Keys to building film festival audiences!

Film festivals need a lot of promotions & marketing to be successful!

Keys to building film festival audiences!

Keys to building film festival audiences! Film festivals need a lot of promotions & marketing to be successful!

Here are my favorite keys to building film festival audiences:

  • Email: Email is one of the most important marketing tools you have to promote your film festival. According to a recent McKinsey & Company study, email is still 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.The Austin Film Festival uses email for direct communication to their audience. They see most of their returns from dedicated email subscribers, and use an email marketing platform to compare and report email performance.
  • Social Media: Visual storytelling comes to us naturally. Humans process visuals faster than they process text. Considering our attention span is about 3.9 seconds long, presenting information as visuals just makes sense.
  1. Facebook and Twitter are the two most useful social media channels for growing your audience. Facebook is more conducive to marketing with information, whereas Twitter is best for shoutouts, retweets and community engagement.
  2. Instagram is good for brand building and photo sharing, but it’s still a relatively small platform.
  3. YouTube is great to post behind-the-scenes video content on festival events throughout the year to keep people engaged.
  4. Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube & LinkedIn combined. Mainly, the site now attracts women in the age range 25-44 who love fashion, home decorating and family related products. As it gains more of a following, this is bound to change.
  • Sponsorships and Partnerships: Sponsorships can be a huge gateway to growing recognition and audience. Partnerships with institutions, brands, and businesses can bring additional value to your festival through in-kind donations and exposure. Getting businesses and influencers to back your festival where there’s a mutual exchange will build the momentum and your reputation. Use this social currency to expand your reach.
  • One-on-one promotions: We’re bombarded by messages every day. Community Engagement Committees are a great way to engage with people directly, and bring your value to them.
  • Press-kits: I’m a big fan of press-kits. They ensure that reporters, bloggers your audience and sponsors have what they need. Key to success is an easy-to-find contact link and phone number.
  • Off-line promotions: Don’t forget newspapers, flyers, flags, posters, presentations at community meetings and events, cross-promotions with other festivals, etc.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for building film festival audiences! If you’re interested in our CS&I Film Festival PR/Marketing Template? Contact deborah@creative-si.com.

 

10 Ways to Increase Your Direct Mail Success

directmail.featured

“Direct mail is a long way from death. It’s still the most effective fundraising  medium (after the church offering basket) and it’s many times more effective than email,” Jeff Brooks, author of The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications: Real-World, Field-Tested Strategies for Raising More Money

Is direct mail dead? Not by a long shot!

According to Yory Wurmser, director of marketing and media insights at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), direct mail boasts a 4.4% rate, compared to email’s average response rate of 0.12%. And, depending on how one crunches the numbers, direct mail has a response rate of up to 10 to 30 times that of email — and even higher when compared to online display.

So, I asked Keith Franco, a colleague who works in direct mail marketing at Sull Graphics, Inc., for some pointers to creating a successful direct mail campaign.

He prefaced his comments by saying that what you are about to read may seem fundamental in nature, even basic, but make no mistake.  The following points are absolutely, positively essential to a powerful and successful campaign.

  1. Choose your list carefully –A well-targeted list is key to any successful campaign.  For prospect mailings use a smaller list. All nonprofits should create a direct mail campaign with their house list.
  2. Offer something appealing – OK, now you’ve qualified them.  So, hook ‘em.  Get their attention.  Make them want to respond.
  3. Make it easy to respond –Provide multiple ways for your prospect to respond.  Not everyone wants to respond in the same way.  Provide a 1-800 #, email address or Business Reply Card or drive them to a web site where you can capture even more info about them for analytics and optimization in future campaigns.
  4. Use the right medium (fish where the fish are) –If you’re targeting an older crowd, you may want to go with a standard letter package via USPS.  If you’re targeting a younger crowd, you may want to go with a very colorful, eye-catching mail piece, email and invite them to respond digitally.
  5. Write copy that offers benefits –You’ve got their attention because you’ve qualified them and reached them using their preferred medium.  Now you have to captivate them with relevant copy that offers them a meaningful way to make a difference so they respond.
  6. Pick 2 or 3 Channels –If you’re not too sure about the medium in which to reach them so test it.  Divide you list in to sub-lists.  Send an email to some and a mail piece to others and judge the response.  Take a 3rd sub-list and send both mediums, then determine the preferred medium along with preferred method of response.
  7. Create an Emotional Selling Point – A proven method of evoking response is to trigger an emotion that causes them to act on your compelling copy.  This is critical, as this emotion will surface again as they refer back to or pick up your piece again, even if they don’t act on right away.
  8. Talk about your organization’s mission and how you make a difference for the community– Remember… everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM or What’s In It For Me.  If you can press their panic button and offer a solution, that’s half the battle.
  9. Stand out from your Competitors–Need I say more?
  10. Write a great Headline – Grab their attention right away.  Make them want to read on and explore more.  A great headline should entice the reader to request more information.

