Welcome! Thanks for joining us for our 12 Days of Digital holiday countdown!
As we move closer to the Christmas period, we'll be sharing some of our top hints, tips and ideas for how to make 2020 your most digital year yet. Between now and 20th December we'll reveal the many different ways that you can integrate digital techniques and strategies into your future campaigns and appeals. Whether it's to increase engagement, to convert more donors, or to have more fun, we hope that the suggestions we have to share will give you some ideas for how you can embrace your inner digital ninja.
Before you begin embracing everything that digital has to offer, ask yourself this question, 'Is everyone on board with being more digital'? Making sure that all parts of your team are ready for this transition is a must for any digital strategy. If team members aren't bought into the idea, creating a more digital-friendly environment for your campaigns and appeals can be a struggle - especially if your digital strategy requires more flexibility and additional budget.
Think about each team member, from your Director to engagement colleagues, operations team members and everyone in between. Are they ready for the journey that's ahead? Take stock, see who's on-side, who might need some convincing and start from there. Once you have everyone bought in - or enough team members to make the strategy work - your 2020 vision for being more digital can start to take shape.
While being more digital does rely on gathering a healthy amount of engaging content, take the time before you start diving into the wonderful world of GIFs, video and Instagram stories to decide what your strategy for digital will be, and what journeys you want your audiences to take.
Here are a few questions that you can ask to get started
Once you have a solid strategy in place, as well as audience journeys that have been well thought out, you can move on to creating purpose-driven content that will help you to deliver on the goals and objectives of your strategy.
Whenever ‘being more digital’ is mentioned, it doesn’t take long before the topic of social media enters the conversation. Particularly which social media channels to use, and often phrased as ‘Which social media channel is the best?’.
Which social media channels you use, and therefore which channels will work best, often hinges on what strategy you adopt, as well as what you hope to achieve through using social media. So while there isn’t one channel that ranks above them all or a magic bullet answer to send your social media engagement through the roof, there are some insights we can share to help you decide which channels might work best for your strategy.
For these, and other social media insights, you can download a copy of the infographic Social Media Across the Generations from the Global Web Index, here.
Today we’re taking a look at some suggestions for how you can create opportunities to extend the engagement of more traditional channels, such as direct mail and telephone, by introducing a multi-channel approach. In part 1 we’ll cover direct mail, followed by part 2 on telephone appeals, which we'll cover tomorrow.
By multi-channel, we don’t mean simply adding an online donation page as a way for donors to make their gifts (although that is definitely something you should do!), but rather using more than just the primary channel of the appeal to trigger donations.
Adding a secondary channel to your campaigns, such as social media, creates two opportunities. Firstly, it expands your audience beyond those who you have physical addresses for. Secondly, sharing the impact of a campaign, especially its successes, on social media can increase the campaign’s social proof, encouraging more and more potential supporters to get behind your cause.
Some suggestions for being multi-channel with direct mail.
Yesterday, we took a look at some suggestions for being more digital with your direct mail campaigns. Today, we’ll cover some approaches that could be applied to your telephone appeal.
Just like direct mail, adding additional channels that compliment your telephone appeal can help to increase engagement. Here are a few suggestions on how to be more multi-channel on the phone.
Let’s fast forward to the end of 2020. Digital strategies have been implemented and donors have given, but what’s next for those who gave through your digital channels?
Earlier in this blog post (Day 2) we mentioned the importance of putting the strategy and the journey ahead of the content you create. That strategy and journey isn’t just important for encouraging potential supporters, it’s also important for retaining donors on an ongoing basis - whether that’s through a regular monthly donation or ad hoc single gifts.
Here are a few best practice tips for digital donor retention, as well as a few ways to be mindful of how digital donors may be different.
Start with a plan
Don’t wait for donors to give before putting together a donor retention plan for them. Delaying their journey could result in a loss of engagement and a donor that’s harder to retain.
How digital donors are different: Those who give online are most likely attracted to it because it’s quick and easy. Consider how to maintain that appeal in the follow-up communications that you send. For example, if a donor gives through an online form, make sure that they immediately receive an email that contains all the information they’ll need about their gift. This creates trust with the donor that they can make a gift in this way without worry. It can also cut down on the number of gift receipts your team may need to send out in the post - which is also great for the environment and saves on the cost of postage.
