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5 Takeaways from DMAW Digital Day

By Angela Stoutenburgh

This October I attended DMAW’s Digital Day Forum; to borrow from Cass Bailer of Slice Communications, the experience was different. If you have been around long enough you see the same faces and memorize the talking points. But while I saw some friendly faces this year, Digital Day was full of fresh ideas for online marketing strategy. Here are my top five takeaways.


Being Different is Okay

It’s not just that “being different is better than better,” being different is okay. In a world where the DNC thinks it’s a good idea to send emails that guilt-trip us about their dogs, be confident that you can be different. (Actually, please, please be different!) What matters most is consistency, not just in brand and voice, but in mission. Pave a path that is unique to your organization that holds true to your values. You won’t be disappointed.

Keep it Clean

From your website to your email campaigns, it is important to have clear messaging and accessible integration with social media and networks. Your constituents want to know what you stand for, what their support will accomplish, and how to get involved. Give them specifics. You want to build a conversation with and amongst your supporters and that’s harder to do with a lot of noise. Clean, graphical web-designs, mobile-friendly appeals, and quality content improve user experience and increase engagement.

Make it Easy to Get Involved

Make it easy for your supporters to do the things they want to do: learn, donate, and advocate. What sets apart a successful organization is sometimes simply execution.  Steven Dawson at Woolly Mammoth Theatre dramatically improved ticket sales through a Facebook engagement campaign. Fans were invited to “share their secrets” in promotion of a production. Constituents not only produced the content for WMT (smart) but they became a part of the production. But in order to make it easy for your supporters, you have to know your audience.

Crunch the Numbers

Not every constituent is on Facebook; maybe your donors prefer Pinterest, or even good ole-fashioned RSS feeds. It’s not new-news, it’s timeless: do the research, crunch the numbers to know what works for whom and where. Throughout Digital Day the message was clear: segmentation and personalization are key to boosting engagement and that means improved acquisition and increased donations. When it is time to try things differently, testing leads to success.

Old Dog; Same Tricks

Nicole Titus with Ready for Hillary said it simply: don’t forget everything you learned from direct mail. Use the materials from your acquisition packages and provide your supporters with premiums. Borrow from what you know to set up an engagement ladder. Produce content with a story arc; give urgency to your messages; and share that swag. Free stickers and decals were a common example throughout Digital Day, so think about the high-volume premiums you have in stock and start giving it away for free! an email!


Angela Stoutenburgh is the Digital Account Coordinator at ABD Direct and can be reached at (202) 738-4913 or at Send those tweets to @astoute2!

Angela Stoutenburgh