Custom donor publications still relevant in digital age

You’ve probably been told that printed, custom newsletters or magazines targeted to your donors are old school.  Or maybe your governing board wants to save money and encourages the use of Facebook or e-newsletters as your mode of communication instead. After all, they’re free, so why not?

The first step before creating any marketing materials or custom publications is defining your audience. Who do you want to reach? What action do you want them to take after reading?  Depending on your target audience, Facebook or an e-newsletter might be an appropriate part of your mix but keep in mind that social media is often most popular among young audiences whose pockets might not yet be very deep. If that’s your target audience, go for it. Otherwise, you might want to consider a more traditional mode of delivery, like a donor publication.

The Value of Donor Publications

Donor publications are in fact not dead and if done right, they can provide an ongoing mechanism to:

  • Recognize donor gifts
  • Profile key donors and why they give
  • Recognize sponsors and special event participants
  • Announce upcoming events
  • Educate donors about your organization
  • Supplement your “ask” materials for new donor meetings
  • Tell stories of how donations make a difference in people’s lives
  • Introduce and recognize employees and staff
  • Provide a regular reminder or vehicle to encourage gifts
  • Recognize board members to help with retention and recruitment
  • Provide a sense of community among your donors

 

A current client of ours recently sent out an e-newsletter to thousands of donors. Nearly 75% went unopened. The same client sends out a quarterly custom publication and inevitably gets a good response with remittance envelopes. That’s not to say one is better than the other, but for this client, custom publications are their sweet spot. The downside may be the cost of the investment, but you might find that the return on investment is well worth it.

A past client explains it this way:

“Through our custom donor publication we are able to keep 10,000 of our supporters informed about critical advancements each month.  This continued outreach has recently resulted in a $300,000 gift from a former patient. While this is one of our larger gifts, each quarter many supporters contribute funds ranging from several dollars to thousands of dollars. This outreach effort has resulted in a better informed, more engaged and knowledgeable community, which in turn continually increases their financial support.”

Consider outsourcing for good results

Maybe you have the talent to create a publication in house, maybe not. Oftentimes, newsletters are tacked on to someone’s job. The boss says, “Hey, you’re pretty good with computers, why don’t you be in charge of newsletter?” The end result is often more amateur than professional. It’s not that the staff member has poor intentions; it’s that they already have a primary role in the organization.

Worse yet, if the newsletter looks unprofessional and disorganized, it projects that image of your organization to your donors. The last thing you want is for them to view you as not having things together. After all, they might think, “If they are disorganized and unprofessional, will they be able to handle my money well?”

Maybe your primary organization’s internal marketing or communications staff could help?  Yes, they certainly have the talent; but again, is it their priority to help the foundation’s mission? Usually their

first priority is the key organization and your work falls to the bottom of the list. The quality and timeliness of your publication is the first to be bumped when more important projects present themselves. Then you are back to where you started — a publication that is no longer timely or effective.

It is vital that your custom publication be interesting, relevant, professional, timely and in alignment with your organization’s brand.

To do it right, consider outsourcing to a marketing firm or syndicated publisher. While you could go with the latter to purchase a canned publication, where part of your contract is a customized cover and perhaps interior spread, you’ll sacrifice it feeling “custom” for your audience. For example, you might end up with photos of the Florida coastline when your organization resides in the mountains of Colorado.

A better route would be to hire a marketing firm that can create custom content, produce relevant images, and establish a consistent, professional look-and-feel for your publication on a set (and honored) schedule.  A firm like this is usually very motivated to keep you on task and will provide a turnkey product that has an impact with your donors.

If you’re intrigued, give us a call. Creating custom publications for foundations is something we do regularly, with good results.

 

3Lynn Nichols, Content Manager

Lynn enjoys the challenge of creating custom publications that create results and engage donors. 


Brand Personality — Pumpkin-Spiced

 

Every year as summer begins to soften into fall, there are a couple of things I look forward to. The sweater weather, the changing leaves, football season and…Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice latte.

Not only do I love the taste of it, I love the special voice that their marketing team gives the PSL on social media.

Everything from beer, to cereal, to chips and salsa can be pumpkin-flavored, and we can give the credit for pumpkin spiced passion to Starbucks. The PSL was first created in 2003, and has started a pumpkin spice boom every fall season since. From the beginning of September to the end of October (or Pumpkin Spice Season), @TheRealPSL is active on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr with cleverly curated posts. The PSL has been on social media since 2014. Aside from the Frappucino, The PSL is the only drink on Starbucks’ menu that has its own social media account.

Ultimately, the PSL social media is all about creating and sustaining hype for the drink. The PSL accounts are only active in the fall — first, to announce the imminent arrival of the PSL, and thereafter to remind people they can still get it.

As a major part of Starbucks’ sales, the PSL and its social media are essential.

So what makes the PSL social media strategy so effective? Four vital attributes–audience, scarcity, brand personality and creative content.

Audience

Starbucks knows their audience well. PSL customers tend to be somewhat affluent, health-conscious millennials. Reaching their audience effectively means that Starbucks has been able to gain a lot of followers (37k on Instagram, 17.4k on Twitter). Not only do they have a significant number of followers, the PSL generates significant engagement on their posts as well. PSL posts receive 493% more likes per photo than Starbucks’ regular posts.