Go one step further: As well as making sure donors receive their immediate thank you via email, consider creating an automated email journey for your digital donors that can remind them of the impact of their gift.
Follow up with impact
This one isn’t really any different than what you’re probably already doing for those donors who gave via direct mail or telephone. Just like those donors, your digital donors were encouraged to give because of the inspiring stories they heard so make sure their post donation journey keeps telling inspiring stories.
How digital donors are different: The stories you tell are still the same, but how you tell them might need some thought. One way to tell great stories with lots of impact is to use video. And as we saw on Day 3, Youtube is a great channel for engaging with donors of the digital kind.
Go one step further: Think about using Facebook and Instagram retargeting ads as a way to keep the impact messages going. Because you have a donor who has made a gift online, you can use their pre-donation journey information to not only serve them ads that thank them for their gift, but also ads that keep the story going.
In your first year of being more digital, spend time figuring out what works best for your audiences, as well as what works well for the channels you are using.
Wondering if Instagram is a good channel for student engagement? Test it!
Thinking of using more videos in your comms and creating a YouTube Channel to boost overall engagement? Test it!
Curious if longer copy or shorter copy is better for converting donors via email? Test it!
Want to see if your Millenials and Baby Boomers will respond to retargeting asks on Facebook? You guessed it… Test it!
Any thought that starts with ‘What if…’ or ‘Could we…’ should be followed by a test to see what happens. The great thing about digital is that the risk is pretty low and so is the cost. We give you permission to get carried away!
BUT... we only give you permission, if you promise to measure your results. One of the best ways to measure how your social media activities are translating into actions on your website is to use Google Analytics. This article from Hootsuite has some great tips for doing just that.
Then, with tests in place, results measured, and the engagement analysed, you can begin to outline SMART goals that can help you to maintain and grow your digital presence.
You’ve spent time considering your digital strategy, as well as the journeys your donors will take. But, have you thought about the final stage in their pre-donation journey - the donation page.
When potential supporters reach your donation page, how easy will it be for them to make their gift? Is your donation form a pleasure to complete? Or is it a barrier to great donor engagement? Here are a few questions to consider to see if your donation form is up to the task at hand.
Is it easy to find?
If your donation form is hidden from potential supporters, making it more visible across your entire website could be a quick win for helping to increase donations.
Potential donors may be given a direct link within the asks they receive, however, they may choose to browse the website before making a decision about their gift. If this happens, can they easily find their way back to your form? The same is true for anyone who finds your website through paid or organic search traffic.
Make sure your donation page can be easily found, no matter what their journey might be.
Is it clear what donors are being asked to do?
Once a donor has reached your donation page, do they know what’s expected of them. One of the top reasons for high bounce rates on online donation pages is that donors aren’t prompted well enough when they get to the page. Asking them to make a single gift? Make sure the form they receive is for single gifts. Asking a donor to give a certain amount? Make sure the donor is prompted with that amount as the preferred option. The clearer a donor is about what’s expected of them, the more likely they will be to complete their donation.
How long is the form?
The longer the form, the higher the potential bounce rate.
Collecting useful details about your donors as they make their gifts can be a proactive way of making sure you really know who your donors are. There is however a fine line between collecting useful data, that is going to help you better serve your donors, and nosey data, that is going to help better serve your data analysis. The analysis of donor data is important, however, make sure that you aren’t asking for so much data that your donors are exiting the page before completing their donation. Finding a balance between the two is key, making sure to keep a donor-led approach at all times.
Does it accept quick payment methods?
One of the benefits of making a donation online is that it’s quick and easy (or at least it should be). Your donors, whose preference it is to make a gift online, will also be accustomed to making online purchases on sites such as Amazon, eBay, Apple and other online retailers. Is your checkout payment method quick and easy or is it full of redirects? If your donation page follows familiar checkout options and user journeys that are similar to those your donors are already familiar with, they’ll enjoy giving on your site just as much as they love shopping online.
Is it optimized for mobile
Sure your donation form looks great on desktops, but how does it look when it’s scaled down for mobile. A good proportion of your donors who make a gift online will give from their mobile or smart device, so it’s well worth the extra time when setting up your online donation form to make sure that the experience for mobile users is just the same as it is for desktop users.
