How To Integrate Online and Offline Content

September 28, 2016

It’s just not enough anymore to send a piece of direct mail and hope for the best.

We’re living in the digital age! I’m sure you’ve already heard about how vital it is that you integrate your online and offline fundraising to create a seamless, simple donor journey that ends in a successful gift.

That precious journey can become fragmented so easily. Donors are bombarded with thousands of messages (fundraising and otherwise!) every single day. The moment they become distracted or confused at a step in the journey you’ve laid out for them, you can bet you’ve lost their attention – and their gift.

So – how can you create a streamlined donor journey, both online and in the real world?

Consider what the donor is seeing

Whether they open the mail and then hop online to give, or they receive a follow-up email and click a link, it’s vital that you make that journey feel seamless. The messaging, imagery, and ask should be consistent all the way through. If it’s a message about tiny orphaned kittens that resonated with the donor and prompted them to give, why would you send them to a donation page that talks about re-homing guinea pigs? Stick with what’s already working, and drive it home through repetition.

Have website content that reflects the ask

And ideally, this is on your homepage. It should be highly visible and easy to find. When a donor goes to your website, but then doesn’t see anything about the ultra-super-important priority need you just mailed them about? Suddenly, that need doesn’t look quite as urgent.

Whether it’s a graphic banner or an info-filled landing page that connects to your donation page, you need to keep consistency in your ask on every platform.

Re-use language and imagery from the mailing

This plays on a popular content marketing strategy called COPE, or Create Once, Publish Everywhere. The idea is that you created all these assets – the letter copy, the artwork, and so forth. With some small tweaks, you can easily adapt that existing print content for the digital realm. Make you letter more concise, add some links, and boom – that’s an email! Re-size your artwork to create matching banners for landing pages or email.

When donors see something over and over, we fundraisers often presume that they get bored or over-saturated. That’s just not the case. For one thing, human beings are fundamentally programmed to like things that are familiar (because familiar = safe). While you it day in and day out through the development of the letter, the donor only actually saw it once or twice. To them, it’s really not that repetitive at all. It’s a familiar face, and a familiar story, and that feels comfortable and appealing.

Segment the follow-up

It’s great to see so many charities hopping on board with follow-up and preminder emails. You can take it one stepfurther by segmenting. Provide one version of the email to those you mailed, specifically referencing that they just received a piece of mail from you. This feels so much more personalized because it speaks to a real-world experience they already had – you know them so well!

If you go this route, consider your audience carefully. Think about what works for them specifically and how it translates (or doesn’t!) to a digital context. The PS is a great example. I wouldn’t recommend that you use one in a standard email to a broad audience, because it rarely feels authentic or appropriate (when’s the last time you wrote a quick email to a friend or colleague and used a PS?). An email isn’t the right format to us a PS – unless it’s in a follow-up email specifically to a direct mail audience! That group is used to seeing a PS, regardless of the format , so for them, it fits.

As an added bonus, you can create a second segment and send the exact same ask out to the rest of your email list – without any extra work!


How are you making sure your donors can move seamlessly between the digital and physical realms? I’d love to know!

 

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Charlotte Field

Charlotte Field

Fundraiser. Digital native. Word wiz. Tea drinker. Pun maker. Kitten cuddler. Pronounces GIF with a hard 'g'.