Your Email is a Magazine Cover (& 6 Other Marketing Analogies)

Today we welcome a special guest on the blog: Stelter’s Editorial Director, Katie Parker. Katie worked for major international consumer magazines and websites for 12 years before joining our Stelter team as the head of our content strategy and execution.

Let’s talk marketing psychology. It’s more than what is in your materials—it’s why. As you think about the various channels and devices you use to talk to your donors, consider the donor’s state of mind as they consume each one. To simplify, I have a few everyday analogies for key marketing communications. (Bonus: Enjoy a free downloadable version!)

Print Newsletter = Target Christmas Catalogue

You love Target’s excellent prices and good products, but you didn’t ask them to send you a 36-page catalogue of Christmas gift ideas. But now it’s here…and you dig in. Multi-page print products are best served when they come from a brand the donor appreciates (you!) at a time their ears will be perked for the benefits of working together.

What It’s Not: An end-game product. Consider: The Target Christmas Catalogue isn’t a chance to purchase; it’s inspiration that drives you to the store or to their website.

Maximize It: Print newsletters should motivate action and tell a story. Include opportunities to contact you, to explore a topic on your website or to receive a free brochure to learn more about the planned gift that might be right for them. 

Brochure = Instruction Manual

When you get out the instruction manual for a new gizmo, you’re committed. This single-focus communication does one job, and it does it thoroughly. At Stelter, we often use brochures as the free offer coming from the print newsletter. It could deep-dive into a specific gift vehicle or it may be designed worksheet-style for a donor to make specific decisions about their legacy.

What It’s Not: Something with no value. A brochure should truly help a donor accomplish their goals.

Maximize It: Promote brochures with a visual for the donor to see. Ensure it covers a topic thoroughly and allows a donor to make a decision based on it.

Email = Cover of a Magazine

When I worked in magazine publishing, we called our cover lines “sell lines.” They’re there to get you to buy the publication. Imagine: You’re checking out at the grocery store and there’s a home design magazine plugging “Must-Know Home-Arranging Tips” or “The Best Paint Color for EVERY Room” on page 54. It gets you to pick up the magazine and start reading. An email does the same to get you to engage with the website.

What It’s Not: The full story. Email drives you to where the full story appears.

Maximize It: Use it as a tease. Inspire action. Be essential and timely.

Website = Library

Everything lives on your website! Like a library, a donor should be able to self-navigate: click a link to dig deeper into honor and tribute gifts, or watch a video about charitable gift annuities.

What It’s Not: A journey you dictate. Let go of control.

Maximize It: Fill your website with friendly language, lots of links and interactivity. Allow donors to head to your social media channels, watch a video, download a brochure and read up on your mission.

Social Media = Billboard

You have seconds, maybe less, to stand out in a crowded feed. A billboard grabs your attention quickly, inspires and motivates.

What It’s Not: A long-form story. Drive them to your website to explore.

Maximize It: Use emotion and images. Consider setting aside budget to run a Facebook ad to ensure that your message gets to the right people at the right time.

Landing Page = Your Friend’s Facebook Page

Think about your Facebook behavior: You start on your feed and you dig into a friend’s page only when you have a specific interest (look at those baby pictures!). A landing page is also a directed experience; you “landed” there—hence the name!—from an email link or via Web navigation.

What It’s Not: An abundance of links and ideas. Landing pages are focused and have one or just a handful of actions that can take place. A form to get a download, perhaps.

Maximize It: Ensure that donors know they’ve come to the right place. All messaging pointing to the landing page should match what a donor gets when they arrive.

Video = YouTube

Not everything is learned best via text. Would you be more confident changing a tire after reading step-by-step directions or after watching a video (or both)? Video can also inspire emotion, for instance an impact story from the recipient of a planned gift.

What It’s Not: Overly long. Video studies shows that users’ eyes look at the video duration countdown early in their viewing.

Maximize It: Pair video with text so donors can learn through both methods.

Keep these ‘peeks into a user’s psychology’ in mind as you plan your upcoming marketing communications. When you pair strong messaging and the right frame of mind, you ensure that you’ve maximized your results.

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