A basic marketing tenet is that you should always place your message where your audience will receive it. So it makes intuitive sense that the organizations should put their appeals on social media, because that’s where everyone seems to spend their time nowadays, especially millennials. But delivering a message is about more than just ensuring your audience comes across it—the medium does matter. Highly advanced brain science illustrates that people respond differently to the same message send in different formats.
Researchers at the center for the Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business found that the participants spent more time with the physical advertisements showed more desire for the product seen in print and were more stimulated by physical ads than by their digital counterparts. What does this mean for nonprofit communications directors? It means that your supporters feel a greater emotional reaction to print communication, raising the perceived value of what is being advertised. A higher-value message is more likely to convert a prospect into a supporter. For your organization’s next capital campaign, think targeted direct mail.
Think Grassroot Communication. WWW.GRASSROOTCOMMUNICATION.COM
The key to effective engagement is relevance. Crafting a piece of communication that resonates with your recipient is essential to removing the spam-like element associated with many solicitations – especially those sent via email and social media.
High-quality direct mail that is properly targeted to the right audience with the right message is highly effective in persuading your recipient to take action. It provides the opportunity to put your message in your recipient’s hands—a message that, as part of a multi-channel, grass-roots effort, they will be exposed to multiple times.
Social media is effective for quick updates and reminders, but it should not be relied upon for persuasive campaigns that require attention. The quick-glance, instant-gratiﬁcation mindset of the online user is simply not conducive to the sort of campaign messages that convert prospects into members and donors.
How is social media influencing our perceptions?
Trust in social media is low, and Americans have been spending less time on Facebook, partly because so much of what they see online is negative and dubious, a recent article in The Economist says. Globally, users spent around 50 million hours less per day on Facebook in the fourth quarter of 2017, which translates into a 15% drop in the time spent year after year, according to Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for relying too much on social channels to get your message out. Let’s be clear: social media is nowhere near dead. But it does suffer from a major credibility problem. Many people no longer trust the platform to deliver high-quality content or persuasive messaging because it is simply too easy to manipulate by nefarious actors.
That’s one reason we always advocate for a direct-mail component in every campaign–fundraising or political.
When your organization’s constituents cannot be safe in the certainty that the appeals and ads in front of their eyes are not the work of propagandists or fake news peddlers, then your online campaign will suffer. Donors will close their wallets, not wanting to chance being duped into funding a scam.
A beautifully written personalized appeal letter, on the other hand, addressed to your donor buys you instant credibility in a way social media simply can’t.
Using today’s digital channels—from Facebook to e-mail—is wise to consider when putting together your distribution strategies. But don’t forget to complement those efforts with tactics that offer a contrast, both in where they will be seen, and how people feel about them. Direct mail fits right in here.
It’s time to get back to the basics. Let us show you why high-quality direct mail still delivers.
Have you ever heard of “advertising wear-out?” It’s the term that researchers use to describe the decreased response to ads that consumers exhibit after repeated exposure to that same ad. Advertising experts have known about it for decades.
In the 1980s, researcher Margaret Henderson Blair noted that “the overall persuasiveness of an ad declines exponentially,” and even though she was referring to television, the same is true regarding online ads, a recent New York Times article says.
In fact, two business school professors, Michael Braun (Southern Methodist University) and Wendy W. Moe (University of Maryland) found that the effectiveness of an online ad falls by more than half every single time it is viewed by a potential customer, and that includes donors.
Blasting your donors with cheap online solicitations might be easy, but it gets old quick.
A well-thought-out, well-written appeal from the heart has more staying power. It’s the reason why targeted direct mail continues to haul in the lion’s share of fundraising dollars from small and mid-level donors.
So don’t fall into the trap of going online just because everyone else is—including your audience.
Yes, they may be online, but they are there in real life, too.
Consider taking a fresh look your direct mail strategy.
We’d be happy to review it with you, perhaps tweak the messaging, and ensure it is helping you keep your organization on the path to growth and profitability. And that means you can focus on your core mission.
We get it – the influx of new members can be thrilling; but it’s not a true indication of growth or stability. Are you pouring your resources into a brilliant acquisition strategy – but still not moving forward? Maybe your churn rate exceeds the number of people you’re bringing in! Read more ›