In part 1, we highlighted 3 Elements that will make your supporter relations strong in a digital landscape; Understanding, Dialogue, Authentic Content. This week, we promised to take you through the 6 steps that you need to structure your Digital Marketing around. If you follow these, you will be on your way to having strong supporter relations. We've also got an infographic for you, Content Strategy for Charities.
If you are looking to branch out to a different type of supporter, then creating Personas is a must. This will help you start to understand how they communicate and over which channels, how they think about your cause, why they are bothered about your cause and what emotional triggers can guide your content to acquire their support.
Equally, if your charity has existed for a while, don't forget that in this fast-paced world supporters' expectations and behaviours change: Paul who is 77, isn't too keen on reading your digital magazine but has been forced into learning how to do online banking because his local banking branch has closed. Therefore, he has got used to quick transactions over his mobile and recently decided he would like to donate by similar technology.
Therefore, it is important to consistently monitor your supporter's needs in terms of how they behave, think and feel, so that your supporter services are tailored to them.
2. Supporter Journey
Because you understand how each supporter thinks, behaves and feels, you are able to create the experience they expect in order to have a relationship with you. Supporter Journeys need to be structured around a timeline of interaction. They need to feature the touchpoints with the supporter, in order to refine your relationship with them or to direct them to your content.
Let's go back to Paul: he wants a digital way to donate his money; by mapping out how you lead Paul to donate via text/donate buttons or through the relevant software, you are in a better position to understand where he may drop out of donating and what content and communication material you need to provide for him. Additionally, Paul will have a preferred way to communicate with you e.g. email. A smart supporter journey will prioritise taking Paul on a journey via email. This highlights why starting with personas is so important; without understanding Paul, you wouldn't necessarily pick up that email is the communication channel that he feels most comfortable with.
3. Content Strategy
It's tempting to set up every channel of communication and launch straight into coming up with the fun bit; ideas for content. However, it won't enable you to create authentic content that speaks your supporter's language, directly into their hearts or listens to them. Additionally, it won't be effective at guiding them through the supporter journey.
So, before any content is created, tweeted or shared; establish your content strategy. Your content should tell your supporters a story, entertain them, create content with them and provide opportunity for dialogue. For more detail on how to do a Content Strategy, click below for our infographic.
This is when you go on your supporter journey and realise your content strategy. You will need a schedule to publish content and posts and this schedule should match when your supporter's are online or most available to access the content e.g. Paul likes to wake up and check his emails between 7.30-8.30am and then 6pm before his dinner. How you will manage your digital marketing, should be driven and informed by your supporters, instead of your timetable.
The good news is that the digital revolution has brought technology to save you time, optimise your relationship with supporters and get to know them more. The tools that we thoroughly recommend for marketing in today's digital landscape should enable you to automate, personalise and provide the data to inform you about your supporter's behaviour, your content and how successful your supporter journey is. If this an area that you would like to look into more, we are happy to explore this with you over coffee or Skype.
One of the mindsets that is required to live in the digital landscape is, continual learning. We suggest that your relationship with supporters is evaluated every month. Evaluation should take into account any changes in supporter's needs and behaviour, how your content is being engaged with and how relevant the supporter's journey is.
Constant evaluation against data in your analytics, CRM and through supporter feedback means that you can flex and adjust your digital marketing in an ever-changing environment. Traditionally, supporter relations were able to get by on historic research, expert advice or opinion. Today, decisions should be made on data. It is a way of closely listening to supporter's needs, as well as providing evidence for governing your marketing.
6. Strategy Hack
Part of continual learning in this new landscape, is to be open and aware of potential supporters, who don't fit your current demographics or psychographics. This can seem daunting and these potential supporters can seem out-of-reach. However, to ensure the longevity of your income and support as a charity, there is the need to constantly assess the landscape that you are in and reach out to these new segments.
At PlanLab, we recognise that this is easier said than done. We came up with a workshop template that enables you to get these same people in a room for a few hours, get to know them and establish how these people want to support your cause. The workshop content is structured around exploring what the unenvisioned possibilities of achieving your mission could be by collaborating with fresh supporters. It provides a relational space for connection and learning for you and them.
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