What makes an effective nonprofit story?

A powerful story can help your donors cross from casual reader to impassioned donor. An effective nonprofit story pulls on the emotions of the viewer. It cuts to the heart of the viewer, engages their emotions and demands they take action. It’s one thing to tell your story in a way that inspires. It’s another to motivate your supporters to share your story with their friends and family. But an exceptional nonprofit story inspires, motivates, and excites friends and family to share with their friends and family creating a domino effect of brand recognition and increased donations.

But an exceptional nonprofit story, inspires, motivates, and excites friends and family to share with their friends and family creating a domino effect of brand recognition and increased donations.

By including the five story elements listed below, you can bring like-minded individuals together to rally around the change you’re making in the world especially if you’re working towards an effective #GivingTuesday campaign.

1. Beginning, middle, and end.
Every story has a structure similar to what you see here:

It’s typically called the story arc or a chronological sequence of events.

The three-part model mentioned above carries this progression:

  • Beginning: Problem. Explain the problem that you set out to solve.
  • Middle: Solution. Describe how the character solved their problem with your help.
  • End: Success. Get people excited about the results.

Directors, authors, and marketers use this model to help share their stories. Any good story has these three elements but the story arc is just the beginning. The structure of events along the story arc weave together the events and the characters of the story. The great, Kurt Vonnegut, hypothesized there were 6 emotional arcs in story:

In fact, a group of students in the Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont in Burlington has finally proven, without a doubt, that Vonnegut and his thesis were correct. It’s a fascinating read.

2. A relatable character

All stories are driven forward by characters. A good goal is creating characters your audience can relate to on a personal level. A good starting point is working with your buyer personas or fictional recreations of your most important donors.

 

3. Emotion

In a 2009 study published in The Annals of the New York Academy of Science, Professor Paul Zak asked his subjects to watch two videos. One tells the emotional story of a father whose son is dying of cancer and who is struggling to find a way to connect with the boy. The other is a more static, storyless video of the father and son taking a walk in the zoo. Professor Zak determined that those that felt empathetic after watching the video had a 47% more of the neurochemical oxytocin in their bloodstream. Our body responds to the power of emotion by releasing chemicals that elicit action.

Zak’s team ran a second experiment where they gave money to the subjects that they could spend as they pleased. Zak’s team found the subjects who produced the highest levels of cortisol and oxytocin were “more likely to donate money generously.”

4. Resolution
All stories need some kind of resolution. It’s why your viewers sat through your video for the last 5 minutes. It’s exciting, it’s suspenseful, and it’s satisfying. It’s here you want to show the users how your relatable characters overcome their problem by using your organization.

Connect the protagonist to the services of your organization to educate your audience on the scope of the problem and inspire them to be part of that solution.

5. Call To Action
The final piece of the puzzle is to ask your protagonist to take some kind of action. Hopefully, your audience is feeling inspired but they may not know the best way to act on that feeling. Enter the “Call to Action.”

Your CTA will depend on your organization’s goal, but should always be action-oriented. Some common call to actions include:

  • Donate – Giving money to your organization
  • Volunteer – Giving time to your organization
  • Advocate – Publicly supporting or recommending an organization, policy, or person
  • Fundraise – Raise funds through an event or fundraising site
  • Subscribe – Signing up to receive publications such as an email newsletter

Everything you do to market your nonprofit is another chapter in the story people hear from you. An effective nonprofit story versus a good story can make the difference between keeping your donors and volunteers connected or losing them to the next admirable cause.


The Marketing Undercurrent- Relevant digital news for Outdoor Marketers

We’re super excited to launch the Marketing Undercurrent here on the blog. The
Marketing Undercurrent is the latest medium at Sage Lion Media to inform you, the Outdoor Marketer of the latest technology trends happening online.

Our goal is to keep you quickly informed through short videos on new tools and techniques to boost your business and drive leads to your website.

We want to make things simple and Marketing Undercurrent is here to keep you in the know with what’s happening online.

You can read our blog posts at Sage Lion Media or you can check our YouTube channel.


How to identify and organize your IFTD trade show attendees before the show starts

It doesn’t matter how good your product is if no one knows it exists. IFTD/ICAST are massive trade shows with lots of shiny doodads begging for attention and lots of qualified trade show attendees. Your success is heavily dependent on pre-event marketing. The more planning and work you do ahead of the show the more attention your product is going to get at the show.