Does it have a share-worthy post-donation thank you page?
Another benefit that comes from encouraging online donations, is the ability for your donors to share the fact that they’ve given with their online networks. This is especially true if you are planning to run something like a Giving Day, where the social proof that’s generated by donors can be worth its weight in gold. But in order for those share-worthy moments to happen, your donors need to be given a post-donation experience that they can’t wait to share. So make sure that you create an experience that’s instantaneous, personal and easily shared.
If you want to learn as much as you can about how users are interacting with your website, and its content, make sure your website has a Google Analytics account attached to it. Remember when we encouraged you to get carried away with testing (Day 7)? Well, we also made your promise you would measure and evaluate those tests - and Google Analytics is one of the best ways to do just that!
Once you’re ready to start analysing your website, the information within Google Analytics might seem a bit overwhelming. But fear not, we’ve put together a little cheat sheet to help you get familiar with this amazing bit of tech.
Sessions and Users OR How does the website traffic develop?
Why it matters: If you are encouraging website visits through any kind of activity, or medium, you’ll want to see if your website’s user counts and sessions are increasing as a result.
New and Returning Visitors OR How often do users return to the website?
Why it matters: It’s great if users are visiting your website, but what you really want is a healthy balance of both new and returning visitors to your website. New visitors mean you’re reaching a wider audience of potential supporters. And returning visitors means that your website, and its content, are worth coming back for.
Bounce Rate OR Are visitor requirements being met?
Why it matters: When visitors get to a page on your site that you want them to interact with (like a donation page), are they completing the journey you expected them to take - or are they leaving? If they are leaving, it’s worth investigating why that is and fixing it quickly.
Goal Conversion Rate OR Do visitors perform desired target actions?
Why it matters: In fundraising, Goal Conversion is probably one of the most underutilised metrics. If you are asking your supporters to take any actions within your website, make sure they have a goal attached to them. Doing so will make the analysis of these actions much simpler.
Time on Page OR How much time do visitors spend on a page?
Why it matters: If you are telling stories within your website, or you have something like a blog, the time visitors spend on those pages can be a useful indicator as to whether or not that content is actually being read and enjoyed.
Average Page Load Time OR How important is the page speed, actually?
Why it Matters: No one wants to lose potential website visitors (or donations) due to a page that takes too long to load. If donations aren’t being completed, as well as any other important actions on your website, understanding this metric could lead to a quick and easy solution.
Top 10 Landing Pages OR Which landing pages are most relevant?
Why it matters: Knowing which pages on your website are your most popular can provide you with some useful insight into what your visitors really like. When you know this you can continue to create content that will keep your visitors coming back for more.
Bonus Tip - UTM Tags: Ever click on a link that’s full of additional gobbledegook? That’s most likely what’s called an Urchin Tracking Module (what?!), or UTM for short. They are great for when you might be sending out fundraising campaigns through various different online channels and you want to have an effective way of measuring the accomplishment of each. Google also has a handy tool that can help you to easily create these
With so much digital ninja-ing going on, it’s useful to have a few bits of kit to help manage everything. From social media to image creation and organisation to analysis, today’s post will see us through the first half of our top 10 digital must-haves.
Either of these social media tools can help you to expertly manage your social engagement. Regardless of which one you choose, both of these applications can schedule posts to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Instagram Stories, LinkedIn, and Pinterest through a simple dashboard. No more late-night posting!
Here at Hubbub, we LOVE Canva. It’s not a paid endorsement, we simply think it rocks! Why do we love it so much? It’s super easy to use whether you’re looking to create content for social media, invitations, flyers, posters or even videos. It comes with a host of pre-designed templates for just about anything you can think of and the quality of what you can produce is top-notch. So if you’ve got the creative bug, give this one a go.
Another favourite that we’ve discovered this year is Campaign Monitor (CM). More than just a tool for sending emails, CM can help you automate journeys for both proactive and reactive outbound emails. Members of your community subscribing to a blog or newsletter, make sure new subscribers are welcomed with a journey that’s been designed just for them. The tool is also great for creating journeys that can sit alongside activities such as direct mail or Giving Days.
