Technology Changes the Nature of Online Giving

Understanding your audience is the sacred piece of any puzzle. Who are your donors, and what drives them to engage with your organization? What characteristics can you count on your donors to have, and how can you strategize to find more like them? As the digital agency of record for a large mid-west nonprofit organization, Advance 360 began with these questions.

But there were real goals to solve. Donor relations is becoming even more important, but with resources waning, the hand-to-hand nature of these relationships is being eclipsed by a desire to drive transactional gifts. These automations, when done well, can still feel personal, allowing staff the time to concentrate on the kinds of relationships that might still require them to be present.

Such was the case for our client.

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This activity was generated in Q4, 2017, and compared to the same periods of the prior year.

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Creative Strategy

These results represent a creative shift as well. With the personal connections missing, it became increasing important for the creative to generate the emotion that might have been conveyed by discussion. Stories about how contributions served individuals in the community became the currency of the engagements. Multiple stories were tested, and determinations made on the value of each based on their conversion metrics. Optimizations were performed in accordance with the best performers, amplifying the work of single stories and pieces of creative over time.

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Notable

As is often the case in nonprofits, budgets must be fluid based on audited revenue from previous years. In Q4 2017, the organization needed to decrease spending by 20% over 2016. Even with this decrease, the Return on Investment (ROI) improved by 2.8 times.

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Rebranding can be Daunting, but Results Exciting

Just as our own lives have seasons, generations, or iterations, so do brands. Businesses that experience dramatic growth find themselves telling new stories about capacity, e-commerce, or new product availability. Perhaps the physical space is remodeled, creating an enhanced, in-person experience for your customers. Or, you simply recognize that the brand identity system you have has existed for a number of years, and deserves “refreshing.”

This was the case for a jewelry client. A long-time business, Plata y Oro, was acquired by an established local jewelry designer. With the purchase of the business, the new owner had to evaluate and determine the company’s branding moving forward. Lengthy discussions took place to tackle some tough questions like brand equity in the market, preserving existing clientele, communicating this change. The new iteration of the business would also get a new physical space within the year, and a new website. In all, it was determined that the business would use a new name, as well as a visual identity authentic to the new ownership and business design.

Original Designs

The original Plata y Oro mark was comprised of rounded script, evoking familiarity and warmth, while retaining the strength of the name as its central focal point. It served the business well for a number of years, and was very true to feeling of the business for that season of its life.

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New Designs Reflecting the Name Change

The new design changes retained the circular component as the strongest visual que. But the breaks in its border offer an openness, an inclusion of the negative space surrounding. Also important was a modern representation of the name: Teel Jewelers (the last name of the new business owner). It is graphic and modern, but readable, and iterations were crafted to provide opportunities for using a more concise mark when required.

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Final Deliverables

Developing a new mark isn’t enough alone. It’s the entirety of the identity system, the way that colors, images, type, and visual elements function in congress that generates new brand assets. At Advance 360, we don’t just develop a logo. Instead, we provide a guide or playbook that offers the framework of how these elements should be used now and into the future. This guide provides printers and third party users of the brand reference material for their creations on behalf of the business.

From our clients, “The process for designing something as seemingly simple as a logo is somewhat magical. Looking at what we had before and looking at what we have now is an impressive difference. Our staff sees the difference and is excited and motivated to promote and expand the brand. We love the guidelines, it will be a valuable tool in our marketing going forward.”

Building a Lasting Social Media Strategy

Building a brand. Great positioning. Reach and frequency. Content is king. We’ve heard these mantras again and again, but do you really know how to approach any of it to get results for your business? Take it one step at a time, and start with building out your social media strategy. We’ve compiled these social media rules of the road get your started.

  • Facebook, Instagram and other social channels are inexpensive, but you still must pay to be seen. It isn’t enough to post daily, as you won’t be seen by the majority of your friends or followers. Only promoted posts or advertising on the platform will generate the attention you are looking for. Too frequently, we think of social media as “free,” when in fact, while economical, you must invest to reap its rewards.
  • Engagement is the most important metric to measure. Yes, you want to increase those that follow your brand, but people who interact with you and share your stories on your behalf provide more value because they are extending the reach and affinity for your brand. A regular stream of content that offers a unique view into your business or behind-the-scenes activities will generate that activity (when used in conjunction with paid posts as noted in our first tip).
  • Don’t expect to be a viral, overnight sensation. We’d all like to hit the grand slam the first time we step up to bat. But it takes practice and patience to learn what will be well received.
  • Be consistent. Don’t lose sight of the long term goal: that you’re building a foundation for lasting relationships with your audience. Your strategy is akin to a marathon, not a sprint.

See how a consistent, long-term strategy can perform. This example offers real statistics from an Advance 360 client for the first eleven months of 2017.

Total App Downloads Outpace Goal

Smart strategies and swift optimization create engagement beyond expectations.

