Finding Your Direct-Mail Donors — Online
We all want to be able to interact with donors across multiple channels — send a direct-mail piece and then remind donors when they are visiting a news site online to renew or make a year-end gift … If only … sigh.
From reading our column on retargeting, you already know all about using cookies and pixels to “follow” online prospects and donors after they visit your site — easy peasy.
But most of the donors in our databases were acquired offline — through direct mail, events or other means. How do we target them with relevant online display ads to encourage them to take action online? Or donate online or offline? Magic? No … through direct-response, cookie-based targeting.
But what is it? And how does it work?
Cookie-based targeting enables marketers to target people in their offline databases (e.g., current and lapsed donors) with online display ads across relevant sites. Companies that offer this service match the physical addresses of your donors and prospects to cookies, using personally identifiable information data, following regulations set forth by the online advertising industry.
Match rates typically exceed 75 percent with the ability to find upward of 40 percent of donors actively engaged online for a given campaign period. After the offline addresses are matched to cookies, the companies then serve up online display ads to these people on various sites as they navigate the Web. The sites are typically determined based on performance — e.g., relevancy, frequency caps, inventory availability and the cost of display ads on the site.
So, imagine sending your first renewal notice and being able to echo that messaging online when your donors visit Huffington Post, play Words With Friends or search for new pie recipes.
But does it work for nonprofits? We have seen a number of examples with varying results, but most have positive ROI, especially when used for existing donor files (as opposed to acquisition).