How can we customize our Facebook Fan Page to insert a call to action?

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I recently read a case study that showed how a large non profit organization leveraged a custom home page on their Facebook Fan Page to insert multiple calls to action for those visiting their page, including “signing a petition”, “liking” the fan page itself, or “give a gift”.

Of course, the campaign was highly relevant to some state legislation that was going to cut funding for the nonprofit, so there was a clear cause, message and goal in terms of raising the funds.

The campaign, when coupled with direct response channels (like email, direct mail and search marketing) ended up generating $950,000.00 over the course of several weeks. The Facebook Fan Page helped spread the message across the social network and generated (1) brand awareness, (2) cause awareness and (3) new donor dollars.

In doing some investigation on how to build custom home pages on your Facebook Fan Page to include a “call to action” for your marketing campaign, I found an article from Mashable that gives you a great step-by-step walk through on how to get one setup, which I’ll gladly regurgitate here.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Add the Static FBML App
    The tabs at the top of your Facebook Fan Page are apps. Some, like your wall and photos are built into Facebook. Others are essentially plug-ins where fans can view external content, like YouTube videos, Flickr photos, etc.The app you need for your custom page is called “Static FBML,” located here. If you’re logged into Facebook, you can add it to your Page. It is essentially a blank canvas where you can add whatever content you want, including custom graphics and links via standard HTML.

  2. Set Up Your Tab
    Once you’ve added the Static FBML app, click “Edit Page” below your company’s profile image. This will bring up all your settings and apps. Look for the FBML app and click the “Application Settings” link.

    The app can function in two ways: As a set of boxes, or as one dedicated profile tab. If you’re building a splash page, you’ll probably want to use it as a tab, so go ahead and make sure that the “Box” setting is removed, and the “Tab” setting is added. You can always experiment with boxes later if you find them more useful.

  3. Add Your Content
    Once you’re in tab mode, go back to your settings and click the “Edit” link under the Static FBML app. This opens a standard text field where you can add your content.

    “Box Title” will be the name of your tab, so you’ll want to change it to something appropriate, like “This Week’s Deals,” “Special Offers,” or simply “Welcome,” depending on how you plan to use your Page.

    The main text field is where your content goes, and you can add standard HTML to the page as you would any website, including images, text, links, and other formatting. No need for HTML, BODY, or HEAD tags.

    Note that your images must be hosted elsewhere (on your company’s website, for example) and only referenced in your HTML code.

  4. Make It the Default Landing Page
    If you want this new tab to be the “face” of your business Fan Page, head back over to your page settings and edit your “Wall Settings.” There is an option for “Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else.” From that menu, select your new tab.


    From now on, it will be the first thing visitors see when they arrive.

  5. Engage Further With FBML
    FBML stands for Facebook Markup Language, and it is the code used in Facebook applications to reference items on the social network, like user profiles, groups, feeds, and other data. If you’re really looking to integrate your landing page and get interactive with visitors, it might be worthwhile to learn this language.

— GC

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Should our organization create a Facebook Fan Page?

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Should our organization create a Facebook Fan Page?

Recently, I was asked to compile a strategy document outlining how one of our faith-based non-profit customers could leverage a Facebook Fan Page.

They seemed on the fence as to whether or not they should build a Facebook Fan Page, so as a part of the strategy I developed, I wanted to justify the reasoning behind actually creating one. Below is the list that I compiled for them.

So, without further adieu — let’s take a look:

Ten reasons to create a Facebook Fan Page:

