Friday, July 17, 2009

The Whys of your Web Presence

A recent study about why people use the internet says a ton about how you should be developing your organization’s web presence. Ruder Finn’s Intent Index asked 500 internet users why they go on line, providing them with a list of 295 possible reasons.

And the results? 100% - everyone - uses the internet to pass time. Some of the others in the top ten - educate, connect, share, research, be entertained, be informed. And those reasons that you might think are most related to fundraising? Join a cause - 26%, sign up for e-mail list for causes/organizations - 23% and get this - donate money to a cause - 12%.

So what does that tell you? People clearly aren’t going on line to make a donation. If you want to attract people to your cause, you’re going to have to satisfy their needs and provide opportunities to educate, connect, share and maybe even entertain.

For many of us this study simply corroborates what we have been saying for a long time. To have a successful web presence you need to:
  • Create community - provide forums for people to share information and experiences, to tell their stories, to meet other people, to help other people. This can be done directly on your site or through the use of Facebook or other social media applications.
  • Create value - give people a reason to come to your site. Provide useful information, an opportunity to ask questions, photos, videos and maybe even a little humour.
In the end it’s all about taking a customer (prospective donor)-centred perspective and thinking about the whys before the whats.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Obama & The Big Idea

Many of the hundreds of articles that have been written about the Obama marketing campaign and in particular the digital campaign make it seem that the techniques that were successfully used by Obama can be easily integrated into your organization’s marketing efforts. I’m not so sure.

You might think it’s a matter of budgets. Yes, the Obama campaign had resources that most organizations can only dream of. Imagine having individual directors for each of online advertising, email marketing, social media marketing and mobile marketing - and each of them with a large dedicated staff. And that’s in addition to similar leadership and resources in traditional marketing channels.

But its not money that stands in the way of most organizations being able to capitalize on the Obama experience. It’s the lack of a big idea. You see, what really drove the Obama campaign was the powerful concept that captured the hearts of Americans. The “Yes We Can” message of hope, optimism and individual empowerment was irresistible. The entire campaign was built on the strength of that message and its ability to connect with and engage Americans.

With a big idea, even organizations with limited budgets can use the Obama marketing principles of empower, engage and evaluate to achieve some success. Finding that powerful emotional driver isn’t simple but here are some places to start:
  • Talk to donors, board members and volunteers about why they support your organization. Look for the visceral, not the intellectual. The likelihood is that it’s a personal (not organizational) motive and has something to do with an individual circumstance - either theirs or that of a family member.
  • Review or solicit or testimonials from constituents or clients.
  • Find out what other people are thinking and feeling. Go to the websites of polling companies. They frequently release studies on a variety of issues. Listen to radio call in shows. Watch Oprah. Read the letters to the editor.
You’re looking for the emotional common denominator that can drive your campaign and once you find that big idea, you have the potential for big results