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Case Study : How to Reach New Constituents, Build Relationships and Drive Actions

Lori Halley 18 December 2007 1 comments


For this month's case study, we caught up with Curtis Brown from Mission Movers Group for an interview about using email and web 2.0 to reach new constituents and building relationships.  

As President of Mission Movers, Curtis works with clients across the country to impact their marketing efforts and drive brand identification. He works with for profit and non profit businesses to develop virtual communication systems. In addition, Curtis conducts ongoing seminars and conferences to introduce businesses to the facets of virtual communication and applying technology to improve results. Over the years, Curtis has developed business systems with numerous clients to help them operate more efficiently. Curtis provides concise strategic development of marketing systems and organizational approaches to becoming an effective company or organization by utilizing internet technology to improve marketing plans and their reach.

1. Can you begin by telling us a little bit about Mission Movers Group?

Mission Movers Group is a cadre of consultants who “try” to provoke organizations to use innovation and process improvement programs to maximize outcomes.  Every group that comes in contact with us is challenged to go beyond its own conventional wisdom and explore the amazing resources that are now available, easy to use and affordable.

2. What tools do you use to attract members? What worked well and what didn’t?

The number one way to attract members is to have a site that has cutting-edge content.  On our home page we have two reports that can be downloaded for free.  After people read these truly cutting-edge reports people sign-up and become clients.  Also, because of web 2.0 we offer the best content of other who are not part of our team.  We do what?  We provide content of other consultants?  Yes we do.  We are not afraid to provide our visitors other content.  We believe this makes our site very attractive.  Our use of viral email has also brought us a lot of traffic.  I think the only thing that has not worked well (but has worked) is the “official” social networking site like LinkedIn.  They have not provided us a good return on our efforts.
3. What sorts of circumstances is email appropriate for? What sorts of communication might it not be best for?

Email is great way to begin a relationship.  Our number one and really only goal of our site and clients we work with is to make sure they provide a good case to leave an email.  Getting the email is like asking for a phone number.  Too many websites ask for donations too fast.  Get the number then go on a first date then get married.  Get the email then build a relationship.  Find ways for people to take action in each email.  If your email becomes just a one way communication tool then the receiver will tune it out.  Email must be thought of as a two-way communication tool or it will become ineffective as it has become for most nonprofits.

4. What sorts of things should people look for when selecting an email platform to use?

There are hundreds of email platforms to choose from.  The costs range from $15 a month to thousands a month.  The question is what do you need now?  Too many nonprofits are paying way too much.  You need an email that allows for unlimited personalization and segmentation of your emails.  Some level of automation is nice.  I have one tool I use that automates everything and makes my breakfast.  More advanced nonprofits need to have an API that works with your data-base.
5. How do you quantify success of your SE placement? How do you pick keywords to focus on?

We just work hard to keep all of our key words on all of our pages in our site and in all of our descriptions about us on all other sites.  Also our use of RSS is critical in this in that every release also has all of our key words in the first two sentences.

6. How many videos have you produced? Who does that? Is that a lot of work? How do you track how people watch those videos?

We just take our own video and put it up.  We do it ourselves with a basic camera.  We did buy ($175) a special microphone to make sure our sound was high quality.  Our goal is to do more in 2008.  We use a lot of others video from Google and YouTube to put on our site.  This use of others video brings a good amount of traffic to our site.  We did not plan this but just happened after we made the move.

7. Can you explain how you put RSS press releases out. How do you monitor their success/pick up?

Yes!  This is actually fun.  Doing an RSS press release is easy.  Do your PR as you would do except in the first two sentences put all the key words that you want people to find.  Think of search terms people would use to find you.  If it’s a Homeless conference use the work Homeless and other close words as many as four times.  Be redundant and say it again as many times as possible the same way. To launch the PR do it on your blog and site if you have an RSS feed.  If you don’t have a feed-no worries.  Go to www.prbuzz.com, prlog.org, freepressreleases.com.uk, i-newswire.com/submit.php and przoom.com and fill out the form there and they will send out your press release.  And yes go to all of them even the UK one.  I get a good deal of traffic from the UK.  I think 20% of UK traffic is due to this tool.  How do I know that number?  I use Google Analytics.  This is a free service from Google that allows me to know where my traffic comes from.  I can see when it comes from one of the above services and I can interpolate some of the other numbers.  If you do not have website traffic tools get them.  Google is a great free to and so it site meter.  I use them both.  I have multiple sites.

8. Do you have any advice on maximizing participation by members through email?

Make sure your email is short, critical and two-way making sure every email has a call to action (ask them to do something).  Do not let your email become a broadcast.  If it does this tool will become a dud.

9. In addition to email, you had great success with Google Video and YouTube. Which social networking site did you find to be most effective and in what way?

As I mentioned the official social networking site has not been a huge success. Our business is one LinkedIn, Myspace, Idealist, Xing, Zaadz, Takingitglobal, Care2, Yahoo, Orkut, bebo and a few others.  These sites do bring us traffic but no more than 5%.  Myspace has worked best for us.  What has worked best for us is going to sites of associations and taking part in discussion boards and putting links to our site along with the offer of free advice and content.  This works best for us.

10. What advice would you give others who want to use email and web 2.0 to reach constituents?

It takes a lot of work to narrowcast (our def of narrowcasting is specific message to a specific group on a specific medium) your message to all of your target groups.  It will take hundreds of hours to get your system in place.  It’s worth the effort because once you are registered with all the places there are tools like “Flock” that allow you to manage your content in a fraction of time all at once.  Developing effective relationships around the world also take time but once they start talking about you and your content the traffic to your site (s) grows and so does your impact.  Web 3.0, how we like to call it will be huge for those you make marketing evangelist and use volunteers to be part of the marketing team to move the message. 

11. If you were to share some lessons learned, what are the five most important things to consider?

1. Keep your content critical for the receiver or they will ignore you
2. Keep building your network base and keep in contact.  Use the phone not email to say thank you.  Do this world wide by using Skype – it’s free or low cost.
3. Give people the tools to move your message.  Kiva is real good at making it easy to get their logo…
4. Make your listeners feel like the hero not you.  It’s your job to be the conduit for their actions.  They are the one that make the difference
5. HAVE FUN – if you’re not having fun you will burn out…

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 9:00 AM


  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Friday, 18 January 2008 at 8:36 AM

    Looking back on my posts for December 2007, these were the most popular posts according to Google Analytics:

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