Now, it’s off to the races!  Good luck!!

If you have any questions for Keith email him –  kfranco@sullgraphics.com. Keith is one of the most responsive people I know!

Emotions Rule in Nonprofit Marketing Communications!

lizard self

 

“Communications are all about the mind…and only about the mind. Keep that in mind.” Tom Ahern, How to Write Fundraising Materials That Raise More Money

Never did I think my study of psychology  & neuroscience, albeit to a lesser degree, would have such an impact on my work in marketing communications. Was I wrong!

I promise not to go too deep into the realms of neuroscience. But, bear with me. Understanding that the brain is the seat of emotions and that emotions “rule” when it comes to making a decision has huge implications for the nonprofit communicator.

In The Emotional Brain, Ken Barnett states that emotions invariably are formed in certain parts of the brain, in which the consciousness that we term the mind resides. From the mind these emotions– fear, anger, stress, elation, anxiety, love and all the rest – can gush out anywhere and everywhere, controlled or otherwise, productively or destructively, far more powerful and irresistible than logic.

Neuroscientist Antoine Bechara declared in 2006 that the “popular notion … that logical, rational calculation forms the basis of sound decisions … [is] wrong and [has] no scientific basis….”

Ironically this is something that direct mail marketers have known for quite a while!

Everyone is affected by emotional triggers. The key is to discover which emotional triggers create the action that you’re looking for in your marketing communications. My personal bias is that the main action you strive for is support for your nonprofit’s mission.

Group triggers to lead to action. Couple negative triggers – anger, sadness, fear with positive triggers – caring joy and hope. Create what Tom Ahern calls emotional twin sets. Match a catalyzing trigger, most often negative to introduce the problem with a calming trigger, which is positive and offers a solution if the reader takes action.

Don’t forget, as neurologist Donald Calne, author of Within Reason: Rationality and Human Behavior shows — reason leads to thinking, while emotion leads to action.

Of course this isn’t the whole picture. Interested in more applicable insights into the use of emotions and nonprofit marketing communications? I strongly suggest:

Communication is everything in marketing. If you can’t get your messages out to your audience and create the desired actions, your nonprofit will shrivel and die. Marketing communications is about understanding the needs of your audiences and finding the best way to speak with them.

Don’t forget, people develop trust with organizations that they are emotionally connected to. So, telling a story about how you change the lives of real people who come into contact with your organization is critical.

One last plug for neuroscience — our brain is hardwired to learn from and respond to stories! So the fastest and easiest way for your audience to understand and get involved with what your organization is doing is through stories.

By the way, curious about the photo on this post? That’s my lizard. She/it sits on a shelf in my office watching me work – or not!  I saw the lizard when we took a trip to Santa Fe New Mexico and I had to have it. After reading Seth Godin’s fascinating book Linchpin, I think I know why!

Any thoughts or contributions you want to make to the effects of emotional triggers on nonprofit marketing communications? I’d love to hear them.

What it takes to be a nonprofit marketer

multitask

 

Look inside the heads of great marketers like Seth Godin & Steve Jobs and you’ll be surprised by the number of skills these guys and gals have that might not necessarily be tied to marketing. You’ll see things like interview skills, giving good feedback, and even kissing butt. Sujan Patel, Single Grain 

Wow, I thought. Maybe this is why I see myself as driven!

