Thursday, July 28, 2011

Re-targeting: a second chance to make a first impression

Was on YouTube today listening to some Jimmy Cliff - who is awesome -when I noticed this ad for "Women for Women" - see screenshot below, the ad is to the right of the video. It looks like I was re-targeted.

I visited the other day and it seems they tagged me with a "re-targeting" (or re-marketing) pixel when I landed on their homepage - below the ad is a picture of the source code from their page that shows the code they used from Google to tag me.

What the code does is allow an organization to serve up an ad to a person who already visited their site but did not commit to the desired action, such as donate. The tag is a "cookie" assigned to my computer. When I go on to other Google sites like YouTube, those sites recognize and "read" my cookie - they "see" the site I visited and that I did not donate - and serve me the ad.

Is this a good tactic?

Depends on the rational behind it. Women for Women choose to tag their homepage which means that anyone who landed there will get an ad later - perhaps they want to expose their ad to a large audience and hope the mass equals large conversions.

An alternative might be to tag the "donate" page instead because it will tag people who have demonstrated interest by getting to that page - the mass of people will be lower but the conversion rate of those who see the ad later will be higher.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Non-Profit Spotlight: Children International

What they are doing well on the page:

Take a look at the screenshot of the homepage - notice to the right a photo of a child with her profile (age, family relations etc) and a short bio. That personalizes the plight children face around the world, better than statistics can convey.

From a potential donor/sponsor perspective, she can see exactly who she can help - appealing to the sense of empathy - as well as what the gift of $22 will do - a sense of empowerment. There is also a clear, and big, "sponsor" button for her to commit to action - no confusion as to where to go next.

What I would advise they should test to increase the number of sponsorships:

To the left of the page you see a video of a celebrity sponsor. I would advise that they instead use a video to show success stories so that potential sponsors can be confident that their hard earned money is being used properly.

I would also test reducing the size of the "send me a free information kit" button so that it doesn't distract from the sponsor button. I want to make sure that people who are ready to take the next step, do so immediately. The info kit button can still be there for those that are scanning the whole page wanting to learn more.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Here is a good example of a persuasive ad from the ASPCA:

Notice how, before they go into any statistics, they first show you an image of a Dog that looks "hurt" or "sad". Of course I am not an animal psychologist, for all I know the dog could just be tired. But that is not the point - what is important is the emotion it triggers when we look at the dog - sadness. This is the start of the story.

Now the music - the "context" - slow, somber, sad, serious. Make's you understand very quickly how dire the situation is.

Next, the numbers - thousands harmed.

Now the moral of the story - the ASPCA is saving these animals

Now the pitch - help us save these animals. Cue more pictures of animals in distress, with almost human type emotions.

Powerful commercial

As powerful as it is, it only works for certain people. What we call the target market - in this case animal lovers and pet owners. This ad would probably not work as well for those who are more interested in issues of world hunger or world peace. Neither would it play as well for those who never owned a pet and don't really like dogs or cats.

The point here is that we need to MATCH the ad with the target market. This means we need to understand who the target market is, what appeals to them, where they are (what shows they watch, what they do online) and ensure that our message gets to them. If we don't properly match the ad with the market, we will lose out even if the ad is good.

This is where creating a profile can help you gain a better perspective on what appeals to your audience and what you have to do, and where you have to be, to communicate it effectively.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A quick addition to the last post:

- Persuasion, that is, triggering the right emotion (remember - association, context and a specific event), is just one part of the total sales cycle

- Before you can persuade, you have to get the person in the mood to be receptive. An example - say your organization throws a dinner and raffle prizes to raise funds for a cause. You will do better if you do the raffle during or right after the dinner, eating food you provided will get guests in the receptive mood to spend more

- After you persuade them, you must make sure it is as easy as possible for them to commit to the action. This means that if they go onto your site, you better make it very simple for them to donate or do whatever you wanted them to do. If it is complicated or confusing, they will leave and you wasted your ad dollars.

- The last part, and the long term, is branding. You want people to have an emotional response when they think of your brand. Think of Coca-Cola - the smell, the cool taste - or even the Red Cross - caring etc.

I'll go into more details with examples for each in the next few weeks. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

If you are in the business of changing worlds, then you're in the business of persuasion

There are many areas of persuasion that can be discussed: sales, delivering a speech etc, but the area I want to focus on is marketing - driving more awareness, advocacy or donations.

Think of marketing as a tactic that triggers an emotional response. Everything we do in life triggers an emotion from people, whether it's that habit our spouse doesn't like, or staying late at work which impresses the boss - everything has an emotional response.

What happens after the emotion (the response) depends on what emotions are triggered. From a marketing perspective, we want to trigger the correct emotion to our target market in order for them to commit to an action.

The emotions we want to trigger depends on the goal. In politics, for example, the candidate may want votes, so she may want to associate her competitor with a specific event - with scary sounding music - that makes people angry or sad, and then say that her rival is "soft on crime" or "soft on defense".

The keys here are association, context and a specific event. In your marketing pieces - whether your website, mail or TV - focus on an event (such a story) in the context of the bigger issue and associate that with your organization as the issue solver (perhaps through statistics or a happy ending to the story).

I believe the Red Cross, Amnesty International and Politicians excel at this, check out their sites and their marketing materials - you will learn much!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cooperative Databases - a Smart Way to Grow Your Prospect List or an Unethical Use of Donor Data?

What is a Cooperative Database? It is a shared list where multiple organizations share customer/donor information.

Pros and Cons....

Pro: You gain a clearer picture of the type of person that donates to your cause. You also get a greater understanding of the type of campaigns that will increase the donation conversion rate. You also, of course, gain a large list of new potential donors.

Con: You will probably have to share your list to gain access. If you have a strict donor privacy policy this might make it a no-go. If you share your list, you are leaving yourself open to others to market to your donors. There are serious ethical and privacy issues that should be considered before deciding to share the data - of the people who entrusted you with their information - into a coop.