As Blackbaud’s 2010 Conference for Non-Profits approaches this October 21-22, 2010 in Washington, DC, I’m working with colleagues to put the finishing touches on my sessions, and one in particular — one of my favorite topics — is simply too much fun to not share here: Targeted Content*.
What is Targeted Content?
As evidenced by the post title, I like to think of targeted content as the ability to build personal relationships with hundreds, or even thousands, of constituents at a time. More specifically, it’s providing content online or in emails (text, graphics, and/or even functionality or links to) that is only visible to a specific audience segment of your database. Targeted Content allows you to better engage constituents because of who they are and their relationship with your organization, and build upon that relationship in a personalized manner.
Think about it this way. Let’s say your organization has 3 primary service programs: animals, homeless and youth. You’re about to send out this month’s eNewsletter and you want to focus on a call to give, but which topic do you focus on? Sure, you could highlight all three programs, but with competing imagery, a mutli-topic appeal and non-specific headline, you’re basically taking a gamble that the email will even be read, much less personally relevant and meaningful to the constituent receiving it. And remember, you have less than 1 minute to grab the reader’s attention when they open an email.
Enter Targeted Content. Because of past giving to specific programs, attendance to past fundraising events supporting specific programs, user-provided information about a particular program, a poll or survey the user previously took part in, or even what webpages the user has visited, we can target our appeal message in the eNewsletter to each program-specific segment.** In fact, anybody you can query upon in Raiser’s Edge, you can target content to on NetCommunity webpages or within emails.
The Power of Personalization
There is power in personalizing the user experience. The power to better engage constituents, and also the power to better achieve specific goals. Before I outline the aforementioned example, let’s briefly consider some of the other ways Targeted Content can help your organization’s goals.
- Increase Average Online Gift Amount – Use Targeted Content to include different ask amounts ($25, $100, $1000, etc) and even links to different Donation Forms with higher giving levels, each based on the constituents giving history.
- Decrease Email Global Opt-Outs – Use Targeted Content to deliver specific messages to users when they login to your website, reminding them that they’re unable to receive event invitations, special alerts or the eNewsletter, with a link to how to Opt-In and subscribe to specific communications.
- Increase Number of Users Logging In – Use Targeted Content to include specific messaging in your eNewsletter sidebar, reminding users that you haven’t seen them online in a while and the community functionality they’re missing out on.
Targeted Content doesn’t have to be boring or specific to certain functionality, either. Be creative in how you use and better engage constituents because of their interest. Let’s take our first example, but make it a little more fun — here is an example of a community organization that provides nature-related activities, such as kayaking, hiking, and fishing.
Using either a Constituent Attribute (to collect information during New User Registration or on a Profile Form) or a Poll on the Return User Landing Page (ensuring the user is signed in when taking), let’s ask: Which activity do you most enjoy?
In this example the constituent was presented with a fun and simple poll, a quick touch point that engages by asking a mission-specific question, provides the user an opportunity to share, provides an immediate community response by showing how their interest compares to other constituents — AND provides you an opportunity to personalize the relationship in the future.
In Raiser’s Edge we simply setup queries for each of the 3 possible responses: boating, hiking or fishing. And in our next eNewsletter we can use those queries to provide specific content, such as header images, which directly relate to what activity each constituent most enjoys.
Once setup, you can reuse these queries in future eNewsletters, to deliver specific activity-related information and even create fundraising appeals based on the constituent’s interests. The possibilities are endless.
If you’re attending the Blackbaud Conference and would like to hear more creative examples on how Targeted Content can help your organization–both within NetCommunity and Sphere–be sure to check out our session: Building Personal Relationships with Targeted Communications on Friday, October 22nd, from 3:45-5:00pm.
* For the purpose of this article, Targeted Content is presented as a concept. It is also the name of the Part related to showing segment-specific content on NetCommunity Websites, however Part-specific Targeting & Security could also be utilized. In NetCommunity email Messages, this functionality is called Conditional Content.
** Poll, Survey and Webpage-specific data is only tracked for users who are logged into your NetCommunity website.