One of the best ways to get to know your community is to ask them what they think about who you are and what you do, often done in a survey. Survey Anyplace is a great tool for helping you to do just that. It has a fantastically streamlined survey creation experience that’s also optimised for mobile - making it easier for users to take part in your surveys.
We’ve talked a lot about testing throughout this blog, so if testing to increase website conversions is your thing, then Convert is for you. It’s a great tool for helping you to take all the data that you’ve gathered from Google Analytics, turning it into website tests that can help you to convert more users - be they blog subscribers, newsletter community members or donors.
Welcome to part 2 of our top ten list of digital tools.
Databases that help keep track of donation and donor information (GDPR- compliant of course) are great. However, if running a more content and journey led supporter experience is on your digital to-do list, then investing in a marketing CRM, such as Hubspot, is a worthwhile investment.
Social proof has a lot to do with the success of digital campaigns, especially when running a Giving Day. It’s simple, the more people who say great things about your organisation or institution the more people you attract. Proof is a great tool that can help you to display the glowing reviews of your adoring fans to others who visit your website.
If you like lists, and you like to stay organised, Trello is the digital tool for you! While there are paid-for upgrades, the majority of Trello’s features are free. Whether they’re for content schedules, to-do lists or overall project management, you can create personal boards for your own work, or you can create boards that can be shared amongst team members.
Curious how far visitors scroll down your donation page before they stop filling out the form? Wonder how much of your blog your subscribers actually read? What about how pages on your website flow - and how that contributes to the overall user experience of your website visitors? If these, and other questions, are on your mind, a tool like Hotjar is one to add to your digital wish list.
With so many digital tools to make your life easier, one thing that can be frustrating is when those tools don’t speak to one another. Most of the time this means manual automation of tasks that take hours, rather than seconds. No one has time for that! Lots of the tools on this list have built in API’s, meaning they’ll connect to, and speak to, most other applications. But for those that don’t there’s Zapier. It’s a great way to get your digital tools talking and it can save you a lot of valuable time.
Those are the top ten digital tools. There are lots out there, but these are just a few of our favourites. We hope that some of them make your lists too! Join us tomorrow for the final day in our 12 Days of Digital countdown!
We’ve covered a lot of ground over the past 12 days - it’s been quite the journey!
Today, on the final day of our countdown we’ve got a few suggestions for how you can keep increasing your digital knowledge all-year-round.
There are lots of organisations and institutions who offer certifications in digital marketing. A quick Google search will provide you with what’s available, as well as what might best suit your level of qualification and the time commitments required. Certification in digital marketing will professionalise your skills, while also giving you a general overview of how to apply marketing best practices to your fundraising campaigns and appeals.
Study in your own time for free
If forking out the cash for certification isn’t high on your priority list, there are still lots of great free online tutorials and classes that can help you to up your digital marketing game. As ever, Hubspot has already done the hard work and has a fully prepared list of free options that are available, here.
Read (or listen) to books and podcasts
On your way into work, on a walk on the weekends, or on your lunch break, take time out to read books and listen to podcasts about digital marketing - or any related field for that matter. If you are looking for inspiration, why not check out the latest version of our curated newsletter, hubbub connects, for a few suggestions.
Watch YouTube tutorials
For everything technical that we’ve covered in this blog, from Google Analytics to Facebook Retargeting, there is a YouTube tutorial to help you get to grips with not only what to do, but what to try and what to test. If ever you feel stuck with a particular digital conundrum, head on over to YouTube to see if they have a video that can help you to get back on track.
The world around you
There is inspiration everywhere, so keep your eyes peeled for the things that you like (or don’t) that are happening in the digital world. Pull examples from within the sector but also look for ideas from outside the sector as these can sometimes be where great innovation and forward-thinking ideas will come from.
That’s it - 12 Days of Digital! We hope that you’ve enjoyed this journey and we want to thank you for staying with us and for reading all of our suggestions. We hope that 2020 is your most digital year yet!
With many of us and our communities concerned about COVID-19, it can be tricky to know what direction to travel in and which decisions to make when it comes to keeping your charity's supporter community committed and engaged with your cause.