by Michael Bres
All charitable institutions are struggling with the same problems:
- Declining response to direct mail
- Decreasing number of collectors
- Decreasing number of legacies
- Decreasing willingness to donate
Therefore more creativity than ever before is required if donors are to be recruited and retained and fundraising campaigns are to remain efficient.
Communication via e-mail and Internet is cheaper than via any other medium and it offers more moments of contact and the opportunity of greater bonding with donors. With links through to the website, film clips can be shown for example with concrete results which are recorded. In this way each moment of contact is not accompanied by just “a giro transfer behind the window” but synergy occurs between various media (traditional and new). It is also very important that an individual e-mail file is built up. This is possible via the Internet, e-mail campaigns with rented addresses, participation in surveys and many other initiatives.
The renting of e-mail addresses can be done in a highly focused way these days. The use of flat and complete files is old fashioned. Professionals offer the possibility of matching just the addresses which meet the precise target group criteria having previously removed duplicates from your own donor file using post code/house number combinations.
For direct mail campaigns this happens as standard but strangely enough it is often forgotten in e-mail campaigns. However, pay attention to the existing profile of your donor file. In reality the online respondent is often not the same as the person who responds offline! The existing segmentation companies have access to information at post code or household level, while e-mail traffic occurs on a personal level. Aspects such as online purchasing behavior or simply an individual’s overall willingness to respond to e-mail and Internet campaigns are frequently of much greater importance.
There are specific segmentation methods for e-mail marketing. It is best to choose a segmentation system which is based on the online response behavior of consumers. This provides the possibility of approaching your target group effectively, carrying out campaigns to find new customers and analyzing the response in order to sharpen subsequent selections.
Hundreds of e-mail campaigns are carried out every year. An enormous amount of data has been made available by monitoring these campaigns and surveys. From these sources, trends have been established in response behavior, click behavior, product preferences, interests, socio-demographic characteristics and online purchasing behavior. The simple selection of address files is therefore a thing of the past.
An example of online segments:
Young people online
- Living at home
- Young Singles
- Young Families
- Dynamic Families
- Online Purchasers
- People making purchasing decisions online
- Average Families
- Successful Families
- Golden oldies / early retirees
- Senior Citizens
These are groups of people with proven comparable response behavior within the e-mail segment. The segments are dynamic and are enriched continually with new, current underlying characteristics.
Subsequently selections can be made on practically all occurring criteria. Here think of region, susceptibility to mail order, age, income, family make up, rented/purchased property, social class etc.
In just a few years, e-mail marketing has developed into a medium which can no longer be ignored in the modern marketing mix.
Michel Bres is with DM Media BV, a Netherlands based firm that specializes in the development, production and expansion of online marketing campaigns.