Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tell me, tell me and for god's sake tell me again...

Occasionally I get fixated on certain products and services. For a while it was, and to be fair, still is Porter Airlines. They are brilliant. Torontonians, if you haven’t used them before you must.

Recently I stumbled across Priceline – a cool website that allows you to book cheap flights and accommodation.

A dime a dozen though, right?

Sort of. The great part about Priceline is that you can bid for stuff. So I can bid (as I did a couple of weeks ago) for a hotel, in the city I want to visit, in the area within the city and then nominate or bid what I want to pay.

Then within around 60 seconds I find out whether I have been successful.

Where it gets really smart is when I place my bid, or before I press the bid button it tells me if I have a low probability of getting the place I want. So that if the chances are low I can bump up my bid.

Basically it works. I’m currently staying in the Sheraton on 7th Avenue in Manhattan for $110USD a night. And for anyone whose stayed in NY recently, that’s unheard of.

So what the hell has this got to do with my fundraising program, Jonathon? Get on with it!

Well apart from the obvious analogies like being easy to use, what I love about Priceline is they are bloody persistent!

Last week I bid for a hotel in Vancouver and missed out on the price I suggested.

Every day since then I have received an email like you the one you will see attached, reminding me that I can bid again at the same price if I like. What I love about this is:

- They have remembered me. My name, my details, my bid.
- Just because I missed out the first time doesn’t mean I am not interested. I can either re-enter the same bid or make some revisions. They key is reminding me.
- They make it easy for me to go and bid again. I simply click the link and presto, I have re-bid.

Absolutely brilliant.

Remember these things in your direct response fundraising.

Tell me, tell me again and for gods’ sake tell me again! In a direct mail letter, we usually ask a donor around 5-6 times (within a 4 page letter). We know, as we have tested, that the repetition increases the response rate. Some simple rules to remember here, are:

- Always include an ask in the first 3 paragraphs
- Always include an ask on each page
- Always include an ask at the end of the letter
- Always include an ask in the P.S. and tell them everything you have just told me one more time

Great work Priceline. I reckon you’d make a good fundraiser.


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