based on marketing research and insights gleaned from its webinar attendees. A key takeaway is that branded, multi-channel campaigns raise both more immediate dollars and have more long-term value, with 61% of donors more likely to give again. The infographic cites Japs-Olson Company data to prove the point: Response rates are 6% for direct mail only, 27% for direct mail and web, 27% for direct mail and e-mail, and 37% for the combination of direct mail, web and e-mail. While direct mail remains the centerpiece of donation drives, with 71% to 81% of donations from mail, greater success requires combining and coordinating channels. It is also essential to make multiple appeals across channels, since research shows that it takes a minimum of three exposures to a message to generate a decision. MobileCause suggests the following tactics for maximum impact: a warm-up letter, an appeal letter, a follow-up letter, and e-mails every two weeks, all supported by website home page articles, customized donation form and personal communication (such as phone calls). Don't neglect to craft social media ads, too. Plus, plan to use video to drive engagement and response across channels--on social pages, e-mail, and website (Augmented Reality can even add video to paper mail, too). You'll be in sync with MobileCause attendees: 61% plan to add video to campaigns, 23% plan a custom donation page, and 21% plan an online landing page. By December, fundraisers should be reaping the results of efforts that launched in October, when website, donation page and videos were readied and the first year-end appeal mailed. But now that we're in December, there's still time for the extra push. Consider a Dec. 26 year-end e-appeal and a Dec. 31 last chance e-appeal, for example. For more data and tips, see http://www.acculistusa.com/year-end-fundraising-needs-multi-channel-multi-touch-effort/

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Video Wins Key Place in 2018 Marketing Budgets

In supporting our digital marketing clients, AccuList USA has seen rapid growth in online video use, and a recent Forbes magazine article by John Hall, CEO of Influence & Co., cited video as one of six essential trends to include in 2018's digital marketing budget. Why? Researchers forecast that by 2020 online video will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic. Already over 500 million people are watching video on Facebook every day. If you want a crack at that audience, you'll need to join the video world. That's especially important because video ads are not just good at promoting brand awareness and engagement; they deliver sales. Video creation service Animoto's most recent survey of 1,000 consumers and 500 marketers reinforces online video's clout: 64% of consumers say they purchase after watching branded social videos. No wonder more businesses are jumping on the video ad bandwagon and investing in paid/sponsored video as well as paying to "socialize" or promote videos. Helping the video boom is the relatively low production cost; in fact, 92% of marketers told Animoto they make videos with assets they already have. Meanwhile, a nationwide pricing survey of videographers and photographers found that the average small business marketing video cost less than $1,000 in 2015 and a medium-sized product demo video was around $2,000. Cost is not a barrier; coming up with engaging, targeted content is the challenge. So what platform will best deliver the target audience? Animoto's survey shows where consumers engage with branded videos daily: 49% on Facebook, 32% on YouTube, 24% on Instagram, 22% on Snapchat, and 22% on Twitter. Most brands hedge their bets by using multiple platforms, paying to capture eyes on YouTube and Facebook, for example. The more important goal, regardless of platform, is to optimize for mobile viewing since 84% of online video viewers watch on mobile devices--which is why 81% of marketers are optimizing their social videos for mobile viewership, per Animoto. Timing counts, too. Animoto's survey found 33% of video consumers watch during the lunch hour, 43% during the afternoon, 56% during the evening, 38% before bed, and 16% in the middle of the night. For more on online video trends, including tips on creative, see http://www.acculistusa.com/marketing-with-online-video-if-not-youre-behind-the-curve/

