In the first class of our five week course, Mastering Your Mix: A Practical Approach to Integrated Communications, we focused on finding your core audience and how your communications should be tailored to their wants. We had a lot of great questions from the session, many of which were answered by our co-presenter and communications expert Chris Tuttle in the chat. Since communications integration is a complicated topic, and audience segmentation can sound more difficult than it is, we thought we would re-post our in class answers for everyone to learn from.

How can we find demographic information?
Looking at Google Analytics can be a great place to start. Facebook also has an insights tool which can help you discover who your followers are, and your broadcast email tool may have some valuable information as well. In addition, you can send out a survey, talk to your key supporters, and try segmenting emails to see what your audience is most interested in. It takes some work and some experimentation, but getting to know who your core audience is will make a big difference in how you target and plan your communications.

How do you feel about sending one communication, such as an Annual Report through different channels, i.e. print for those who like print and pdf only for people who prefer email?
I think it’s terrific to create different versions of content for specific audiences and/or channels. For example, print Annual Reports via offline mail to donors, PDF to all via email or web, Infographic Annual Reports via web and social, Mobile friendly “quick stats” via Twitter, or others.

How do you determine how often to message to your audience?
Often this can be determined based on which channel we’re communicating via. Email varies greatly, but not likely more than weekly or bi-weekly at most (unless segmented). Facebook 1-2/day (again unless targeted posts), Twitter is more open because it’s so short and so you can message more often.

How do you encourage your audience to be active on social media instead of just being passive about information given? For example, LinkedIn Groups for private audience.
1) Try and try again. 2) Review what’s worked in the past and play off those concepts, 3) Consider gathering a group of dedicated constituents who can “take the lead” and who you can call on (via email, call or otherwise) to submit responses and lead by example. — If none of those are working, then reconsider your goals & channels and see if you might be better via different methods (eg; Facebook Private Groups vs LinkedIn Groups)

How do you feel about soft asks in email communications? We include a donate button in our eNewsletter.
I always suggest keeping a donate button within every email communication, and also generally suggest soft-asks, for example, after telling a success story. BUT, I would suggest trying to focus email communications on moving constituents back to the website first and foremost and include the follow-up ask on the web.

Then aside from appeal letters – perhaps events – what are the other BEST ways to raise donations
Statistics show that direct mail is still the leader in this area, but email and online fundraising platforms are starting to play a bigger role. The channel that works best for fundraising will be the one your donors are most drawn to. Defining which channels your donors are already frequenting can be a good way to recruit new donors, and increase engagement with existing ones. A good idea can be to include reminders to donate in all of your communications channels. As we mentioned above, including a donate button in your newsletter can lead to some extra funds, as well as adding donate buttons on Facebook, or even just gentle nudges to donate on your blog. You may also wish to check out specific online fundraising platforms, and consider a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.