The DNA in a marketer includes a relentless desire to get better and better at what she does. She is always trying to improve and to help her team members improve also.

So, I’ve developed a short list of what I feel it takes to be a superstar nonprofit marketer.

1.  A hunger for knowledge about great marketing and lessons from great marketers:

2.  Be open to learn from great marketing campaigns:

3.  Great writer in multi-mediums – annual reports, web, online newsletters, press releases, SM, etc:

4. Prolific content generator across mediums – written, video, audio, & photo:

5.  Marketing generalists – new & traditional media:

6.  Proactive communicator & connector – A marketer understands that the more people you know the more opportunities, ideas and help you will have. So you need to spend a good chunk of your time connecting with people, be it on social media, at conferences, networking meets and even lunches.

7.  A committed leader – As a nonprofit marketer most likely you will work with a team to accomplish your goals. A great marketer is a great leader, always recruiting and encouraging her team to accomplish goals from start to finish.

8.  Driven by metrics:

9.  Donor-Centric Focused – The truly great nonprofit marketer obsesses about her donors & other stakeholders: her needs, wants, desires, dreams and problems. Every marketing conversation begins with the “customer”—and how she will benefit.

10.  Be a Decision Maker – You have access to a ton of information. But, you’ll never have enough. Or, as I do sometimes, you may get paralyzed by information overload. Analyze the data, make a decision and then learn from your mistakes. A true decision maker doesn’t let fear stop her from moving forward.

Most importantly you must love what you do and celebrate that you are making a difference in the world!

Any suggestions to add to the list? We’d love to hear from you!

 

The Power of Community Engagement Committees to market your Film Festival

film reel

 

Holding a film festival? Well, your festival promotion is key to its success.

Word of Mouth (WOM) still rules when engaging people to participate. Through WOM marketing you:

  • Invite community organizations to join you and promote the films to their members.
  • Ask volunteers and members to invite their friends and family.
  • Send messages that your team can forward to their email list.
  • Always include information about and a link to ticket sales.

*       Checkout Promoting a Film Festival in Three Weeks! 

Increase the power of WOM through a Community Engagement Committee. Charge the committee to assist in promoting your film festival to various groups within your greater community.

Your committee’s success depends on having  a good marketing tool kit. My favorite was developed for the 2014 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Community Engagement Committee. The toolkit is a link on the film festival website that is only accessible by committee members.

Steps to creating a Community Engagement Toolkit:

  • Create PDF files of the movie description in your film festival program. Here are a couple examples:

Brave Miss World

Esther Broner: A Weave of Women

  • Create a Handout of films by subject. Key each film to the page in the program.
  • Post a PDF of the Film Festival Program
  • Create a file that shows where each film is showing and at what time
  • Provide incentives for committee members to use such as discount price codes and group prices
  1. Schedule meetings with Community Engagement committee members.
  2. Provide a list of materials that can be found on Community Engagement Link.
  3. Capture information on outreach possibilities discussed at meetings.
  4. Offer staff support if a committee member needs help putting together visuals for face to face meetings.
  5. Create a tracking tool for committee members.
  6. Create a master spreadsheet of what outreach worked.

Another Community Engagement Toolkit favorite is Reel Power Films Fueling the Energy Revolution. 

Do you have any suggestions for a Community Engagement Toolkit? We’d love to hear from you.

Want a copy of the CS&I Film Festival PR Template? Please contact me at deborah@creative-si.com.

Enjoy the film festival!!

 

 

4 P’s + 1P = Good path to focus on local community

4_p's_of_marketing

Separate yourself not from the community – Pirche Avot 2

 

I just love when the universe hears me. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the significance of local initiatives and how important they are. Maybe I’m a contrarian, but as the world becomes more global I’d like to see people focus on their communities.

So, I was thrilled when I came upon two posts that spoke to local issues. The first, Local Businesses Need to be Findable by Paul and Sarah Edwards had suggestions that in my mind worked as well for nonprofits as businesses.

