Don't Let Digital Marketing Make You Lazy

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Digital Marketing is not the faster, cheaper and/or easier way to get your message out to the world.

If you stick to that mantra you won’t be making any of the many foibles and fumbles that are currently happening in the digital spheres. One of those is the now-classic email blast about the charity event you are taking part in, and how you have committed to raise a significant amount of money for a very worthy cause. Don’t get me wrong, asking for help from others is critical, and if it’s something as important as a charitable organization that is helping to make the world a better place, then using these digital marketing channels to spread that message far and wide make sense, but you must (like anything else) be strategic about it.

Simply blasting your online social network or spamming your email address book may get you some results, but it won’t get you the best results.

Yes, there are many people in your social network that will find it more than acceptable to get a mass email message from you. They love you, they care about you and would probably give you money even if you started telemarketing to them during dinner, but the "big win" is in how you treat those you are connected to who are nothing more than second/third degree connections (semi-acquaintances).

Why not use the channels to tell a story?

It’s so easy to cut and paste a template email. It’s so easy to start off your communications with, "apologies for the mass email blast, but," etc… but if you really do care, and you really do want to raise some money/awareness, why not do the right thing and take the time to get it right? Here are some basic steps (and they’ll work equally well if you’re asking for money or trying to get people to buy your product/services).

6 Ways To Raise Money (And Awareness):

  1. Let people know up-front what’s going on. Update your Facebook profile or tweet out on Twitter, "I’m going to be doing something special for a very special charity. Does anyone want to help me?"
  2. Ask for help. As you can see from the simple message above, right away you are opening yourself up to questions and potential people who can help you better connect.
  3. Show me why you care before asking for help. Publish content – text, images, audio and video – show the world why this is important to you, your family and the community at large.
  4. Support others. Don’t just ask for help… get active in other people’s communities who are related to the charity. It could be other people looking to raise money or simply a news portal that is aggregating information about the cause. The more active you become in other people’s communities the more inclined others will be to help you.
  5. Tell a story. Don’t make one up. Tell a human story – with emotion. By showing pieces of content and acting like a human being in these online social networks (versus a robot-like form letter/email), people will connect with you. They won’t be able to resist. Real stories told in a very real human way are the most powerful… and don’t forget to thank them when they do something for you.
  6. Copy David Armano. Before doing anything, please read this: Please Help Us Help Daniela’s Family (and read the comments too).

Don’t be lazy.

Most people are lazy. They’re busy with their day-to-day lives, and they think that the easiest way to get things done is by blasting everyone they know with emails (or through Facebook or Twitter or Linkedin). They’re wrong… and it’s lazy. Even taking the extra time to personalize each email with a name and a sincere note will make all of the difference in the world.

Marketing a message should not be an act of laziness, but an act of care and sincerity. Those that take the time to care and are sincere about it are usually the ones that are successful. 


  1. I work at a marketing agency that focuses solely on nonprofit organizations. Our clients do a lot of great marketing work both with us and separate from us. However, there are a lot of areas where nonprofits have to not just learn for themselves how to best cultivate relationships and appeal to potential donors online, but also how to teach those things to peer-to-peer fundraisers.
    Some nonprofits and peer-to-peer fundraisers do follow essentially the framework that you set out above and, to use a somewhat more popular phrase in the last 6-12 months, act like trust agents…incidentally a book that I just reviewed on our blog. While the large majority consider online appeals to be an after-thought and can come across as being lazy as you stated. Fundamentally, I think that many organizations will have to have a perception change around online fundraising before they are able to properly leverage email, Facebook, banners, etc, etc, etc. Among this group of individuals and organizations that are slightly behind the curve, I do believe that individuals will be faster to change than organizations though.

  2. Mitch, you’ve hit one of my favorite topics. Many non-profits don’t even have that many people to send to but they still wimp out and (get lazy) think that a one-size-fits-all approach is fine. The power of a customized note is so strong, whichever channel that’s done it.

  3. So incredibly true. While we apply this mostly in the digital world, it also applies to everyday business. Templatized procedures, whether it be emails, form letters, or or otherwise, automatically deserves the delete button or garbage can. Unlike the two that commented above on non-profits, I work for a for-profit company and we’ve seen much better results when we take the time to get personal as opposed to being lazy. Taking this extra time has yielded us results that are 13-15% higher than other methods. We’ve now made this common practice.

  4. Actually, marketing today requires people to be less and less lazy–which is the continuing challenge. In digital marketing, the media cost nothing (or next to nothing)–so the cost is all in the time you spend getting it right.

  5. I definitely support the point that you need to try and help others. I often find that my own job is made much easiers when I go out of my way to help my colleagues. This is also true in the digitial world, where building community is extremely important.

  6. Great ideas. Falling victim to the easy of pressing SEND without thinking through a clear strategy or impact is certainly something we need to avoid. I’ve found that simply being real and talking to people digitally as if I would in person is the way to go.

  7. Digital Marketing *IS* the fastest, most cost effective and easiest way to get your message out to the world. Don’t confuse yourself. Just because people can and often do it wrong doesn’t mean that the sphere of tools is suspect. Also remember that Digital Marketing is more than email blasts- it extends to paid/organic search, social, and a myriad of other tools/techniques for driving conversions online.

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