Silverpop - Donation and Petition Abandonment: How Nonprofits Can Use Retail Marketing Tactics to Drive Engagement
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Donation and Petition Abandonment: How Nonprofits Can Use Retail Marketing Tactics to Drive Engagement

by: Keith Hanks (@keithhanks)
03 February 2015

As a consumer, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the customer experience of cart abandonment. During the recent holidays, chances are you abandoned an online shopping cart with an item (or items) in it, and the retailer later followed up with an email reminding you of the products in your cart and encouraging you to complete your purchase.

This concept can be expanded to encompass “process abandonment” scenarios in which someone fails to complete a series of actions specific to your business before reaching the desired goal. In the case of the nonprofit and political marketing spaces, this scenario most frequently manifests itself in the form of donation abandonment and/or petition abandonment.

Let’s take a look at each one and examine how you can use behavioral marketing automation coupled with Web tracking technology to encourage people to complete the desired action:

Donation Abandonment

The Scenario: A supporter visits a “Contribute” page to start the donation process, but doesn’t complete the series of actions all the way to the “thank you” page.

What You Can Do: For known supporters, you could send a follow-up email thanking them for considering contributing and encouraging them to complete the process online, or via the phone. You could also set up additional decision points and automated follow-up messages to encourage completing the donation.

Additional Tactics: You might consider creating pre-populated donation amount buttons (ex. $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, etc.) and capturing which one the prospective contributor clicked. (In the case of Silverpop Engage, these buttons would be tagged as a “custom event.”) Having an idea how much the person intended to donate could then be used to deliver more targeted follow-up activities.

Thinking Omni-Channel: You could also collaborate with other internal teams for an omni-channel experience that goes way beyond email. For example, you could create a program that would trigger an SMS reminder. The same concept applies for organizations with mobile apps – you could send a mobile app push notification to encourage contacts to complete their donation.

In addition, you could set up automated business rules that would send alerts to the “telesales” team for phone follow-up if “X” days pass and/or “X” emails are sent with no donation completion. Depending on the capabilities of your digital marketing platform, you could also establish business rules where those that perform (or don’t perform) a certain behavior get a postcard sent to their home. In the case of Silverpop Engage, an automated request could be routed to an on-demand printing service on a regular time interval of the user's choosing.

Petition Abandonment

The Scenario: A supporter views an online petition form about a topic (ex. save the rain forest, lower taxes, etc.), but doesn’t complete the series of actions all the way through to the “thank you” page.

What You Can Do: For known supporters, you could send a follow-up email asking them to come back to the site to sign the petition. You could also set up additional decision points and automated follow-up messages to further educate them on the topic and importance of the petition.

Additional Tactics: If the supporter completes the petition, you might place that individual in an automated follow-up track of messages thanking them for their support. Subsequent messages could update the supporter on the status of the petition, further educate on the topic and encourage donations as a call to action.

Thinking Omni-Channel: If you have sufficient mailing address info, this is another potential opportunity to send a postcard, or route petition supporters to the telesales team for follow-up calls soliciting for a donation.

If you have SMS enabled, a text message reminder can be sent as part of your “petition abandonment” campaign; if your mobile app is connected to your central marketing platform, a mobile push notification could be used in lieu of email.

As outlined above, those that make it all the way to the bottom of the funnel, where they signed the petition and were solicited for a donation, might find themselves in a “donation abandonment” automated sequence in the coming days/weeks/months.

A challenge I offer to the digital agencies and partners I work with is to find new ways to use marketing automation. New ways to make their digital offering more unique and add a new chapter to the behavioral marketing textbook. Why not get creative and think about how you might use process abandonment to help your organization?

It’s 2015. The tools to create powerful customer experiences are out there. There is a tremendous opportunity to use technology, data and creativity to connect with your audience in an omni-channel environment like never before.

Related Resources:

1) Tip Sheet: “10 Digital Marketing Tips for a Successful 2015

2) White Paper: “How to Turn Cart and Process Abandonment Scenarios into Revenue

3) White Paper: “7 Key Marketing Trends for 2015 – and Tips for Succeeding in the New Year

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