According a Local Consumer Review Survey, 85% of people use the web to find local businesses. Do you know how many of your clients/donors/event participants use the web to find your nonprofit? If you don’t have a website or are unhappy with what you do have, consider some alternatives:

  • Get a free listing on Google Places.
  • Create a Facebook page for your nonprofit. You can find oodles of posts on how to use Facebook for your nonprofit.
  • Make sure you have a presence on LinkedIn. Invite members of your community to Link to your page. Join relevant groups that touch the issues in which your nonprofit is involved in your community.
  • Start a blog. This will attract the search engines and bring people to your website.
  • Make sure your address is consistent on all your social media sites and your website.

Then I was reading another excellent post by Clair Axelrad “Purely Practical SMIT: 4 Keys to Never Lose the Why.” Claire always reminds me why I’m committed to empowering nonprofits to do good.

Claire’s March SMIT (Single Most Important Thing I have to tell you) is to never lose sight of the “Why.” It is virtually impossible to connect with people unless you know your purpose.

“Your vision or, if you will, your dream is your purpose. It’s the “why” of your existence.”

So, instead of bemoaning the fact that you can’t be everywhere at once, bring your passion to your neighborhood or your community.

Okay, but how do the two posts mesh?

To me, the first speaks to the tools you can use to make sure you have a real presence in your community. Remember the 4 P’s of marketing – Product (service), PLACE, Promotion & Price. Well, Local Businesses Need to be Findable speaks to some of the social media tools you can use to make sure you’re found.

Then, add the 5th P – PASSION from Clair’s post and you’re on your way to making a difference in your community. You see, even when your focus is on your community, you must know your purpose and care about it with passion.

In a future post I’ll introduce you to a friend who is working on what he calls a Hyper-local initiative. Sound intriguing? You bet!

Any thoughts on staying focused on your community? I’d love to hear them.

 

 

Positioning your nonprofit for 2013

“The future ain’t what it used to be.” – Yogi Berra

Whew, 2012 is over! Before you get bogged down in your everyday business, take a few moments to explore trends that will impact your success.

Over the last month I’ve been consumed reading and analyzing articles and blogs about trends that will impact the nonprofit sector this year. I’m still digesting the excellent information. However it is time to ‘put pen to paper’ and share with you what I see as the most important trends so I can help ensure a good start to 2013.

Leveraging Technology

Leveraging Technology is number one on my list. However, you will need to distinguish the trendy from the useful. You also need to make a commitment to really know your supporters, so you can effectively take advantage of new technologies to ensure your nonprofit’s impact.

The Stanford Social Innovation Review posted Ten Technology Trends to Watch, an excellent article by Mark Tobias president of Pantheon, which provides online technology solutions for nonprofits, associations, and government.

Mark suggests you should consider these trends as you develop your technology strategy for 2013. Read more details and explore links in the post by clicking SSIR.

  1. Measurement and transparency. What gets measured gets improved.
  2. Consumer-oriented online engagement. People who interact with your organization online don’t want to have to work to make sense of it.
  3. Deploying data to answer burning questions. Think beyond your web analytics dashboard. Instead, what are the core questions your organization wants to answer? Research shows nonprofits are collecting tons of data but aren’t using it.
  4. Knowledge hub rising. To survive and thrive, nonprofits and associations must add value beyond membership and advocacy.
  5. Mobile plus. More and more organizations are creating mobile-friendly websites, but the future of mobile is finding ways for people to accomplish even more when they’re away from their desktops.
  6. The unfettered conference. Recognizing that the world and its travel budgets are changing, nonprofits and associations would be wise to rethink and retool conferences.
  7. New types of products. Nonprofits and associations are using a series of technology-propelled products to make a big difference for both their members and markets (such as health or education).
  8. Whole Foods-ification. It’s organic! Nonprofits are slowly learning not to treat their website and technology as they do their annual reports—projects that are perfected and completed.
  9. Digital learning is soft. The explosive growth in online courses proves how much America likes to learn. So, it’s important to keep in mind that the way people engage, learn, and behave online is changing.
  10. Proof and standards for digital learning are hard. As learning transcends time and place, colleges and employers are challenged to develop meaningful proof that a degree or certificate reflects the knowledge and skills necessary for job success.

