Your direct mail has landed in mailboxes, your donors have officially stopped thinking about turkey and stuffing and are instead thinking about Christmas, and you’re now starting to execute digital touch points to help you meet your end-of-year campaign goal. So, we’re sharing a few “do’s” and “don’ts” to keep in mind for your digital strategy this month:
1. DO boost your Facebook posts
Current Facebook algorithms make it REALLY hard for you to organically get your EOY content in front of the people you want to see it. That’s why we always recommend boosting your posts. When you boost, Facebook pushes your content directly to the audience you’ve chosen – either people who like your page and their friends or people you choose through targeting. Second option sounds intriguing, right? This is cool. Facebook lets you build “lookalike lists.” You can select from a myriad of options – some examples include everyone who has watched videos you’ve posted, anyone who has liked your page or – our favorite – everyone on your email list.
Facebook will then pull the list you’ve chosen, or allow you to upload it (like your email list), and will generate a Facebook audience that matches it. So, when you boost your content to that targeted audience, it’ll get in front of a whole new set of eyes rather than just your followers! Check it out for your EOY Facebook posts – as well as your 2019 digital strategy – and let us know if you want to learn more.
DON’T exhaust your budget on Facebook boosting
Boosting is definitely strategic for getting your content seen on Facebook, and it shouldn’t break your bank. We get asked all the time, “How much should we spend on our Facebook boost?” The answer is: you don’t have to spend a lot for the boost to be effective. We recommend spending between $10-$20 to boost a post. By doing so, you’re boosting to thousands of people! If you have unique, once-a-year type content, it may be worth spending $50 on that particular post. But that’s the exception, not the rule.
2. DO send out regular emails to your donor list
Emails are a must to round out your EOY campaign strategy. Send out regular updates on how the campaign is going, how many weeks are left to go, excitement of a matching gift – or just a big gift, in general. Remind your email list of the impact their dollar will make and keep the faces of those you’re helping in front of them with pictures, videos and stories. Keep it short and sweet, but purposeful.
General best practice is to send emails Tuesday through Thursday, mid-morning. But who says your audience/donor base fits the norm? Let the data from your past year(s) of sending emails inform the timing of your EOY emails. Do your emails get the most opens and clicks at a different time? On a certain day? Do some digging through past email records before scheduling this year.
DON’T just ask for money
The quickest way for your email list to begin forwarding your emails directly to the trash is if you train them to expect that every email is just asking for money. Don’t do it. Mix it up. Always give them the chance to give, but don’t only ask for money. Instead, train them to expect thought-leadership, inspiration and motivation. Then when you do send that gift match email, they’ll open it.
3. DO create a landing page for EOY donations
There are so many good reasons to do this. 1) It will allow you to connect your digital and direct mail efforts with your ROI. How many folks visited the landing page during your EOY campaign? How many folks gave through it? 2) You create cohesion for your campaign from start to finish. With consistent EOY branding and messaging, you reinforce that this is a unique opportunity with a set timeframe, a set goal, a set purpose – and they can be part of it – from opening the letter you sent them, to the social media posts they see as they scroll Facebook, to clicking “donate” on the unique landing page.
DON’T make your URL complicated
K-I-S-S. Keep it simple, stupid. Easy to remember, right? Don’t over complicate your landing page. Choose the first word or maybe the first few words of your EOY theme and make that the URL. No need to get overly creative here. Make the connection for your donors as easy to remember as possible.
4. DO create a content calendar
If you’ve spent any serious amount of time with a member of the Angel Oak team, you’ve heard us mention content calendars. It’s ALWAYS a good use of your time to organize your digital content in one place. This is important to successfully execute a multi-channel approach in your EOY campaign. It allows you to be strategic about the critical information you’re trying to communicate since your audience may be engaging with you on a variety of platforms, and also protects you from accidentally forgetting during those stressful weeks mid-campaign to hit send on an email or post to Facebook like you’d wanted to.
DON’T wait until day-of to draft an email or social post
A thought-out, strategic EOY campaign should never have you waiting until the day of to draft an email to your donor list. And chances are, when the scheduled day comes for that email to go out, you won’t have the time to write it anyway. So, draft emails and social posts in advance. Leave a spot to plug in updated progress towards your goal day-of, if necessary, and hit send. Even better, schedule the email or post the day before.
5. DO engage until you meet your goal – and be loud about it
This is the time of year to be LOUD. Run the risk of annoying your followers. Don’t let someone tell you in January they didn’t know about your campaign or your need. December is the biggest giving month of the year by far. Make as much noise as you can if you care about your mission. If you set a deadline of Dec. 31, and then Dec. 31 rolls around and you’re still $5k short of your goal, extend your deadline. Don’t accept falling short of your goal just for the sake of a deadline. Utilize January to close the gap and cross the finish line strong. That could mean calling a few major donors from years before who haven’t given yet this year. Or scheduling a handful of January emails sharing how close you are to the goal and inviting your base to step up to start 2019 strong!
DON’T drop off the map after Christmas
30% of December giving happens on December 27 or 31. That means you can’t drop off the map after Christmas! It’s not over ‘till it’s over. Continue to use a multi-channel approach. Have emails scheduled for both of these days with easy opportunities and incentives for people to give. Remind them of the stories and vision you’ve been telling them for the past month. Inspire them right up until that ball drops at midnight!
Need more digital help? Let us know how we can help you in your 2019 digital strategy!
-Paige Burr, Senior Marketing Strategist