Discover Event and Data Triggers to Create More Timely Marketing
The cliché of “timing is everything” has been overused, but that’s because it’s true, especially when it comes to marketing and fundraising.
With an appeal, update, gala invitation or request for monthly recurring donations, finding the right audience and donor pool is the most important step. Your message and appeal are also important, but when you reach your audience will have an enormous impact on how your audience receives and responds to your marketing.
Sometimes, the right timing of your outreach is based on just plain common sense. Nonprofits will rarely market around the yearly tax deadline because the timing is off. And sometimes you can’t control event timing, as with massive hurricanes or natural disasters that take over the airwaves and mindshare of potential donors.
However, there are ways you can use data, smarts and behaviors of your audience to time your marketing so that it lands at the perfect moment to gain consideration, interest and action.
In the marketing-speak parlance, we call these trigger events. A trigger event is best defined as a user action or behavior that defines a status or disposition. The event triggers a direct marketing response to the donor, making an ideal channel and message more relevant.
Using data that’s available, nonprofit marketing teams can set trigger marketing to increase response and engagement. Let’s take a look at four examples.
1. Digital and Direct Mail Website Retargeting
One of the more profound events is when a new donor visits your website for the first time. It’s the introduction, the dance, the opening conversation — whatever term you’d like to use to describe the moment when your donors better understand what your organization is, what your nonprofit’s mission is, how your organization communicates, and why they should consider supporting your nonprofit more deeply.
Retargeting is the marketing method that uses the website visit to reach back to those website visitors after they left.
Digital Display Retargeting
Send banner ads to the available digital inventory so that when your donors visit a neutral site (news, entertainment, etc.), your ad is shown within the banner. It’s a channel that reminds them of your mission, and while the click-through rates (CTR) for these channels is fairly small (0.7%, meaning seven out of 1,000 will click), the ad creates brand presence, and continues the life and effort of your website well past the time they left.
Businesses like Facebook, AdRoll, and Google’s DoubleClick launch these ads within hours of someone visiting the site, and run them for days and weeks, depending on the number of impressions purchased.
Direct Mail Retargeting
Instead of digital ads, direct mail retargeting sends postcards to website visitors who leave without donating. These cards land within days, and arrive at a Goldilocks time of high recall and relevance — not too soon and not too late for the user to receive the card and consider going back for more information or to donate.
One of the strengths of direct mail retargeting is that it has a longer shelf life and creates a kitchen-table moment that gets a lot of attention. Response rates tend to be much higher for direct mail retargeting than its digital counterpart, and unlike competing with other digital ads, the cards stand alone so that your message is more carefully considered.
2. Database Analysis for Recency, Frequency, Monetary Value (RFM)
Let’s dive into the golden vault of wonders — aka your house file — to understand how your donors behave, and use those moments to send email or direct mail. A good reason to reach back could be an event — a birthday or a timed message based on 30, 60 or 90 days after a donor’s most recent donation or interaction, such as downloading a report or signing up to volunteer. Using a fundraising platform or CRM system helps you to use statuses and interactions to time and send emails, content or even direct mail.
3. New Homeowners or New Residents
There are lists available to your nonprofit to market to people who have recently moved into or purchased a new home. If you are a local nonprofit, introduce yourself to neighbors when they are fresh in the neighborhood, so you’ll have a better chance of creating long-term relationships. Studies have proven that customers — and donors — become loyal to brands they engage with when beginning new transitions.
4. Live Event Activation
Using a QR code or sign-up form can trigger events or marketing that follow after a volunteer or live event. For example, if you sponsor a park cleanup and have volunteers scan a QR code to get to the sign-up form, time an email that launches one, three or five days afterward to thank them for volunteering, moving them toward a path of donation and more engagement. Businesses, like Flowcode, help nonprofits easily create trackable codes that can be used on all channels – direct mail, bus stops, signage, etc.
There are other examples, and usually they’re best thought of by your own team. What kind of specific actions or events can you unearth from your database? Do you have specific volunteering events that create moments of after-marketing? Have you considered retargeting from your website? Usually, if you can think of an action that could be a trigger, there’s a channel and a setup to make that marketing happen.
The timing of these trigger-based outreaches help drive higher engagement and response, and can add a new element to your traditionally timed marketing mix.
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.
Chris Foster is the vice president of business development at Modern Postcard.