 Anticipated Changes in the Nonprofit Sector

Change is pretty much assured for nonprofits in 2013. Nell Edgington, president Social Velocity provides 5 Trends to Watch in 2013. These are hot off the press! You can learn more detail and explore Nell’s links by clicking her post on HuffingtonPost.

  1. More demand for outcomes – nonprofits will need to articulate what results they hope their work with achieve and track whether those results are actually happening.
  2. Decreasing emphasis on nonprofit overhead – More and more people are coming to realize that you can’t just invest in programs without the staff, infrastructure and fundraising to make those programs happen.
  3. More advocacy for the sector as a whole – we will start to see the sector organize, mobilize and build the confidence necessary to claim its rightful place.
  4. Savvier donors – Because nonprofits are getting more savvy, donors are as well. In addition to an increasing demand for proof of outcomes, donors are slowly starting to that there is a difference between revenue and capital in the sector.
  5. Increased efforts to rate and compare nonprofits – As nonprofit outcomes are increasingly in demand, donors become savvier, and the “nonprofit overhead” distinction diminishes, we will increasingly evaluate nonprofits based on the results they achieve, not on how they spend their money. But that requires that a whole infrastructure for evaluating and rating nonprofits emerges, just as it has for the financial markets.

Please share this posting with your community. Create robust discussions. Explore how these trends will impact your nonprofit. Use these issues to help position your organization to take advantage of opportunities in 2013.

Do you have any more trends that you see impacting nonprofits this year? I’d love to hear from you!

PS my next post focuses on some user-friendly fundraising tips and strategies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Livestrong Foundation Shows Importance of Nonprofit Marketing

LIVESTRONG

Shame on Donors Who Want Their Money Back wrote Elaine Fogel on her blog Totally Uncorked on Marketing.

I couldn’t agree more!

With all the noise about Armstrong and his fall from grace in competitive cycling, one would expect Livestrong.org the cancer fighting Foundation he founded to suffer. As Elaine pointed out, there are some donors who want their money back.

Livestrong is succeeding and the donations are growing. Whether or not this continues in the long run is yet to be seen.

However, according to Charity Navigator, a prominent charity watchdog, it appears that the foundation has “successfully distinguished its mission from its founder’s woes.”

My suggestion to all nonprofits is to see your organization through a marketing lens.

What is Nonprofit Marketing?

“Marketing is so basic that it cannot be a separate function. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final results, that is, from the stakeholder’s point of view.” Marketing Guru Peter Drucker

I see marketing as – the strategies and tactics used to identify, create and maintain satisfying relationships with your donors, members, volunteers, clients and other stakeholders that result in value for both your organization and your stakeholders.

Creative Solutions & Innovations’ principles for guiding your nonprofit through a marketing lense:

1.    Always market your mission, not your current services. The ability to adjust its services to suit client need is key to ensuring the organization’s survival and its financial support.

2.    Carefully define whom your mission serves. You need to meet the needs of your  stakeholders.

3.    Measure your constituents’ needs. Research, research, research to ensure your programs & services resonate with your target audiences.

4.    Evaluate the success of programs & their relationship to your mission.

5.  Communicate regularly & consistently.

6.  Craft your messages to reflect how your mission effects your different audiences.

7. Develop an integrated marketing communications plan to ensure message integrity across all communication channels.

8.  Communicate in terms of your ROI even when it is not in monetary terms; quantify your economic impact.

9.  Celebrate your successes. Show how your ‘market diversification’ creates the funding to provide your services.

10. Know your organizational elevator speech so you can articulate your vision & Competitive Advantage Statement.

11. Keep a “face” on your marketing initiatives

12. Evaluate often & be prepared to refocus your efforts.

Any thoughts? Please let me hear from you.

 

 

Why I love local newspapers

A close friend asked me if I had time to speak with an executive director of a nonprofit about media opportunities for an award they just won.

