Thursday, September 30, 2010

facebook ads

I know that I have touched on this already but I spent some time in the last couple of days looking into data mining of facebook "likers". This has been enlightening from the standpoint of what data is available and beyond that into how you can use it. I do a fair amount of data mining and am very comfortable with the how, what and why of it. What I have learned about facebook is that there is a wealth of data present. What else I have learned is that you can't get to 99% of it directly. You are able to mine interactions and you can get some very surface level data via API about connections but the really juicy stuff is behind the blue curtain.

So what can you do? Utilize the features of facebook ads. This is the profit center future of facebook and they provide an abundance of resources for you to utilize including: (watch the video at the top)

Once you have an ad up your real goal is to get folks to "like" it - that pulls what you are advertising into their data stream, shares it with their friends and means that you don't have to pay for their ongoing connection with you. While using facebook this morning to trade posts with an old friend, I came across the key to this - provide a carrot (what I saw this am was from a candle company and they were giving away a free candle) in the ad and to be entered into the drawing for it, all you need to do is "like" it.

Simple, easy and direct way to get folks who have interest in you (they did click on your ad) to take a small step in you direction. Starting work on it tomorrow - want to join me?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

back to basics - the from line

At this time of year most of our shops are running full bore - phone program calling past donors every night, direct mail well underway and hopefully in mailboxes or better yet coming back to you in USPS crates. I am sure that you have any number of direct mail pieces out there and probably a campaign built out for online engagement.

I am sure that you have thought in depth about the subject of the email and probably to a great length about who "signs" it but my experience has been that there is typically little or passing thought going into the from line. Yet consider that for the vast majority of the users - that is the first part of your email they see. I know that for me, 90% of my judgement of the value of an email is around who it is from. If it comes from a "generic" account it is a much lower priority than if it comes from a person - even more so if it is a person that I know.

So how do you identify a "person" for the email to come from? Can you create a campus account for class agents? or other volunteers? is there a way to use your phone program callers? Most software today will allow you to track who spoke with who and based upon outcomes you can track who had a good call and who might react well to further contact from the caller - not phone program follow up but true additional contacts. what about using a campus employee that folks would know? A long time faculty member? a beloved administrator? Think creatively about who knows who and who you can put in that role.

My one piece of advice is to create an account for that person(s) that you can manage for them - don't crush their email account with responses and bounces. Have fun and test, test, test - try it up against a generic control and see what you get for opens, gifts and clicks and then try it again!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

pricing strategies vs ask structures

I realize that this is a bit off topic for online fundraising but as it does strike right at the meat of annual giving programs - how much to ask for - I think that it fits.

Yesterday I read an article in Bloomsberg Businessweek about what Apple is - a tech or a design company with the author concluding that Apple is a pricing company. That's right, what they sell most is pricing. The example used to demonstrate this is the I-pod Touch, recently released with three price points. Each of those prices is above the price of the I-phone, that by the way does all of the same things as the touch plus has the little bonus of making phone calls.

They manage to do this by using pricing decoys, reference prices, bundling and obscurity. The final two clearly only work with physical product but the first two can be used in establishing buy in to ask amounts within an array.

Pricing tools can be used to establish a gift level that you want them to give at in the following manner - ask high and provide a reason for them to give that is real but not likely to be successful then follow with an ask that is what you actually want them to do accompanied by a reason for giving that is highly motivating.

Take a look at your ask structure and the support for each amount - have you tried to structure it like that? If so, let us know if it worked, if not, give it a shot - it works for Apple!