The End Game: Plan the End Before You Plan the Beginning!
When you look to the end game — your users' experience, the donation, the giving — you need to look at the ease with which the conclusion of the proposed transaction is made. Consider all the time, money and effort spent to direct your alumni, supporters or targeted prospects to the landing page when the result is abandonment — ouch! — followed by shock, stress and questions. If you then ignore the result, it may lead to a repeat performance of the abandonment response.
An inventive method of replacing this negative result with a more positive response (which is not always a donation) is to use a deep-marketing closing tool. This tool offers multiple uses and promotes a variety of actions, including establishing dialogue and developing an engagement. The actions are fully measurable and can enhance the potential of positive user responses.
The drive toward end-result tools such as landing pages, microsites and squeeze pages is clear, but is the strategy? Do not use these tools for the sake of using new tools; use them as a predetermined integrated component within your overall integrated marketing communication (IMC) program. Also, don't go in blind. Using a tool that is not measurable and not based on solid knowledge of your market is a waste of your time and money, and may provide a negative user experience.
Landing pages are easy to create. Great and very supportive firms such as XMPie, MindFire, EasyPurl and others offer the mechanism to convert a static reply page into an interactive tool. However, it is vital that any closing apparatus you create be based on the four principles that make up the foundation of effective IMC — relevance, integration, interaction and measurement (RIIM) (along with results). Your closing or end game must include a measured, predetermined formula of RIIM designed to attract the prospect via a behavioral review of the "what" that makes the targeted prospect donate.
In all cases, the device, incentive or deep-marketing tool you use should (not can) be designed to solicit an updated profile, provide a referral, encourage downloading of a requested document and, yes, fulfill your campaigns goals — generating funding to support your needs. A strong and planned closing is key to any campaign strategy.
There are now many other closing tools that do not obviously present themselves as "deal closers." They look and act like tools designed to build dialogue and generate an engagement. For an example, check out The Online Book Company. The user experience is designed from the onset to be based on the potential response to the fundamentals of a past experience (relevance).
Suppose you are raising funds for a college. No one, at least no one that I can find, experienced college on a single level, with a single view. The experiences are usually multiple. Memories (good and bad), friends, classes, events are all components of "college" and the college experience in the prospect's mind, and all need to be rekindled, perhaps independently, to successfully attract the prospective donor. Effective closing devices also fulfill the other foundational elements of IMC. The foundations need to be integrated correctly into your brand and seen as relevant by the prospect. The response device must also be interactive, offering a positive user experience (put a smile on the prospect's face) and be fully measured.
Closing tools are, in many cases, worthless unless they include the correct sales/donation automation software that allows the entire interaction to be tracked and attributed to the correct response media. Vertical-specific programs also provide the results tracking you need. The proper support tools can track multiple media and are brand-sensitive, meaning that you can construct pages to follow your brand message, feel and look.
The end game is not the end of your efforts. It is not your empty or full shopping cart that sits in the queue. No, the end game is actually the starting point of your relationship — make the most of it!
(Note: The author has just completed the book, "Guide to Integrated Print and Media Convergence: The Print Provider's Guide to Use, Sell, and Profit from Integrated Marketing and Emerging Technologies.")
Thad Kubis is an unconventional storyteller, offering a confused marketplace a series of proven, valid, integrated marketing/communication solutions. He designs B2B or B2C experiential stories founded on Omni-Channel applications, featuring demographic/target audience relevance, integration, interaction, and performance analytics and program metrics.