I was excited since it gave me an opportunity to discuss one of my favorite topics – the power of community newspapers.

When I first started working in nonprofit communications my targeted media list was full of local papers. They provide information on community issues and inspired a call to action in support of a healthy democracy.

It seems not too long ago newspapers were still thriving. Now, the landscape is really changing.

A recent report from the Pew Research Center – In Changing News Landscape, Even Television is Vulnerable tracks important media trends. They are well worth noting.

“The transformation of the nation’s news landscape has already taken a heavy toll on print news sources, particularly print newspapers. But there are now signs that television news—which so far has held onto its audience through the rise of the Internet—also is increasingly vulnerable, as it may be losing its hold on the next generation of news consumers.”

Jeff Domansky  wrote an interesting post on media trends effecting PR. I’ve highlighted a few below:

  • Digital news surpasses newspapers, radio: Percentage of Americans who saw news or news headlines on a social networking site doubled—from 9 percent to 19 percent—since 2010.
  • With young, newspapers lack relevance: 33 percent of those under 30 get their news via social networking sites, 34 percent from TV, and only 13 percent from newspapers.
  • Newspaper free fall continues: Just 23 percent of all those surveyed read a newspaper yesterday. That’s down by half (47 percent) since 2000.
  • Reading still popular: 51 percent enjoy reading though there is a shift to electronic or digital formats.
  • Digital growing: Of those who read a magazine yesterday, 9 percent read digitally, while 20 percent of those who read a book did so in electronic format.
  • Online news is more mobile, or social: 17 percent got news on mobile devices and 38 percent saw news on a social networking site, doubling from just 19 percent two years ago.

All that said, there are still thriving local newspapers. They play a significant role in community and are extremely important to nonprofits.

“In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” said Warren Buffett.

I still look to the local newspapers. I drill down to community news within the broader based newspapers. In many cases I discover an online and print version that increase readership and attention to my nonprofit clients.

So, I introduced Alexis Dalmat, executive director Culture Connect to The Champion Newspaper, a local newspaper focused on the greater DeKalb County Community. The Champion is now part of Alexis’ communications toolbox.

I would love to hear about your experiences with local newspapers.

 

 

Is there a difference between social marketing & social media marketing?

I made a commitment to write an article on incorporating social media into a strategic marketing communications plan.

So, as I always do when I get ready to write, I began to review the literature. After all, there is so much information.

I did a query on social marketing.

Oops, I meant to use the search term social media. After all, there is a significant difference between social marketing and social media marketing.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that the two terms were used interchangeably!

Social marketing a/k/a “Social Marketing”:

Social marketing is the systematic application of marketing to achieve specific behavioral goals for a social good. The primary aim of social marketing is “social good.

Increasingly, social marketing is being described as having “two parents”—a “social parent” = social sciences and social policy, and a “marketing parent” = commercial and public sector marketing approaches.

Philip Kotler and Gerald Selman coined the phrase Social Marketing in their seminal article, “Social Marketing:  An Approach to Planned Social Change,”  which appeared in the Journal of Marketing (Vol. 35, pp. 3-12) in July 1971.  In the article, Kotler and Zaltman discussed how “the logic of marketing [could be applied] to social goals.” 

Since 1971, social marketing has been used, literally, around the world to remediate a variety of health, environmental and societal concerns.   

I suggest that anyone interested in knowing more about Social Marketing read What is Social Marketing?,  by Nedra Kline Weinreich  

The “other” social marketing, a/k/a social media marketing:

Social media marketing  uses online social media tools and platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc. to share information and create communities.

Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. An organization’s message spreads from user to user and resonates because it comes from a trusted, third-party source. Social media marketing is driven by word-of-mouth, resulting in earned media rather than paid media.

Social media is easily accessible to anyone with internet access. Increased communication for organizations fosters brand awareness. Also, social media serves as a relatively inexpensive platform for organizations to implement marketing campaigns.

Sample Creative-si blog posts that focus on the application of social media marketing:

Need help adding social media marketing to your integrated strategic marketing plan? Please let me hear from you – deborah@creative-si.com