Bliou Enterprises


Posts Tagged ‘Kindle’

Speak To Your Audience

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

I always have a great time at the NTEN & AFP conferences, catching up with old friends and making new ones, as well as learning new techniques I can apply in my job. I was shocked at what I saw, though, at one of the vendor booths at NTEN:

Like many of the vendors, PayPal was trying to entice visitors to their booth with a giveaway. People who entered the drawing had a chance to win a Nook. Many electronic devices were being awarded at the NTEN conference: iPads, Kindles, etc. Experienced attendees always bring many business cards for these drawings.

But how was PayPal – the company promoting online fundraising – accepting entries? Not with a business card, but with a paper questionnaire! (click to make larger)

Complete this survey for a chance to win 1 of 3 Nook e-readers.  Winners will be notified at the phone number that you provide below.

I asked one gentleman who was at the booth why a company that makes its living selling online commerce would operate in such a fashion and how they expected to compete with all the other vendors who were offering giveaways without requiring this much effort on the part of the conference attendees.

He shrugged and explained that he didn’t actually work for PayPal, but was just “helping out” for the day.

A couple of aisles later, I saw another vendor that was working to meet the needs of a busy attendee . . . on their terms:  The Chronicle of Philanthropy

In addition to providing free paper copies of the Chronicle, they were offering free sign up for people to subscribe to issues online, with the screen facing passersby, so that they could create an account immediately:

It makes a great deal of difference to your constituency how you engage them, and how much you ask of them. Prizes are nice, of course, but most of us left each conference without a new iPad – and will unsubscribe to all of the new emails we’ll be getting . . . unless they provide value and convenience to our lives.

The AFP conference in Chicago was held at McCormick Place, which is akin to a large airport! LOTS of walking is necessary to get from one session to another. Even the convention center itself has moved with the times to try to provide service that is convenient to its customers. I noticed this sign in a women’s restroom:

McCormick Cares   Please text the "Keyword" below: MCE3504F  followed by any Restroom needs to 69050

What can you do to keep your finger on the pulse of your constituent base? Have you been measuring your areas of growth, so you can address them and meet those needs? Online giving has increased in nearly all sectors, for example.

Mobile giving and texting are going to show explosive growth in the next year. While smart phones are currently only 13% of handhelds, they account for 78% of the handheld traffic. Does this impact how you might alter your strategy? Would you consider adding a graphic like the one below to your next direct mail appeal, for example?

QR codes are becoming very useful for a variety of things. You can search for a (free) QR code app on your smart phone to decode the one above, and if you wish to create a code of your own, it’s very easy. The code can translate into a word, phrase, phone number, hyperlink, or sms – and be in various sizes. Give it a try!

Just as with any new venture, the response rate will be smaller and slower than something already being done, but the segment of your population that uses this venue will appreciate your catering to them – and they will grow with you over time.  They will also remember who responded to their needs earliest.

Keep the base of the pyramid strong

Is Direct Mail Dead?

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Is Direct Mail Dead?  Oh, please!  Of course not!  Should you continue mailing appeals, notices, etc. to your constituents?  Well, yes, but probably not exactly in the same way you have been.  Are you tracking your responses/income per mailing over time, ROI, CPM, etc.?  What about A/B split testing?  It’s important to know what is working best for your particular population and adapt to their needs.  For example, perhaps it’s time for your mailed newsletter to become an e-newsletter, your mail appeals to incorporate a direct donation hyperlink, and so on.

Anytime something new appears, there’s a story (or several) asking if the trend previous to it is “dead,” just because this NEW trend has made some headway.  As a number-crunching geek, I always cringe over these ignoramuses!  Most often, it’s either a reporter looking for a tunnel-vision lead on a [non] story, or someone presenting a talk that is pushing their product or agenda, to the exclusion of everything else.

Let’s see . . . We’ll use a hypothetical example, just to show some basic math here:

If population A previously had 90% of the market, and population B (GASP!) doubled their take from 10% to 20% of the share…

Is population A now “dead”?!

Uh . . . no.  That still leaves them with 80% of the market – see?

But it IS a remarkable story on how population B is growing, isn’t it?  Well done, B!  They are setting a trend that savvy people will continue to watch.  Most of the media, however, will jump at the chance to declare A dead, simply because B has emerged.

This is true in many aspects of society, beyond fund raising trends. As soon as a smaller, previously unknown or ignored segment begins to gain some momentum, it can be hailed as the next greatest thing (e.g., Facebook), or, in cases of ignorance and fear, treated as something to be cautioned about, such as women, Latinos or African Americans “taking over,” etc.

It’s an interesting exercise to google the phrase “is dead” and see what turns up.  I will concede I’m pretty sure that Michael Jackson (and Elvis) are, in fact, dead.  And, I’ll even be willing to grant the authors who said that all privacy on Facebook “is dead,” – though technically, I never believed it existed in the first place, so . . .  But that’s a trifle I don’t wish to quibble over.

Among the items that various authors have currently (or previously) declared as dead:

MySpace – (If you agree, I recommend reading danah boyd’s article and blog)
Facebook apps
Twitter, for various reasons (2008 and 2009)
mobile weba rebuttal
the Kindlea pro & con argument

Some of these “dead” items on the list may be things that you have yet to use – or at least you still are finding to be effective at your organization. Just as your parents told you not to follow what the crowd deemed “cool” simply because someone declared it to be; likewise, don’t throw out a perfectly good program that works for you and your organization, due to an article in a snazzy magazine/blog.

If direct mail makes up 60% of your income – when it used to be 75% – that’s still 60% you want to pay attention to.  Obviously, you need to pay attention to the other 40% that’s most likely going to continue to grow; however, nobody can afford to ignore nearly 2/3 of their income!  It certainly is not dead!

Keep the base of the pyramid strong

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