Before we do any major marketing efforts we need to know who is going to be there. Here are some tips for identifying who will be at the show this year:

1) Use a CRM to organize your leads into personas

Prior to any touch points, we need a way to organize our contacts into a CRM. Hopefully, you’ve got a good CRM in place already. If not, we use and love the HubSpot sales CRM. Whichever CRM you use it should do the following:

1. Segment your audience into personas or segments.

The segments you’d probably want to target for IFTD are:

  • Flyshops
  • Manufacturers
  • Buyers
  • Blog/Media
  • Ambassadors

The big reason we need to segment our audience is so that we can send different content to different audiences. Stat after stat shows the power of personalization on email opens and click-throughs . For example, the tone and content of an email to an Instagram ambassador are going to be different than an email to a buyer from a fly shop.

2. Track your interactions automatically.

When sending emails or making calls during your pre-marketing phase, you need to keep a record of who you’ve talked to and when. Any good CRM should do this for you automatically.

2) Utilize your existing network

The simplest list to put together is your existing list of clients and contacts. You’re looking for present clients, prospects, and ambassadors. If your sales team has it’s own list of contact consolidate them into one central location.

Don’t start spraying emails to the attendee list. You need to cut it down and plug it into your persona list

3) Trade show attendee registration list

Your second audience is the trade show pre-show registration list. If you’ve never received this information from the show organizers, contact them about receiving or purchasing it. The registration list is an essential source of information for your pre-show marketing efforts.

It’s important not to blast out an email to all these registrations. You need to cut it down and plug it into your persona list above. This way you can deliver specific content to those that match your personas.

The hard way to find trade show attendees.

So far we’ve relied on existing resources to gather emails. The following two options require a little more legwork to identify attendees.

4) Use Social Media

Another creative way to identify trade show attendees is to monitor social media.

  • Search for hashtags on social networks. Popular tags in the past are #IFTD2016, #ICAST2016 etc.
  • Join groups on LinkedIn ( Angling Trade posts a lot of good info on the show)

5) Web Tracking tools

Use tools to monitor mentions on the web like the Moz Fresh Web Explorer. This tool will search the web over the last 4 weeks and look for mentions of the search terms like IFTD.

Once you’ve found a potential contact you will need to try and gather their email. If you can avoid sending an email to info@company.com or something similar. Also, contact forms are often black holes. If you need to find a real person, tools like Hunter.io are perfect for reaching out to small sites and one-person blogs.

Simply enter a site into the tool…

And you’ll get some of the emails associated with the domain. It’s not always perfect, but it’s a good starting point.
Putting the time and effort into your pre-marketing is essential in any trade show marketing plan. Hopefully, these tools and ideas can help you find success at this year’s IFTD show.


What’s so smart about a SMART Goal?

When we are in the Discover phase of a website build or a Growth Driven Design project one of the first things we do is try to discover a few S.M.A.R.T. Goals. S.M.A.R.T. Goals are critical for long-term marketing success.

A SMART goal stands for:

  • Specific – Your goal should be unambiguous and communicate what is expected, why it is important, who’s involved, where it is going to happen and which constraints are in place
  • Measurable – Your goal should have concrete criteria for measuring progress and reaching the goal
  • Attainable – Your goal should be realistic and possible for your team to reach
  • Relevant – Your goal should matter to your business and address a core initiative
  • Timely – You should have an expected date that you will reach the goal

not smart goal

A good set of SMART Goals helps us stay focused on specific tasks we need to complete to reach project milestones.

We looked at a bad SMART Goal above, here are a few good examples from recent projects we worked on:

  • Increase total number of online donors by 15 percent in six months 1,652 in 18 months
  • Double our user session duration from 1:07 (average of combined domains) to 2:14 in three months
  • Increase new and returning web visitors to site by 45 percent in five months- Target by end of May- 26,000 per month

Typically, marketers might have goals for Visits, Contacts, and Customers for the year, quarter, or month and the numbers are closely related to each other. We’ve found that focusing on one of these specific segments gives the clearest vision of success.

