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How does the world’s largest online advertising platform attract new business?

by: Jeffrey Stein on

Google owns my inbox, my browser, my search engine. They know my every digital move. And even when I’m not on their platforms they’re still serving me ads elsewhere. So, you’d think if Google wanted my attention and my business, they’d know how to find me and get my attention. And you’d be right!

That’s why Google sends me DIRECT MAIL. Yep. Google uses old school direct mail and applies the same, tired techniques direct marketers have been using for years. That’s right. The company synonymous with SEO and all things digital cuts through the very clutter that has earned them billions with a technology whose obituary they started writing 20 years ago.

Google does direct mail right –

1. Get personal. More than just ‘your name here’ personalization, Google leverages our location, industry and advertising history to let me know they’re paying attention.

2. Make an offer. This isn’t about a one-time purchase. This is about a long-term engagement with a solution provider. The offer isn’t ‘more information’. The offer is an enticement to use their service. Test them out. See how it works.

3. Drive responders online. Sure, they got my attention via direct mail, but they want to make it easy for me to respond and they want to use their technology to track it. Campaign specific URLs take responders to the right page, and offer codes or personalized URLs allow them to track them.

4. Give them a deadline. Deadlines create a sense of urgency. It’s the push some people need to decide. I’m sure Google would extend the offer if I asked but it’s a lot easier for me if I respond in a timely fashion.

5. Leave them an out. Not everyone is comfortable responding the way we want them to (online). That’s why in every instance they point me to their landing page, they give me the name and phone number of a person who would be happy to take my call and help me personally.

Like an advertising campaign for a business, a bequest or major gift represents a considered decision for your donors. Relying solely on email or hoping interested parties will look for ‘more information’ on your website is a strategy that leaves too much to chance. Cut through the clutter and use personalized direct mail to your advantage. It works for Google, and it can work for you, too.

To try an effective direct mail strategy for yourself, visit URL for a ready to use template. Or, give us a call and one of our marketing specialists would be happy to walk you through the strategy and help you get results!

Best Wishes,

Jeffrey Stein
Planned Giving Marketing

It’s Not About the Mug!

by: Jeffrey Stein on

Quid pro quo.  Tit for Tat.  You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours...Seems like anyway you say it, it still sounds dirty, unseemly, and definitely beneath the philanthropically well-intentioned and the esteemed organizations they would support.  

Like it or not, it’s how things get done.  And it’s not limited to politics, international business, or clandestine transactions.  A compelling offer is at the core of all human interaction.  "You want me to do something for you – what’s in it for me?"

Fundraising is no exception.  We see it all the time.  Subscribe to your local PBS station – they’ll send you a boxed set of Downton Abbey DVDs, or a mug that proudly claims "it's not about the mug."  Pay your alumni dues – an alumni association window decal is on its way.  Heck, just open the solicitation envelope from St. Jude and a life-time supply of return address labels are yours – even if you don’t make a gift (but how could you not?).

So why so much cringing and hand-wringing when it comes to including an offer in our planned giving solicitations?  We want our donors to respond, but the reasons we give them for doing so are totally lame. Let’s get real.  "More information" and "Our Free Estate Planning Guide" are not offers that show our appreciation for their inquiry. They aren’t offers at all.  They’re HOMEWORK.  And who wants more homework?

Planned giving lead-generation campaigns that include a compelling offer get measurably better results than those that do not.  And to anyone concerned about the cost and perceived value of the gift, here’s some great news: It’s not about the mug!  As trite as it may sound, it’s the thought that counts.  Sure, we’ve worked with organizations to create special promotional materials for the legacy societies – a nice touch.  But before you go blowing the budget on new tchotchkes, look in the corner of the prize closet or ask the bookstore if they have any discontinued items in the stock room.  You’d be amazed at what you have lying around and even more amazed how appreciative your donors will be to receive something that everyone in the office had written off as junk.  Swag not your thing?  That’s okay.  Consider invitations to events, a speakers’ series, or docents tour you host, recordings of your band’s or orchestra’s performances, or commemorative books about the history of your organization.  

Your token gift of thanks in exchange for a loyal donor raising their hand to answer a few questions about their most personal philanthropic inclinations doesn’t cheapen their gift.  It demonstrates your understanding of the social norm and facilitates a conversation between you and your donor.  You’ve asked them to become a lead.  They’ve consented to tell you what they’re thinking.  You thank them with a small gift.  You’re fulfilling a social contract.  It shows that you appreciate them as a donor and it builds trust.

To learn how Yellowstone Park Foundation used a compelling offer to achieve a 34% response rate (that's not a typo) to their planned giving marketing outreach, visit our case study page

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