  1. 500MM+ global users on Facebook and counting
    With that kind of population, Facebook is essentially the 3rd largest country in the world.
  2. 100MM+ U.S. users
    American-based accounts make up 1/3 of all Facebook users worldwide.
  3. Average user spends 55 minutes per day on Facebook
    According to Facebook’s “Inside Facebook” study, nearly an hour per day, per user is the average – that’s translates to tremendous opportunity and reach.
  4. Nearly 80,000 websites are now using Facebook Connect
    According to ComScore, 50% of the world’s largest websites, and 66% of the largest US-based websites have implemented Connect, which is an integration point which allows for quick-sharing to personal profiles. This means that Facebook is positioning to become the central hub of the internet.
  5. The average Facebook user has 130 friends
    This is an indication of the tertiary level of reach that brands can connect with to position their brand and increase revenue.
  6. The average Facebook user will “Fan” 2 pages per month
    This is an indication of the likelihood in which you can attract followers, thereby extending your brand’s reach to connect with potential followers/fans of your brand that you otherwise may not have reached.
  7. Only 4% of Fan Pages have 10,000 or more fans
    In a study conducted by Sysomos where they evaluated 600,000 Facebook fan pages, they found that 4% of Fan Pages have 10,000 or more fans. This means that a strong strategy to not only collect fans, but to continue to engage with them consistently and provide them compelling reasons to return.
  8. Customized news feed
    A recent modification to the news feed algorithm that Facebook uses modifies the way in which news is displayed to Facebook visitors. The algorithm will now prioritize content updates to a higher level if visitors have interacted with that person/brand’s updates in the past. This puts a priority upon providing relevant and consistent content.
  9. Wall posts do not impact popularity
    The same Sysomos study showed that frequent wall posts did not positively impact the number of fans collected as much as additional content (pictures, videos, notes, etc.) did. This bodes well for your organization to engage consistently with potential followers.
  10. Real-time search changes have been made
    Facebook has opened their unprotected content/updates to be made available for search engines to index it for display. Google/Bing have already begun including Facebook updates in their results pages, which means that having a Facebook Fan Page will positively impact your organic search efforts moving forward.

I hope this makes you consider why you should create a Facebook Fan Page, but odds are that you already have one in place. Of course, the real intellectual capital in the strategy was centered around how they could use that to identify the following items:

  • Advocacy programs
  • Extended reach
  • Identifying new donors
  • Name acquisition campaigns
  • Collecting new donations

If you need assistance in crafting a customized strategy around how you can do these types of things with your Facebook Fan Page — drop me a note & I’d be more than happy to help.

— GC

What anxiety exists within the most popular marketing channels?

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Throughout the recent years, I’ve been asked by a number of different marketers (both traditional, brand marketers and online marketers) on how they can leverage some of the newer marketing channels (namely social and mobile) to their advantage.

The first step in understanding how to leverage these marketing channels is to understand that your potential customers have a certain level of anxiety associated with providing you with their contact information within said marketing channels.

Marketing Channel Anxiety

In your online marketing efforts, you must truly understand the anxiety that your prospective audience has when it comes to providing information about themselves. If you look at your available marketing channels, you can begin building plans around the marketing channel in an attempt to upgrade people slowly over time for optimum results.

In an attempt to properly depict how I view the building anxiety associated with providing you their contact information, I show in the chart above, the progression that dramatically increases when you get more personal or start infringing upon two factors: (1) where the person lives, and (2) when the target can start incurring additional fees associated with receiving marketing campaigns and messages from your company.

In an attempt to provide more information and detail, I’ll reiterate the information shown in the graph above, within the following paragraphs:

Little Anxiety: Twitter

Twitter is possibly the lowest anxiety marketing channel available to marketers to use at the time of writing this article, but it also has possibly the highest “noise” factor. According to a recent study published by Mashable, 80% of Twitter activity is classified as “conversations” or “pointless babble”, while 15% of activity is categorized as either “Spam” or “self promotion”.

Additionally, the report indicates that Twitter account usage has a 60% abandonment rate — where a user will register for an account on their first visit, then 6-out-of-10 new accounts will never be visited or used again. This means that marketers need to be wary about pumping too much time and energy into their Twitter account activities, but those engaged followers that do use the accounts consistently that choose to follow your brand will indeed be looking at your messages, or “Tweets”.

I list Twitter in the category of “little” anxiety due almost exclusively to the point that it is the truest form of “opt-in” marketing. Adversely, it is also the easiest marketing channel to “opt-out” of, as well. If someone wants to stop seeing your Tweets/marketing messages — they simply unfollow you and that is the end of your ability to connect with them through the channel.

Marketers should build strategies around how to easily opt-in followers (by offering special offers, or exclusive content), but then have a messaging strategy that is focused on driving the engaged Twitter audience to convert in another marketing channel (i.e. “… become a ‘Fan’ on Facebook and receive X”, etc).

