Email Marketing
Award Winners 2006
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Email Marketing Award Winner
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Best Autoresponder Series:
Gold Consumer (tie)
Canadian Blood Services - Operation LifeBlood New Donor Conversion Series

Brand/Client Side Team:
Katherine Richardson, Jeff Moat

Delvina Interactive

MarketingSherpa Summary - Why They Won:
Asking for money is one thing, this non-profit is asking donors to line up to get a needle stuck in their arm to give blood. In a world where it's hard enough to fundraise via email, the runaway success of this tougher campaign is impressive. Plus we like the fact that "conversions" (folks who give blood) are promptly removed from the list and added to the regular newsletter file instead. It's a best practice to send new opt-ins a special messaging stream until they become proven converters and get added to the regular house list.

From Their Nomination Form:
People who have the desire to help others, share their good fortune/health and don't make excuses. They believe donating is the right thing to do but just haven't done it yet. They are impact helpers/humanitarians who are strapped for time. They are more likely to act if we can communicate the need to them. We define these people as 'intenders.' These people are typically middle-age (35-54), university educated, homeowners and working in white-collar and service sector jobs. They live outside of the urban center, are successful, open to others, adaptable to life's complexities and are enthusiastic about technology. They must have an active email account to sign up. They are busy, focused on career or family, computer savvy and need convenience and flexibility. They do what is needed and pride themselves on being doers. They are part of the minority that 'make things happen.' The campaign objective was to bridge the gap between intent and donation. With Canadian Blood Services, we developed 'Operation Life Blood.' This program was a 12-month pilot focused on a local market. We want them to understand that their donation is needed and can directly impact up to 3 people's lives. We want them to pledge to become a future blood donor and commit to donating blood within the next 12 months. The primary vehicle was email. The emails were designed to address common questions and barriers to donating and included multiple calls to action. We used informative and engaging content, including stories from local residents (donors and recipients of blood), video clips, calendar and clinic-finder links, FAQs, as well as polls and surveys designed to find out more about the customer base and further encourage their conversion. The ultimate goal was to achieve a conversion rate of 10%. The CBS New Donor Registry will appeal to and engage blood donor intenders and manage them through the process leading to their first donation. Canadian Blood Services is in a unique position -- their currency is blood. While most charities ask people to make a financial donation, CBS asks people for their time. There is no pain in giving money. Where as giving blood can be an uncomfortable process. Through research and insight, we determined that people were confused about the process and that there are many misconceptions regarding giving blood. We determined the best strategy was to create a personal, community-based communication program with those who had declared their intent to donate blood in the near future, building on their initial good intentions and closing the loop between intent and donation. The communication strategy was set up into three stages: welcoming intenders, educating them and including them in a community-based eNewsletter program. The email program was as follows: The first was a simple text based email (eWelcome 1) from the CEO of Canadian Blood Services, thanking 'Intenders' for registering for Operation Life Blood. The next email was a triggered email sent 7 days later and provided deeper information into the program (eWelcome 2). The final welcome email (eWelcome 3) was sent 7 days after eWelcome 2. This final welcome email communicated two strong call to actions; Donate and/or Take a Survey After receiving all 3 emails the 'Welcome' series, intenders who still did not donate received bi-monthly 'Operation LifeBlood ' Community News' eNewsletters until they donate. Converted intenders (new donors) are removed from this communication campaign and placed into a regular donor communication program. For persistent non-donors, a series of 4 targeted emails were sent as a last attempt to convert them. This was not a typical email campaign as the aim was to remove subscribers from the list as they converted and donated blood! To date the pilot program has achieved a 15% conversion rate, 5% higher than the target conversion rate. Average open and viewing rates are 53%. Average clickthrough rates are 17%. The pilot program has been such a resounding success that the Canadian Blood Services will be rolling out Operation Life Blood across selected regions across Canada.

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