Monday, November 27, 2017

Making the Direct Mail Case in Multi-channel Plans

As multi-channel marketers polish their 2018 plans, it's a good time to remind them of the continued value of direct mail in this digital era. A recent infographic from direct marketing agency US Presort puts together data from The Data & Marketing Association (DMA), Social Media Examiner, Epsilon, Experian and Marketing Sherpa to make the case for a direct mail commitment in multi-channel plans. The majority of marketers (71%) say they believe in an integrated multi-channel approach. After all, a smart multi-channel strategy can combine the pervasive impact of digital (96% of consumers say they were influenced online in making a purchase decision) with the effectiveness of direct mail (digital can't beat mail's 80% open rate or its consumer trust rating of 76% compared with 61% for Google search, 43% for social and 39% for online ads). So why are so few marketers (just 29%) actually implementing those integrated multi-channel campaigns? One misconception, as the infographic points out, that causes hesitation over integrating direct mail with digital is mail's high perceived cost. Yet while direct mail costs more to produce and distribute, its response rates are also much higher than other channels, so its ROI remains competitive. For example, per the DMA's 2016 data, direct mail response rates averaged 5.3% for house lists and 2.9% for prospect lists, compared with online display ads at 0.9%, e-mail at 0.6% for house files and 0.3% for prospects, social media with 0.6%, and paid search at 0.5%. As a result, median ROI for direct mail, while behind e-mail, is on par with social media at 29% and 30%, respectively, and ahead of other digital channels. Others assume difficulties in digitally connecting and tracking paper promotions. But technology and U.S. Postal Service discounts are making mail easier and cheaper to integrate with digital via mobile device-scanned coupon links, QR codes, PURLs, and landing pages. Plus, direct mail can now be tracked in real time thanks to the U.S. Postal Service Intelligent Mail Barcode. To successfully leverage the power of direct mail in a multi-channel strategy consider a few key steps: Include the USPS Intelligent Mail Barcode on all mail to track delivery and coordinate with other channels; gather measurable response from multiple channels via tactics such as reply cards, 800-number call tracking, as well as mobile-scanned QR codes and PURLs; create campaign-specific landing pages and make sure they are mobile-friendly; integrate e-mail and direct mail messaging and lists, and coordinate e-mail blasts with mail delivery; create Facebook ad campaigns to target the same audience as your direct mail lists; consider IP Direct Mail or Web Direct Mail to target the same mail audience on Google with coordinated ad banners. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/making-the-case-for-direct-mail-power-in-multi-channel-marketing/

Monday, November 13, 2017

Event Marketers Foresee 2018 Spending Boosts

Trade show and conference marketers are already looking ahead to 2018, and event technology firm Bizzabo’s recent “Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends” report has some good news: Event marketers and business execs plan to invest more in live events in future. One of the key findings of Bizzabo’s global survey of 400 mid- to senior-level marketers is that most event marketers believe that events are the single most effective marketing channel--better than e-mail, social media, and digital and traditional advertising. The majority also plan to invest more in future live events, both in terms of budget (63%) and number of events (63%). Plus, the majority (91%) of businesses with top performance place a greater emphasis on live events as a marketing channel than the underperforming businesses or businesses performing as expected–and those overperforming businesses plan to grow their event marketing budgets by more than the rest. Regardless of performance, an overwhelming majority of C-Suite executives surveyed (87%) say they believe in the power of live events and plan on investing more in the future. Though event marketers and executives have confidence in the marketing effectiveness of B2B trade shows and conferences, that doesn’t mean they think success is assured. In another survey, Bizzabo asked leading event marketers for advice on overcoming common event hurdles. For example, what if attendance is sparse? To avoid staring at an empty hall in horror, make sure the event is clearly advertised on all social media profiles, blog, and website, including paid ads; empower those who have already committed attendance (especially speakers) to be event ambassadors by sharing the event on their own social media profiles and websites; and use RSVPs to keep attendees accountable. Then what if the attendees are there, but enthusiasm is low? To boost engagement, the pros suggest crowdsourcing questions for interviews and round tables before the event; creating hangouts or webinars related to event sessions; and sending segmented e-mails based on registration data to get attendees pumped up for specific aspects.  For a link to solutions to nine common event management problems, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/event-marketing-pros-foresee-spending-boost/

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Power Holiday E-mail With Segmentation, Offers

E-commerce and multi-channel retailers are beginning their holiday e-mail campaigns. What strategies will make for optimum results? From decades as data brokers and e-mail support providers, we can attest that targeting and smart segmentation are essential to holiday e-mail success. Of course, the house list can single out the active buyers and segment by basics such as location (no ice to Eskimos) and gender. But more sophisticated segmentation looks at purchase history in terms of product interest, in-store vs. web store, abandoned carts, purchase frequency, etc. For example, to maximize customer value, you can segment by average purchase (separating high-priced buyers from discount buyers) and send targeted e-mails with offers slightly over average order value. You can also reward and stimulate more sales from the most loyal buyers, segmented by purchase frequency or referrals etc., by e-mailing them unique holiday specials and freebies. The holiday season is also a great time to revive inactive customers, such as the previous year's holiday buyers who haven't been active since. Send them special offers to woo them back to the brand. Prior-holiday gift card buyers are a good sub-segment for a reminder e-mail about this convenient option. You can also target the most recent opt-ins who haven't converted to buyers with offers and creative most likely inspire clicks. And don't neglect to match your e-mail list to Facebook, YouTube or third-party newsletters to extend your reach via those vehicles! Although rented e-mail lists will not have the same intimate customer knowledge, you can still select by location, gender, age, product interest, and more. Holiday e-mails have to grab attention in crowded inboxes, and that means you need to get creative with offers that drive opens and clicks, too. Constant Contact recently surveyed its small business clients and gathered 30 successful holiday e-mail ideas that may help inspire your marketing. For a link to all 30 ideas, go to our full post at http://www.acculistusa.com/power-up-holiday-e-mail-with-segmentation-offers/