  • Visits – You should focus on visits if you are just getting started with your website, or if you already have good conversion rates for visits to leads and leads to customer, but need additional traffic to add some fuel to the fire
  • Contacts – You’ll want to focus on Contacts if you are satisfied with the amount of traffic to your content, but you are not getting enough leads for sales. This is the segment that most HubSpot users focus on
  • Customers – Focus on this If you are getting a healthy amount of traffic to your content, visitors are converting on forms, but the leads just aren’t ready to close into customers

Goals are an essential part of a marketer’s success. Marketing goals are like personal goals you set for yourself: Meeting them makes you feel on top of the world. Effective. Inspired. However, missing your goal by a few customers, contacts or visits can incite just the opposite.


3 marketing story types to help sell your product

Story has been one of the most efficient ways for humans to communicate for centuries. Everything we do online is telling a story. It’s the story people hear from you that tells them what your product is and what it’s like to use your product. A great story means a great experience for your customer. And they are more likely to:

  • Share that experience with their peers.
  • Remember that experience.
  • Have a desire to repeat that experience.

We are going to look at 3 marketing story types that can help you sell your product.

 

In its simplest form a story has 7 main parts, Exposition, Problem, Rising Action, Crisis, Climax, Falling Action, End.

 

Concept Stories

Concept stories help people get excited about your product. It highlights how customers think about your product. A great concept story tries to answer the following questions:

  1. Who is the product for?
  2. What is the product?
  3. What does this product need to do?
  4. What is the straightforward solution to the problem?

Let’s imagine we have an amazing product called “MAKE IT FLOAT”. Breaking down a concept story into our seven parts (Exposition, Problem, Rising Action, Crisis, Climax, Falling Action, End)  might look like this

marketing story types concept story

Origin Stories

Origin stories are a little different. This type of story is not about the product directly but more about how a customer first became a believer in your product. On the surface concept and origin stories look very similar.  A concept story is big picture and origin stories start to get into the finer detail of why and how a customer first uses a product.

A MAKE IT FLOAT origin story might look something like this:

marketing story types origin story

Usage Stories

Usage stories are based around using your product step by step. They are even more tactical than origin stories. Often these are created by staff showing the product in the field.

In our MAKE IT FLOAT example our usage story looks like this:

marketing story types use story

Marketing story types as storytelling

Everything you do to market your business is another paragraph, page, or chapter in the story people hear from you. And the story people hear is the one they act (or don’t act) on, and repeat (or don’t repeat) to others. Using story telling in marketing can be an extremely effective way to deliver messaging about your products to your customers.


3 Twitter video ideas outdoor marketers should be creating

The explosive growth of online video continues to dominate social media. We are starting to see interesting statistics on the effectiveness of video as a marketing platform.

The numbers are staggering. So what can we do to take advantage of these stats?

Twitter Video Ideas people actually want.

Adweek created a compelling infographic that highlights how impactful video can be on Twitter. The infographic is packed full of great statistics to help outdoor marketers become power users on the Twitter app. While all of these numbers should be studied carefully, the one that stuck out to me was the type of content users wanted from a video.

twitter video ideas

Based on these stats we put together a video that highlights 3 video ideas for twitter.

 


Unboxing our latest backcountry drone the mavic pro

We’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of our new Mavic Pro and it finally arrived early in 2017. While we’ve been busy flying this thing around take a look at some of our initial impressions during our unboxing video.

 


Engage New Customers With These 4 Email Types.

Being able to engage new customers with remarkable content is an excellent way to welcome them into your tribe. Once we understand where your new customer came from and who they are, we can begin nurturing them. The first purchase by a customer is an important time in your developing relationship because loyal customers can become valuable customers. Up to 15% of a business’s most loyal customers account for 55-70% of the company’s total sales. It’s imperative that you get off to a strong start. Let’s look at 4 email types to welcome new customers.

1. Follow Up Surveys

engage new customers through thank you email

The usefulness of ‘Survey’ emails is two-fold. First, like the triggered ‘Thank You’ email, it allows for additional website discovery upon completion of the survey. Second, it affords an opportunity for future email marketing materials showcasing your company’s aptitude at listening to customer concerns and acting to alleviate those concerns.

Furthermore, linked surveys such as this example can segment satisfied and unsatisfied customer data for future email marketing materials. Segmented email contact lists and personalized email campaign messaging are the most effective tactics for 51% and 50% of marketing influencers, respectively (Acsend2, 2016).

2. Cross Sell Emails

engage customers through cross-sell emails

‘Cross Sell’ emails target new customers per customer browsing history thanks to the use of website cookies. Website cookies can then be data mined for targeted email engagement. Targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue from returning customers (The Direct Marketing Association, 2015) and are an effective way of maintaining customer engagement throughout 2017.