 

We all have dozens of apps on our phones. How did we learn about them? What’s the difference between those we use everyday and those that we barely touch, yet refuse to delete from our device? And how does the originator of the app influence us to download or purchase their app over a competing one?

In this case study, you’ll see that the special blend comprised Google App Ads, Paid Search, Social Media and Display impressions, but the clear winner was social media.

PREMIUM APP WITH A ONE TIME INVESTMENT OF $12.99

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FACEBOOK ADVERTISING RESULTS IN ONE MONTH

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In the two months represented by this data, 334 total downloads were made from the social channel. Using targeted social ads led to a dramatic increase in purchases from this space.

IOS APP ANALYTICS: 2 MONTH RESULTS

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Reduce Spend in Search, Improve Results

A national e-learning company was falling short of e-commerce revenue goals and experiencing a negative ROI on their marketing strategies and campaigns. Advance 360 was able to develop a digital marketing strategy that efficiently allocated budget dollars to turn around this trend within a four month time period. The end result was increased on-line revenues as well as a decrease in SEM spend.

Honda Case Study

Introduction and Background

A Northeast Ohio Honda dealer committed to implementing a complete digital marketing approach, transitioning away from traditional media such as television and radio, as well as third-party lead providers. This shift took place over the last three years, and has resulted in the dealer moving from a 4th place position in regional market share to a #1 ranking starting in the summer of 2016 that continues through today.

The Outcome

This Honda dealer saw a 55% INCREASE in sales over the time period, a difference of 850 more units sold per year in a market where the manufacturer brand has seen flat sales growth.

The Strategy

They reached these results by turning their own website into a lead generation engine, seeing nearly 1,400 direct trackable marketing leads each month (450 website leads, 900 phone calls).

This commitment to a digital-first approach centered on the dealership’s owned assets (i.e. their website) is evident in these lead figures, but stems from dramatic increases in their site traffic:

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Site Visitors increased more than 100% over the last 3 years – from 5,750/month to 11,700/month

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Site Sessions increased more than 95% over the prior 3 years – from 9,800/month to 19,100/month

So how did all of this growth happen?

The Honda dealership adopted a holistic approach that emphasized multiple traffic sources that both generated traffic alone and magnified organic and direct traffic at the same time.

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SEM/PPC 135% + TRAFFIC GREW from 2,100/mo. to 5,000/mo.

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SEO/DIRECT TRAFFIC GREW 36% over the last 3 years – from 6,700/mo. to 9,200/mo.

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SOCIAL PPC TRAFFIC GREW FROM 2,600+ VIRTUALLY NOTHING PER MONTH TO 2,600+/mo

The shift in budgets, traffic sources, leads and sales didn’t happen overnight, and wasn’t the result of the dealership “flipping a switch.” Instead, it was an investment to try a different approach that kept yielding better results than what they’d previously done.

Used Car Dynamic Inventory: A SEM Case Study

A Cleveland-based Honda dealer signed with Advance 360 in 2015. During March of 2016, the dealer added used car dynamic inventory SEM to supplement traditional new car SEM. During the first eight months, the dealership saw tremendous lift.

  • 325 TOTAL LEADS (form fills and calls)
  • 15% average internet closing ratio
  • 49 cars sold
  • $112,161 gross profit

Influence Sales by Measuring the Right Things

You achieved 1,000 calls in your BDC. Do you know how many of them were initiated in your VDPs? You got 50 test drives last week. How many can you expect to move on to negotiate and buy? Last month your dealership sold 200 cars. Of those new purchasers, how many will transition into regular maintenance programs with your service department?

If you can readily find this information or can call these numbers to mind, congratulations, you are better than most. If not, you have a distance to go, but can rapidly make improvements on how you view your sales funnel and ultimately, can influence new buyers.

Your sales funnel, path to conversion or decision journey: these synonyms all describe the natural events that occur in order to generate a sale. It looks something like this:

  • 1000 people visit your website, which generated 4,500 VDP views.
  • Of those VDP views, 1.25% initiate contact.
  • Of those that contact, 50% make an appointment.
  • Of those, 25% will perform a test drive, and
  • Of those, 50% will buy from your dealership.

Do you know and understand how each of these points along the funnel can be amplified or improved? If you know the conversion metrics, you are better than most. If you’ve identified ways to optimize your VDP’s for more points of contact, you are in the top 2%. Use what you know to generate more sales!

For more on this topic and to download a funnel worksheet, click here.

Our market research team routinely analyzes trends in automobile purchasing, identifying where people are buying, what they are buying and from whom they are buying. We use this research to locate your customers wherever they are online and deliver targeted messages to them. The auto buying process is no longer linear. We use data to find auto intenders online based on of their online behaviors, and are able to deliver targeted messaging directly to them across multiple channels, delivering the right message to the right customer.