By using a mixture of photos, videos, and gifs, the PSL is able to diversify their social media feed and keep it interesting. And @TheRealPSL adds the bonus of responding personally to its followers.

Now you see where I got the good looks & bad eyesight. #FBF

A post shared by Pumpkin Spice Latte (@therealpsl) on

Scarcity

The PSL only comes around once a year for a short amount of time. Starbucks takes the cue of the changing leaves to start creating hype. By using clever, sporadic posts for the PSL social media, Starbucks drives excitement for the PSL and thus the purchase of the beverage.

Brand Personality

Unlike the other social media accounts for Starbucks, The PSL is very much a brand character. The posts are put into PSL’s first person voice. The more PSL posts, the more the audience learns about the character. Even though it’s a product and it’s not around most of the year, the audience is invested in the PSL story, and they grow to love the PSL character. And because the brand has a well-defined, fun personality the content they produce is top-notch.

Creative Content

To go along with brand personality, the PSL social team has created posts that are eye-catching, entertaining, and fun. We learn the PSL goes backpacking, has a pumpkin-cat named Ginger, and other fun details. And the brand is responsive — engaging with fans that want to interact with the beverage on social.

For another example of a company using a branding character, check out New Belgium Brewing Company’s Voodoo Ranger. He’s a relatively new marketing tool for New Belgium, but he’s already the face of four of their beers.

Utilize the PSL social media strategy for your own marketing goals. But be sure to be original — we all know that the copycats aren’t the same as the real thing! Now, who’s thirsty for a PSL?


Kirsten Queen, Project Manager at Jet Marketing

Kirsten once dressed up as a PSL for Halloween and it’s still her favorite costume to date.


A Publication to Love

They say people don’t read anymore. We all have shortened attention spans, and we want more graphics and video– not text.

While I don’t disagree with these basic trends, I would encourage you (especially women) to pick up the most recent copy of Darling and reconsider the values you place on reading.

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Targeted to women of all ages and walks of life, this magazine is like no other that I’ve seen. You’ll need a $20 bill, but if you don’t enjoy the format, the variety of stories, the photography, illustrations, graphic treatments and even the paper it’s printed on, I’ll reimburse you!

I so appreciate wandering through this publication that my husband started picking up for me each quarter. With just a few artful advertisements in the opening pages, this publication does not have any other advertising.

Each story is well crafted and synchronized with effective type treatments and rich, often monochromatic photography. There is nothing “stock” about this perfectly bound and perfectly done publication. In fact, editors at Darling embrace the raw, and real, non-photo shopped approach.

It’s artful and it makes me stop to spend a little time to feel the texture of the pages and listen to new perspectives or inspirations found within the covers. It’s an exercise in mindfulness really. This magazine doesn’t go out in my recycling pile, like most of my other magazines. I keep them. I treasure them. I share them with others.

IMG_3388At Jet Marketing, our approach to many of our marketing campaigns employs strategies of less text and more graphics. But we also create original newspaper article content, community newsletters and donor publications that get noticed. While our publications are different than Darling, they are relevant, professional and they speak to a target audience with specific education or awareness goals. Seem old-school? Well maybe, but sometimes what is old is new.

I believe that people still do read — however, Darling reinforces the fact that a high-quality piece that is relevant and attractive helps your marketing or publication rise to the top and increases the likelihood of perceived value.

What’s your favorite item to read and why? We’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Darling, or stop by the office and I’m happy to share a back copy with you.

darlingmagazine.org

@darling on Instagram

facebook.com/DarlingMagazine

 

Jackie O’Hara, Owner/Account Executive/Strategist

As the “boss lady” at Jet Marketing, Jackie is usually struggling to find time for herself. But when she does, there is nothing like a glass of wine and immersing herself in the latest copy of Darling.

 


#Horsepower: How the Denver Broncos Play the Social Media Game

I may be biased, but some of my favorite social media accounts are run by the Denver Broncos.

The NFL and its teams are all spread out across social media platforms, utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Snapchat. Social media allows NFL teams to engage their fans on a daily basis, providing footage of practice that day, interviews with players, interviews with coaches, and more. More than ever, fans know what is going on with their favorite team in real time. Because the NFL teams use social media in this way, the fans feel involved and more invested in their team. They even have the opportunity to engage with their favorite players on a personal level.

All of this leads to increased engagement from their fans. Today, when people watch TV, they are often also on their smartphone, tablet, or computer. Being on social media allows the NFL to capture their attention outside of just the television.

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Facebook

Here’s what I love about the Broncos’ social media accounts.

They know how to use their platforms correctly.

Often, social media users think platforms are interchangeable, but they really aren’t. People use different platforms for different reasons. Facebook is still king of social media, but Twitter and Instagram are growing in importance, and from a branding perspective, Snapchat can be pretty invaluable. While the Broncos sometimes share the same posts across different platforms, each platform also has unique content. This is important because having different content on different platforms ensures that your followers are following you everywhere. It provides different angles to your brand.