In the example above, a customer has previously made a purchase. Per the historical browsing history data of that individual customer as well as the browsing history data of other previous customers also purchasing that product provided by your website’s cookies, the products showcased in this ‘Cross Sell’ example have been targeted specifically for that customer.

3. Special Events Based On Purchases

One of the best ways to increase customer engagement is to meet them face to face. Holding an event that is catered just for them is an excellent opportunity to tell your story directly to a new customer.

Ideally, if you had the opportunity to combine the purchase history of your clients to the event you could really set yourself up for success.

A few quick examples:

  • If you sold several rods of the same model, have a casting demo.
  • If you sold a bunch of tying gear, host a trying night.
  • Did you sell trips, host a demo night for that specific trip.

Just make sure you deliver the right message to the right people through segmentation.

4. Thank you and welcome emails

engage new customers through thank you email

‘Thank You’ emails are effective tools for gauging customer loyalty. In fact, emails with ‘thank you’ in the title observe 53% above-average engagement levels (Adestra, 2015). An automated ‘Thank You’ email also provides additional opportunities for new customers to visit the website via embedded links. New customers are 152% more likely to open an automated ‘Thank You’ email than other types of email communication (Adestra, 2014).

After an initial sign-up, popular clothier Banana Republic utilizes an automated ‘Thank You’ email that is simple, yet gives the new customer a sense of belonging. The naturalistic desire to belong drives the motivation of many customers, both new and returning.

Engage new customers can be a long term solution

Building trust with new customers can take time. But reaching out to them in the first few months with a personalized message can go a long way to welcoming them to your brand.


Engaging new holiday customers starts by understanding who they are.

Google Analytics is one of the best tools you can use to begin engaging new holiday customers. Before we start reaching out, we need to segment our audience based on these new users so that we can begin to analyze the data and look for patterns and trends.

We also want to make sure we are only looking at new customers for the period beginning around the same time your black Friday campaigns kicked off.

Begin engaging new holiday customers by filtering your Google Analytics

engaging new holiday customers using google analytics

Step 1

Click on the All Users from the sessions filter.

Step 2

Scroll until you find New Users.

Step 3

Select the dates you started marketing for the holidays and click Apply.


 

Understanding the demographics of the new users

discover the demographics of your new holiday customers

Our first stop is the demographics section. We love this page because it breaks down your sales based on important age groups. This gives us a clear understanding of which groups from the new users are most important. You want to compare these numbers with your personas to make sure the new customers you are collecting are still aligning with your core audience. If it’s not, it might be time to rethink your personas.

Step 1

From the Audience Section select the Demographics > Age.

Step 2

Analyze the Revenue per Age range. Does this jive with what your research says is your core audience.


What did they buy?

new customers what did they buy

It’s a good idea to get a sense of what they bought. This report will help you understand what your customers were interested in this past holiday season. This will be valuable information when following up with specific product recommendations. For example, if you sold 15 fly reels, you’ll probably want to follow up with an email about adding a new fly line. Or if your customers bought new fly vises a follow-up email on new fly patterns would be a good idea.

Step 1

Select the conversions section.

Step 2

From the drop-down pick the eCommerce and Product Performance.


Where did they come from?

new holiday customers referral source

Next, we want to figure out where these new customers came from. This is a great opportunity to check in on the efficiency of your holiday marketing campaigns.

You can drill down into each section and reveal more details on each specific referral source if you need to.

Step 1

Select the Acquisitions from the sidebar.

Step 2

Click on All Traffic > Channels

 


new holiday customers geography

Where do they live

Next, we want to figure out where these new customers came from. This is a great opportunity to check in on the efficiency of your holiday marketing campaigns.

You can drill down into each section and reveal more details on each specific referral source if you need to.

Step 1

Select the Audience filter from the sidebar.

Step 2

Select the Geo > Location Dropdown.


How To Survive a Denver Trade Show at the Merchandise Mart

We’ve been going to the Fly Fishing Show for years. In that time we’ve learned a thing or two about how to make sure the time there is fun and productive. We shared our knowledge with our clients through this infographic.

As the outdoor industry continues to face threats from land sales and public auctions, events like these become more and more important for our industry. They are opportunities to open up new collaborations and stay engaged with others in the industry.