As year-end approaches, you want to consider leveraging your message across channels. You also want to tailor your message to meet the needs of different target constituencies.
One-size-fits-all messaging seldom works as well as segmented messaging. The former is all about you, your convenience and your needs. The latter is about your constituent’s needs.
Successful fundraising and marketing is customer- and donor-centered.
Is your year-end strategy setting you up for success? Are you truly putting your best foot forward?
If you’re not inside your constituents’ heads, you need to get in there! To be constituent-centered requires you to (1) talk to the right people, (2) with the right message, (3) at the right time and place. Recently, I enjoyed a post on precisely this subject. I share it with you here, and if you’re not yet hip to the Marketoonist, allow me to introduce you.
Tom Fishburne, a veteran marketer and cartoonist, started cartooning on the backs of business cases as a student at Harvard Business School. He went on to various marketing roles at numerous big businesses, whilst parodying the world of marketing in a weekly cartoon. From an email to 35 co-workers in 2002, his cartoons have grown by word of mouth to reach several hundred thousand readers each week and have been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, and the New York Times. In 2010, he launched Marketoonist to help businesses of all shapes and sizes reach their audiences with cartoons. I love getting his emails!
Along with brilliant comics, Tom doles out concise bits of marketing wisdom. I encourage you to subscribe to receive his weekly cartoon and sage advice. He specializes in visual, easy-to-digest storytelling – which is the type of thing many nonprofits should be endeavoring to do more frequently, and better.
Here’s what Tom says about Right Person, Right Message, Right Time:
Reaching the right person with the right message at the right time has long been the holy grail of marketing. The technology and data is tantalizingly close, and yet context and intent remain elusive. Personalized marketing is still wasted if it hits the wrong context and intent. – Tom Fishburne
What does this mean for nonprofits?
Let me tell you a little story:
Before I had my son, I NEVER noticed baby stores. They simply were not in my frame of reference or scope of vision. It didn’t matter how catchy the advertising jingle, how big the neon sign, or how attractive the flyer left on my car windshield. It was meaningless trash to me. After I had my son, suddenly I noticed there were zillions of businesses catering just to me – who knew?! Everywhere I went I would see, and often buy, baby stuff.
The story for your organization – at least in the eyes of your would-be constituents – is no different. If you don’t deliver a message that matters to them, at that particular place and point in time, they’re not going to notice you.
So, what can you do?
You need to find an opportunity to be relevant.
Here’s how Google frames winning the moments that matter:
“Every day, three billion people around the world have dozens of moments that matter to them and their lives. These moments create billions of ‘signals’, which not only include context e.g. where someone is, what device they are using or the time of day, but also intent: what someone wants or needs at that moment.
This combination of context and intent-driven signals is a goldmine for marketers, providing more opportunities to be relevant and connect with consumers in more meaningful ways than ever before.
People are more loyal to their need in the moment than to any particular brand.” [Emphasis added]
3 Ways to Be Relevant to Your Target Constituents
1. MESSAGE: Do your research
What do folks need to hear from you? Answers to their problems? An opportunity to feel like a hero? A way to give back and/or fulfill a moral or religious obligation? A chance to be part of a community of like-minded folks?
Begin by knowing what is meaningful and pertinent to your markets.
Don’t just guess. It’s not that difficult to collect useful qualitative and quantitative data. You just have to ask! Ask people in your target audiences (1) what they value most about what you do, (2) what they’d like to see more of, and (3) where they go to get their news (e.g., find out what communication channels they prefer).
You may wish to segment your lists so you’ll be able to segment your subsequent messaging accordingly (e.g., (1) donors; (2) non-donor volunteers; (3) non-donor purchasers of services; (4) unaffiliated non-donors). Remember, this is all about enabling you to deliver the right message, to the right people, in the right place, at the right time. That’s going to be different, depending on how folks are affiliated with you, their age, demographics and psychographics, and their personal communication preferences.
Research to conduct:
- Conduct a brief online or mailed survey.
- Randomly call constituents for quick feedback.
- Ask your receptionist and other front-line staff for frequently asked questions.
- Add a question to your remit piece and/or donation thank you page.
2. TIME: Align content with “I want to do” moments
Get inside your potential donor’s mind and figure out how you might help them. Today.
When I had my son, I was looking for ways to baby proof my home. Also for child development tips. And parenting info. Today I’m in the market for information to help aging parents and spot signs of dementia. In the wake of recent events, I’m looking for the best ways to help victims of natural and man-made disasters. And to protect human and civil rights I hold dear.
Whoever jumps in front of me with solutions to my current problems gets my attention.
Will it be you? What do you do that might meet my of-the-moment needs?
As I write this, there are huge brush fires raging in the North Bay near San Francisco. The fires began just last night, and already a local social service agency I support has emailed me with information about how I can help.
What if I were actively searching? Would I find you when and where I looked?
Today, online video is the default solution for “I-want-to-do” moments. One U.K. study found: 59% of web users use YouTube when trying to find out how to do something; 83% of web users under 35 believe they can find a YouTube video on anything they want to learn.
What do you have up on your YouTube channel?
Did you know YouTube has a nonprofit program? If you’re not using video in your marketing, check out the latest trending statistics. There’s ample evidence this should be among your go-to arsenal of marketing tools.
3. Establish your authority in strategic subject areas
When people search for answers to their questions, they need to be able to find you. If you specialize in employment for people with disabilities, and 90% of your online content is about this, folks probably won’t find you when they’re searching for group homes – even though this is also an integral part of your mission.
You must actively build your reputation as a trusted, valued resource in key areas where support is needed. And you must do it in places where your target markets look for answers. Increasingly, this is online.
In addition to publishing on YouTube, consider other ways to establish your authority:
- Establish a corporate LinkedIn presence
- Join LinkedIn groups; begin and add to discussions.
- Publish on LinkedIn
- Promote blog posts on social media
- Leverage the power of influencers on social media
- Seek out, and publish, testimonials as “social proof” of your expertise
If you’re not currently active on social media, now is the time to reconsider your marketing strategy. Social media is the new nonprofit advertising, but that doesn’t mean the content you serve up should always be “ads.” Your audiences want relevant content that’s so interesting and compelling it inspires them to share and become your advertisers. When you can make this happen, your ROI and ROE will more than justify your investment.
Develop your content marketing strategy moving forward with right message, right time and right place as your guiding framework.
If you’re not offering up content folks are looking for, they’re not likely to find it. Even if you send it directly to their mailbox. They’ll simply toss it in the trash.
Unless… it’s relevant to them. At this particular point in time. Served up to them in a place where they go to find stuff that’s useful.
I know you’re working hard. Take the time to think hard too. That way, you’ll be sure to also work smart.
Need More Help with Year-End Fundraising?
Grab my Year-End Fundraising Solution Kit – To-Do’s + Checklists. It’s a 63- page comprehensive road map to effective year-end fundraising. You don’t want to miss making a few tweaks that could mean a big difference in your results. There’s still time to make sure you’re not just doing things the right way – but that you’re doing all the right things! This Solution Kit provides an all-in-one guide for ticking off the things you may be missing or may not quite have finished.
Photo by Claire Axelrad, as part of a series: The Art of Philanthropy – ‘Love of Humankind’ – as Seen Through the Prism of the World’s Art Museums