Low Anxiety: Facebook

Facebook is becoming the darling of social networks — and rightfully so. In a recent demographic report that I read online, Facebook has grown from 1/4/2009 – to – 1/4/2010 by 144.9% in the United States alone, to reach an overall network size (just within our country) to a total of 103,085,520 accounts. On the network, potential targets provide a number of different pieces of information that can be leveraged by smart marketing professionals for behavioral purposes. Identifying the “fan” page’s favorite music, television shows, books and movies in conjunction with the creation of the Facebook Fan Page gives marketers the opportunity to quickly an easily provide content onto the homepage of every “fan”.

Additionally, you can easily provide “fan” page members with the ability to, within a single click of a “Like” button, to post to their home page (where all of their networked contacts will see updates in their own homepages) your message, post, or Fan Page URL. It is a true viral network that is still increasing the level of its sophistication and opportunity.

The anxiety, albeit listed at “Low”, is still higher than Twitter in the fact that a large portion of people on the network will guard personal information (pictures, videos, etc.) from those that they do not know. This personal information will create pause in the mind of the target before agreeing to “fan” or “like” your content for just a moment. It is also listed at this level due to the fact that they can quickly and easily remove you from their follow list with a single click to remove you from their profile.

Marketers should leverage this marketing channel for advocacy purposes, allowing those that feel passionate about your cause, product, or company to share it with other like-minded friends and family members. It’s essentially the digital version of the most effective kind of marketing of all time: word-of-mouth marketing.

Medium Anxiety: Email

All of you marketers out there that have been developing name acquisition campaigns, or more specifically, online marketing campaigns to capture email addresses that you can continue to cultivate purchasers/donors from, you know of the difficulties associated with email capture. In fact, Convio released their annual Nonprofit Benchmark Study, which showed that the email registration rate from 2008 to 2009 across all nonprofit verticals dropped from 3.22% to 2.12% (which represents a 34.16% decline year over year).

That means that 97 of 100 website visitors will not provide you their email address. This is an extremely high number and usually is an indicator as to the fact that most organizations are not providing compelling enough reasons for website visitors to provide their email address and information.

If you’ve owned an email address for any extended period of time, you know how much unsolicited email you receive on a daily basis. People are tired of inbox clutter … and they’ll become far more picky as to who they will provide their email address to as we continue through the next decade.

To a marketer, email addresses are great. This is not a new concept — it’s been this way for the better part of this past decade. We can deliver highly personalized, well designed and email campaigns into the inbox of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people at once and analyze click behavior and provide follow-up analysis of how to reengage with anyone that interacted with your message. The only problem is that most people don’t prefer to get your email correspondence, and they’re proving it by declining year after year in terms of their email registration rate.

To collect this valuable information from your prospective customers/donors, you will need to provide a value exchange that is worth it to them. Offer incentives, free resources, access to special areas of your website, etc. in exchange for the email address, but understand that you’re likely going to fail more than you will succeed (unless, of course, your direct response marketing agency is KMA Direct Communications … yes, I know … a very shameless plug).

Moderate Anxiety: Physical Mailing Address

If you don’t know who I am — would you give me your address if I asked for it? Of course not, and in fact, people online are less likely to provide you their home address unless you’re shipping them something, they’re buying something (and have to in order to complete a transaction online), or they’re providing you a donation.

This one is quite obvious, but you would be surprised by those that I speak with that insist they need it. If you do not absolutely have to have it — I repeat, HAVE TO HAVE it — do not ask for it online.

Again, many organizations that I talk to will try to fight me tooth and nail on why it’s imperative that they have the mailing address of someone that wants to opt-in to receive their quarterly newsletter.

I can assure you … people looking to sign up to receive your newsletter email campaign don’t see it the same way.

If you feel like you have to have the mailing address, ask for it in a subsequent follow-up email. Look, if someone has given you their first name, last name and email address — you have the means through which to connect with them a countless number of times moving forward. So, collect that information now … and back fill the other information that you want to collect (mailing address, number of kids, household income, social security number … or whatever else it may be) at a later date.

Don’t force them to give it to you all at once. The odds are against you if you try to collect too much information too early. Play the odds.