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

At Year-end, Check KPIs to Gird 2018 Marketing

The busy year-end holiday season, especially for fundraisers and retailers, should not distract direct marketers from the working on the analytics they need to finalize next year’s marketing plans and ROI. Marketing ROI is about effective spending and requires tracking results by channel and campaign. KPIs use actual annual outlay for direct mail marketing (lists, print, lettershop, creative, postage), digital marketing (e-mail, SEO/SEM, landing pages, social media and creative), as well as spending on PR/events/content marketing. Marketers must keep a tally of the number of outbound leads attributed to direct mail or e-mail campaigns, as well as the inbound leads generated by efforts such as SEO, blog content or PR. Then a cost per lead acquired (CPL) can be calculated by dividing annual expenditure by the number of leads generated. Since the ultimate goal is sales not merely leads, the percentage of leads that become paying customers and the dollar sales per lead are key measures. Beyond general performance, marketers should use measurement to fine-tune future plans and budgets. This means identifying the response rates and conversion rates for each channel, for each direct mail and digital campaign, and for tests of creative, timing, frequency, lists and segments. Performance rates should be measured not only for campaigns to acquire new leads/customers but also targeting of existing customers and reactivation of dormant customers. Website traffic reports from Google Analytics can not only show online ad and SEM effectiveness but also track spikes around direct mail or e-mail promotions to give a fuller picture of response. A simple ratio of the return on marketing investment can be calculated by adding up incremental sales from marketing and subtracting marketing amount spent, and then dividing the result by amount spent on marketing. But remember that a focus on annual or campaign results can be myopic since these do not necessarily deliver long-term growth. Marketers need to look at customer and prospect databases to make sure they are growing year-over-year. Because acquiring a single sale per lead also is less profitable long-term than acquiring a repeat customer, average customer lifetime value is vital and calculated by multiplying average dollar sale per customer by the average number of purchases per year and the average retention time in years. For a helpful KPI checklist from Digital Dog Direct, see http://www.acculistusa.com/use-key-direct-marketing-kpis-to-gird-2018-plans/

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Boost Fundraising E-mail Results With Smart Timing

At the end of each year, nonprofits send out their big fundraising e-mail campaigns, and each year questions of optimal timing are debated. Research results from Next After, a nonprofit consultancy and research lab, may offer helpful guidance. A big problem for year-end donor appeals is the fight for attention amid the seasonal commercial e-mail blitz that jams inboxes. Timing is everything to avoid getting lost in the clutter. Many nonprofits focus on the Giving Tuesday opportunity, and 23% more e-mails are sent on Giving Tuesday than on Dec. 31, per Next After--yet 48.7% of nonprofit revenue comes in the last week of the year, Dec. 25-31. And 20% comes just on New Year's Eve. In fact, 581% more average additional revenue is generated on Dec. 31 than on Giving Tuesday. No wonder Next After suggests focusing on that final December week. Another sign of a missed opportunity: Despite December's donor haul, 22% of nonprofits studied send no e-mails in December, and most send about four e-mails. So experts advise dialing up the volume in the lucrative December time period! Day-of-the-week and time-of-day targeting matter, too. E-mailers who choose to send messages in the Tuesday through Friday period and blast between 7 a.m. and noon will wade through the heaviest e-mail volumes, per the research. So off-peak e-mail delivery--such as afternoon or evening--can help avoid the seasonal e-mail rush. And weekends clearly represent a neglected opportunity: Not only is overall e-mail volume lighter, but Next After notes a 50% higher gift amount on weekends. For more data and examples of real-life nonprofit testing, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/optimize-timing-of-year-end-fundraising-e-mails/