By Jean Bean, Director of Marketing and Communications
For over 60 years, Sentergroup’s client Giving USA Foundation has produced an annual report on data and trends in U.S. charitable giving, known as Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy. Last year marked the first time Giving USA Foundation managed the production and sales of this seminal publication.
The learning curve was steep. From figuring out spine widths and ISBN numbers (the unique identifier of a publication) to delivering turn-key promotional materials to partners, Sentergroup staff members on the Giving USA Foundation team had to quickly learn the lessons of book publishing and promotion.
And learn they did.
The release of the 61st edition, Giving USA 2016, and resulting sales demonstrate that with experience comes expertise. While sales of the 2015 report were good and met expectations, sales of the 2016 report were great. Even before the Foundation’s fiscal year ended on July 31, we more than doubled our sales goal.
So, how did we do it?
With one year of production and marketing of the report under our belt, we had the confidence to shake things up a bit. And we didn’t have to break the bank to do it. Here are some of the key, new strategies we implemented in 2016.
- Start selling earlier: Why wait until release day on June 14? To drum up early sales, Giving USA launched a pre-sale campaign in April offering 10% savings on Giving USA 2016 products purchased by June 13. Before release date, we had already exceeded our sales goal for the year by 47 percent.
- Reward your customers: In prior years, direct marketing to past purchasers and downloaders of products was minimal. Starting in 2015 and expanding in 2016, Giving USA now reaches out directly to purchasers and downloaders, offering special discounts and exclusive webinar access. These ongoing, incentivized campaigns never fail to produce sales spikes.
- Secure more partners: In 2015, Giving USA partnered with two organizations to offer savings on the report in exchange for promotion to their audiences. In 2016, we expanded that group to six. To make promotion easy, Sentergroup staff put together a comprehensive toolkit that included imagery and sample social media posts. So far in 2016, coupon code usage shows that over 16 percent of customers can be attributed to the partnerships.
- Enhance the product: This year’s book features more photography, a new cover and coordinated chapter-page concept, and larger font and heading stylings for easier skimming. The updates helped to modernize a publication that’s been around since the 1950s.
- Elevate the brand: Advertising for the report also received a face-lift with modern, eye-catching imagery that appeared in The Chronicle of Philanthropy to promote not only the publication, but Giving USA Foundation’s parent organization and Sentergroup client, The Giving Institute (ad pictured). A new creative group brought fresh ideas to the table to help inspire customers and provide clarity and conviction to our messaging.
- Improve the website experience: After building an online store from scratch in 2015, we took it a step further to create a custom landing page for the 2016 products, including a testimonial and clear path to purchasing.Sentergroup’s experience in book publishing and promotion of Giving USA is now being translated to its other clients with templates for partner promotional agreements, pre-sale strategies, and more.
This is one of the main benefits of choosing an association management company. Lessons in success, and even failure, cross client lines and help staff and leadership make solid strategic choices based on actual experience.
When you’re looking for management with experience, no one has more of it than an association management company.
Want to learn more about how Sentergroup’s professional services and client successes can benefit your organization? Contact us today.