Mon, August 20 2007

Ten tips for not getting trashed

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

This is your audience.  Really.

So what do you do about this situation?

Here are ten tips to avoid getting trashed:

1. Think before you send.  Do you have the right audience, right message and right time for that message?  Not sure?  Then freeze!  Put down the postal meter slowly and take your finger off that send button.  Don’t waste your time—or your audience’s.

2. Send to people who want to receive your message.  You could buy a ginormous list of cold prospects or focus on a carefully built list of people who care.  You’ll do much better with the latter group, who have given you permission to communicate with them.  They will be far less likely to consider you trash.

3. Focus your message on your audience’s interests, aspirations and desires rather than your own need for money.  It will work better.

4. Keep it simple - too many ideas and too much text will get you trashed. 

5. Get to the point in spectacular fashion, in the first few words.  The headline of your envelope or the subject line of your email needs to seize the audience’s attention.  Don’t ever bury the lead.  (A good trick that usually works - throw out your first paragraph.)

6. Offer something of value to the reader—helpful tips, for example.  Those are likely to be saved, not trashed.  People will think of you in a favorable way.

7. Segment and personalize.  The more the missive speaks to the receiver as an individual, the more likely they will perceive it as something other than spammy slop.

8.  Be different.  People are drowning in (e)mail.  Whether it’s the shape of your envelope, the tone of your message or the startling honesty of your subject line, a standout element is required.

9. Make the call to action so incredibly easy to do, people just can’t say no.  Strive for a one-click or one-second level of ease.

10.  Make it easy for people to unsubscribe or get off your mailing list.  Listen to Dr. Wilson and include an unsubscribe button—or a prepaid postcard allowing people to tell you they don’t want your mail or prefer different kind of communication (a feature you could advertise on the outside of the envelope).  Getting that kind of postcard would amaze and delight me!


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Fri, August 17 2007

How to sell a nose bidet

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

This week I became acquainted with with the BadPitch blog, and I’m loving it.  As a former journalist, I experienced more bad pitches than I can count, many of them from nonprofits.  I had a very large circular file at my desk.

Let me share with you the ways to really irritate a reporter:

1. Call simply to ask if someone got your press release.  This is the #1 pet peeve of most journalists.  Don’t do it.

2. Pitch something that shows you did absolutely no homework on the reporter or their media outlet—ie, pitching a story they’d never cover or one they just did.

3. Fail to get their attention and interest in the first five seconds/words of your contact with them.

I could go on like the cranky journalist I once was, but instead, let me share the following mold-breaking pitch of a bizarre product, courtesy of BadPitch.

What, you may ask, is this thing?

It’s a nose bidet – or nose douche.  Yep, it is.

Now, imagine your job is to pitch this product to media.  Do you feel a rush of gratitude that it’s not?  OK but imagine it is.  What would you do?

Now check out the pitch job that was done and the coverage that resulted.  And that’s not counting Oprah.  Or USA Today.  Or NPR.  Wow.  The pitch (which has the word sh*t in it, just warning you)  actually became the story.  And that wasn’t all that bad an outcome, considering.  Wow.  Now that’s creatively engaging a jaded member of the media.

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Thu, August 16 2007

Does chewing gum save the children?

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Cause-related marketing •

Today I received the following note from a sharp-eyed reader of this blog:

Hello Katya,
I attended one of your online fundraising seminars in Washington, D.C. last fall and I’ve been following your blog since then.  Today as I was exiting the metro in DC and heading off to work, I noticed people passing out samples of Trident gum. This type of marketing is not unusual here. But what I did find unusual was that the people were wearing Save the Children t-shirts while passing out samples of Trident Splash! gum.  What do you think is the marketing plan here? What’s in it for Save the Children? Name recognition?
Tara Karasch

Hmmm… good question.  What was the connection, and why wasn’t it made clearer at the point of distribution?

I googled “Trident” and “Save the Children” and found this microsite.  It says:

Trident® sugarless gum and Save the Children® U.S. Programs have teamed together to bring a smile to children’s faces by supporting literacy and nutritional initiatives that benefit children in need in rural areas throughout our country. Join us as we celebrate Trident supporting Save the Children® U.S. Programs. Trident has generously donated to this worthy cause. Pass along a smile!

On the site, you can donate to Save the Children, download wallpaper, send ecards, see pictures of yourself taken by the gum-distributing smile patrol, etc.

I asked Tara if she got any of that.  Here’s what she said:

Hello Katya,
This makes sense after reading the press release, but not before. I have to admit that I didn’t read the entirety of their t-shirts, but what I did notice was “Save the Children” boldly printed on yellow t-shirts. How much detail do we really take in while zooming past on our commute? It wasn’t a very successful marketing effort for me. Perhaps if the gum samples actually had the program logo on them (as the packs of gum on the website did), it all would have clicked and made sense for me. However, my experience was walking away wondering why Save the Children was passing out gum. They did make me think though.

The campaign is certainly interesting but there are some missing links here, I think.

1. Missing link #1: The communication to the consumer.  They need to communicate the program to commuters, quickly.  I don’t think most people will bother to think the way Tara and I did.

2. Missing link #2: The connection between gum and charity.  What is the link between literacy, nutrition and gum?  It feels like a stretch.  The program is meant to show that when you chew the gum, Trident helps a charity, so kids smile and you smile and feel good - at least I think so - but that’s a lot to explain.  If Trident were supporting the charity Operation Smile, I would completely get it.  That would have an intuitive connection that is lacking here.

3. Missing link #3: The connection between action and result.  The site’s actions - wallpaper, ecards, etc. don’t exactly feel like ways to improve literacy, nor does buying gum.  I think they need to connect the actions of the consumer to the results for children more clearly.

Anyone else gotten a pack?  Had a different experience?  Like the new gum?  (I like the strawberry lime myself.)  Do tell!


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Wed, August 15 2007

To blog or not to blog?

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

My frolleagues (friends/colleagues) Jocelyn and Qui generously have shared the following presentation which answers the eternal existential question: “To blog or not to blog?”  Enjoy.

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Tue, August 14 2007

Extreme Nonprofit Makeover

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

By Jono Smith

Last month at Network for Good, we launched Nonprofit 911, a monthly series of training calls focused on helping nonprofits improve the health of their online fundraising programs. We also invited callers to nominate their organization for an “extreme website makeover,” and I’m pleased to announce we’ve selected First Step as the recipient. First Step is a non-profit agency in Southeast Michigan (Detroit area). First Step works to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and to prevent violence in the community, providing emergency shelter, a 24 hour crisis line, assault response team (volunteers who go to hospitals to assist victims), free legal clinics and support, adult and children’s children’s counseling, transitional housing, food, clothing, transportation, date rape risk reduction programs, children’s program and many other services. Last year, First Step touched the lives of over 16,000 individuals. In the words of Theresa Bizoe, Associate Director of First Step:

“First Step has a great story to tell. There are countless stories of women, children and men who have been helped by First Step. These stories have yet to be told and need to be shared with a community who believes that “victims always stay” and that the cycle of violence cannot be broken. Right now, the Detroit area needs to hear stories of hope and healing. However, violence can sometimes be a difficult subject to talk about. Some blame the victims for their situation (if First Step could have a $1 for every time someone asked us why the victim stays we would not need this makeover).
Congratulations Theresa & First Step! And stay tuned to the Nonprofit Marketing Blog for the results of this makeover!
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