 

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Instagram

They focus on their people.

Fans care about the players on the team, and the Broncos do a good job of focusing on their players through their various platforms. They share articles and photos about the players and coaches. And the Broncos don’t only focus on current players, but players from the Broncos’ rich history, like John Elway and Coach Kubiak back in his playing days. They share every aspect of the team — including the mascot and the cheerleaders.

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Snapchat

This area is where the Broncos’ Instagram and Snapchat shine. They show-off the unique personality of their players, like Von Miller’s unique style and Emmanuel Sanders’ dedication to the fans. It’s especially great when they feature the fans — making them a part of the Broncos team as well. Their Snapchat stories show off daily life for the Broncos. They snap the players at practice, and interview them and the coaches. They have players “take over” the platform, giving their feed a shot of personality. Both of these platforms are great ways to engage their audience, especially their younger fans.

They are all about their brand, and make updates where they’re needed.

Of course, if you look at the page, Broncos blue and orange is everywhere. They tout the history of the organization. But even more interesting now is their creation of a new hashtag. The Broncos used the #UnitedinOrange in 2015 and before that, but they have a new hashtag out – #Horsepower. To me, this hashtag suggests a reinvigorating of the brand. They already have unity with their fans — now they’re about moving into the future. With #UnitedinOrange, the Broncos were gathering strength. Now they’re on the move, and so the brand has to be as well. The Broncos demonstrate that it’s important to evaluate your messaging, and make sure it’s still what you want to be projecting.

Their content is regular and frequent.

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Twitter

The Broncos know how to give hungry fans what they want — more and more information about players, upcoming games, and strategies. Each account posts several times a day, and the content is relevant. They live-tweet/post during games, ensuring that fans who aren’t able to make it to a television can still participate and know what is going on. They also post a lot of video — showing incredible plays and what is going on in practice. Because they are posting frequently about what their fans care about, the Broncos are able to drive a lot of engagement on each post.

There’s a lot to learn from the Broncos and their social media accounts, especially regarding the specific use of social media platforms. Consider their social media playbook, run through a few plays, and you too can be a social media champion.

Go Broncos!

Kirsten Queen, Project Manager at Jet Marketing

Kirsten is proud to wear that #18 jersey, and has her fingers crossed for a great season for the Denver Broncos.


The Power of the Personal Story (and how to secure your own stories to highlight your brand)

I admit it – I’m a fan of The Voice and a few other mindless talent shows on television. Sometimes I find myself choked up, all because of the heart wrenching stories told about the lives of the contestants. Logically I know why they pick the most dramatic story lines — but emotionally, I’m hooked.

Turns out there is nothing like a good story.

A recent Forbes article titled The Power of Story explains, “. . .we are wired for interpersonal connections and put more stock in ideas that result from personal contact than from hard data. Essentially, we internalize stories much better than we do facts.”*

In marketing, when others say good things about your products and services the message has much more credibility and longevity than mere description. It takes work to procure real stories, but it’s worth it!

Always be Mining for Stories

Encourage friends, neighbors, family and staff members to share stories that reflect your organization or product in a good light. Remind them often, especially staff members. Follow up with unsolicited notes of thanks and social media posts to see if there is a lead and a willing storytelling participant.

Give People Something tScreen Shot 2016-08-01 at 9.44.50 AMo Talk About

Create a community event that encourages storytelling. For one of our hospital clients, we created a community birthday party. We invited all 10,000 babies that had been born in the community over the past 60+ years to come and be recognized. Lots of photos were taken, both pre- and post-event, and the community conversation about how the town has changed was robust. It was a very positive image booster for the hospital and we shared photos in their community newsletter, social media outlets and print.

Another fantastic example is Heathrow Airport in London. They are using their 70th birthday to gather stories, encouraging anyone to share memories of time spent at the airport over those 70 years. If you get a chance, it’s a GREAT read.

www.heathrow.com/Stories

These types of campaigns encourage people to connect to a brand and to reflect on the ways that brand has impacted and influence their lives. By invoking nostalgia and encouraging people to reflect on their own memories connected to that brand, the outcome is positive feelings towards that brand.

Photos are Key!

We are all drawn to photos — especially ones with faces in them. Professional or candid, make sure you have a photo to go along with the story. Like they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Be Transparent about Your Intentions

Don’t overplay or underplay what your intentions are. If you have a story and a photo, be clear about the types of media you plan to use. Don’t tell the storyteller it will only be a print ad and then later they see themselves on a billboard. Keep the storyteller involved and make sure to give them the opportunity to approve materials. Then stick to your word, otherwise the positive engagement could turn into a negative one.

I hear all the time that people don’t read anymore, and while I think that’s true to a certain extent, I do believe that we still like to read, hear and listen to a good human story.

The Power of the Story, published on Forbes.com

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2015/08/22/the-power-of-story/#77bdf25e5c95

 

Jackie O’Hara, Owner/Account Executive/Strategist

This summer, Jackie has enjoyed listening to friends tell stories around the campfire, working on home and yard remodeling projects, and sneaking in a few rounds of golf with her husband (the real storyteller of the family).