By show of hands, how many people only think about mail and e-mail when considering your multichannel strategy? Some of us over 40 probably consider “multichannel” to mean mail/phone! But the hipsters out there know that multichannel means far more than that. “Online” isn’t a single channel. Effective digital marketing is inherently multichannel — using e-mail to convert online activists acquired through a petition site? Multichannel. Optimizing your search-engine results to drive traffic to your website? Multichannel. Posting a free sticker offer on your Facebook page to collect names for your e-mail file? All together now … multichannel.
Along those lines, did you ever wonder how the elusive gods of the interwebs know that you want to buy a new pair of running shoes? And the shoes you just looked at on Zappos suddenly show up in your feed on Facebook? And then chase you over to The Huffington Post? Isn’t it about time you used such retargeting technology to find folks who visited your website or abandoned your donation form?
But how does retargeting work?
With pixels and cookies and cookie pools, of course! Scratching your head yet? Keep reading — we are delighted to bring you one organization’s story to launch an integrated, multichannel digital fundraising campaign.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has had a robust offline direct-response program for years. More recently, the organization has developed a strong online fundraising program too, as part of its multichannel approach. In 2011, with an emphasis on growing its monthly giving program, MSF ventured online with targeted banner ads promoting monthly giving. Two and a half years later, the organization has refined and improved its targeting and creative strategy to boost performance and enhance the donor experience.
While its program is big today — one of the larger online sustainer acquisition programs in the market — MSF started small with retargeting. By simply placing a pixel (a string of code that drops a “cookie” on a visitor and is stored in the visitor’s browser) on its website, MSF was able to promote a fundraising ask to visitors who did not make donations after they left the organization’s site. These “ads” appeared on news sites, social-networking sites and even on online games. Donors were omitted from these retargeting efforts through the use of exclusion pixels (they are exactly what they sound like!), further enhancing the donor experience and not wasting the marketing spend on prospects who already converted.