High Anxiety: Mobile Phone

Just about every marketer nowadays wants to know how they can incorporate mobile (most notably, SMS/text messages or MMS) into their marketing campaigns. It usually starts by providing an opportunity for visitors to your website to provide their mobile device number into your database, at which point you need to have a system to administer and send a mass SMS/MMS campaign to those numbers. There are a number of FCC hoops that you will need to jump through, but more notably — you’re going to have a difficult time in getting those numbers from your website visitors.

Why? Because the cell phone carriers will, in most cases, charge your audience an additional fee to receive your SMS/MMS message(s). If you send several appeals or messages per month — those fees can stack up quickly and you’ll have a very disgruntled recipient, who will be far more likely to opt-out of receiving such messages than to clickthrough or convert for your campaign.

With the creation of smart phone (iPhone, Blackberry and Droid) applications, you can make special offers and send “push notifications” via your application to those that have downloaded it. You can connect with them efficiently this way, but as is such with any new technology, the pricing and capabilities for an application development firm can vary wildly.

As such, the cost to administer, run and promote mobile marketing is extremely high for most marketing organizations. Yes, you will have about the lowest amount of “noise” in this channel (most organizations are shying away from this until later down the road), but you will also pay a premium fee to reach those contacts via this channel.

On top of all of that — this definitely reigns supreme as the highest anxiety channel. I ask you: What SMS/MMS marketing lists are you on? Probably none.

I hope you found the post to be informational and enlightening and are now prepared to think about your marketing endeavors in a different light now that you fully understand the anxiety associated with receiving information from your organization via each of the aforementioned marketing channels.

— GC

Why marketers need to believe that clarity trumps persuasion

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Clarity Trumps Persuasion

When it comes to any marketing, but most specifically fund raising for non profit organizations, we need to force ourselves to remember that clarity always trumps persuasion in our marketing efforts. Transparency and honesty will always prevail.

Some of you may know that I’m a big fan of MarketingExperiments, and more specifically their Director — Dr. Flint McGlaughlin. One of the things that he touts frequently when teaching and educating young marketing professionals is that clarity trumps persuasion.

He argues that marketing professionals do not need to be a genius at persuasion, so long as you can simply take the time to study your processes and achieve genuine clarity.

How many times have you been to a website that cites they’re the “… world leader in __________“, or the “… recognized global leader in __________“?

The odds are that these organizations are not the leader, or recognized at all, but rather they are being led by marketing professionals that are practicing persuasion tactics.

This same approach should be applied to nonprofit organizations, specifically with regards to their fund raising efforts. Think about how you approach your audiences (existing and/or prospective donors). Are you leveraging persuasion or clarity in your marketing themes and messages?

Our friends Jill and Chay were being married a week or so ago and while attending the rehearsal dinner (my wife was one of her bridesmaids), I found myself in a long conversation with the soon-to-be bride’s mother. We had not had a chance to talk much in the past, but in the flow of the conversation I found out that she was a donor to one of the organizations that we here at KMA Direct Communications manage and execute fund raising campaigns for (whose name I will not include in this article).

I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and her recommendations, as it was essentially a one-off donor survey. She was very candid with me and honest/forthcoming.

In our conversation, she told me that she would highly consider giving more often to the organization if they would simply show her how her (and other) donations were being allocated and what impact they have had. Because this client is so young (not even a year old yet), we have not had a chance to implement a “here is what your dollars are working for” type of message… but, her recommendation follows the theme for this message.

By providing her clarity and insight into how we are using her gift towards furthering our cause and making an impact on the world we live in, she is more likely to give more donations and more frequently.

In this case, there was no example of persuasion (we are, after all, good marketers and follow the principles that we preach … :-)), so I cannot identify how she was dissuaded from providing another gift due to it.

Strategically, we are planning on adding additional clarity into our messaging to share with donors the exact impact their gifts had regarding this nonprofit organization’s cause.

To close, and to echo the thoughts and direction of  Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, I will ask each of you to remember that clarity in your marketing process should always answer three things to your prospective donors:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What is your offer?
  3. Why should I give a gift to you?

If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

– Jesus Christ, John 8:31-32

All the best,

— GC

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