15 Innovative Ways to Recruit Blood Donors Online

Getting your message in front of potential blood donors has become increasingly difficult.  Getting them to consume your content and engage with your blood center is even tougher. Because of that, we’ve put together a list of 15 new and innovative ways you can recruit blood donors online.

1.) Mobile apps

I’m not talking about creating your own; I am talking about serving up content on the apps your donors are using. Some of the hottest trends in apps right now are Snapchat, Blab, Tumblr, and Periscope. Each of these have great applications in our industry. To make sure you go where your donors are going, follow Mashable and Social Media Today, and allocate marketing dollars to have a presence where your donors are going every day!

2.) Streaming Media

According to the Huffington Post, 40% of all households with a TV and internet have a streaming media source like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. I hear ads on Pandora for local doctor’s offices and spas regularly but never my local blood center. And even more astounding, Forrester predicts only 50% of all TV viewers by 2025 will consume content via traditional cable TV (more information can be found here). While that sounds far away, that’s only 9 years from now.  We need to figure out how to be in front of our donors now.

3.) Press Releases

We are all doing them, but we need to shift the way that we use them. Engagement increases by 18% when you add photos and 55% when you embed video (via Hubspot). Get outside of your comfort zone and use your press releases to create your own buzz! Push your releases out on social media and go for viral impact! Press releases shouldn’t be for damage control or announcements – be creative and make some noise!

4.) Video

As I mentioned, videos will increase engagement by 55%. Additionally, video accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic. Within the next 2 years alone, it is estimated that 79% of ALL consumer traffic will be taken up by video (via Hubspot). Now is a good time to get good at it! You should be adding video to your Facebook and Twitter accounts starting today! The good news is that we are talking casual video, not professional video. For Gen X-ers and Millennials, we need to get away from stuffy professional photos and professionally edited and scripted videos. Our audience wants us to be real, be candid, and be like them.

5.) Retargeting

Retargeting is the process of cookie-ing a donor’s web browser and then following them around the web serving up ads that keep your message in front of them and continuously inviting them back to your website to schedule their next appointment. For example, say a donor visits your site but doesn’t schedule. Later that day, they hop online to do some shopping, and there’s your ad asking them to come back and schedule an appointment. It is a wonderful way to stay in front of donors that are kicking the tires (so to speak).

6.) Live Chat

By now, most everyone has probably used chat. Generationally speaking, Millennials aren’t big on talking, so we need outlets to communicate with them that don’t include speaking. Having live chat options on your website for your donors provides a great option to help them with login issues and also allows a trained representative to urge them to schedule an appointment before leaving the site.

7.) Blogging

Blogging is a great way to disseminate your message in a casual manner. Businesses that blog receive 97% more links to their websites. If you want to see a fellow blood center that is knocking it out of the park with a wonderful blog, take a look at Stanford Blood Center. I have read that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human. That is a scary stat for a call center executive, but it is also why I am focused on so many of these other recruitment ideas and I am literally begging blood centers to diversify their marketing efforts.

8.) Email

Most of you are already doing email, so I won’t spend much time on this, but consider a couple of tips. First, make sure you are including social sharing buttons on every email and build your content to be shared. You’ll see higher clickthrough rates – sometimes up to 150% higher! Also, if you aren’t already doing so, look at incorporating triggered emails. Millennials particularly want personalization. Define milestones and trigger messages to celebrate them.

9.) Google AdWords

Most of you have tried them and likely didn’t have a ton of traffic from them, which brings me to some good news and bad news. The bad news is, you spent money on something that didn’t work. The good news is Google has changed the game completely – literally last month. Most terms for blood banking are very reasonable, and you can get in the game for a very low investment.

10.) Display Ads

Google Ad Grants work just like Google AdWords online, but if you qualify, you can get up to $10,000 of in-kind AdWords every month! You need to apply and qualify, so it’s not for everyone, but there’s a tremendous opportunity for both awareness and savings if you do qualify. Make sure you write this one down on your list to research!

11.) Podcasts

Podcasts are interesting, because I struggle to come up with any riveting content that we could produce regularly for a podcast. But what I do think is a great application is advertising on a podcast. 67% of podcast listeners don’t mind receiving sponsorship messages, compared to 6% of TV viewers. Find local podcasters with strong followings and craft a message to their listeners!

12.) Social Media

Just about everyone is on social media, so please don’t tune me out here. I’m not talking about having a Facebook page and Twitter account. As an industry, we are there, but it is not enough – not even close. Every second there are 20,000 people on Facebook. I only give that stat because I love it, and I think it’s important that everyone knows that Facebook isn’t just a place to throw up a message or a picture every now and then. The average person spends 9 hours digitally connected. 40 minutes each day are spent on Facebook. With 1.3 million pieces of content being pushed out each minute, you need to make yours stand out! Ad prices have risen considerably, but you truly can’t afford not to advertise on Facebook. That said, it has to be done with precision. You have to know your segments and tailor your ads to meet their interests otherwise your content won’t be seen.

13.) App Creation

This one is referring to creating our own app. The key to a successful app is getting adoption and making your app a part of the donor’s everyday life. This is particularly difficult when our call to action is every 56 days. Incorporate games, music, downloads, and anything you can to keep your donors opening your app. Canadian Blood Services has a wonderful app if you are looking for an example of a great app structure.

14.) User-generated Content

“Instead of creating content, we should be creating opportunities for content creation: Instagrammable moments, inspiring experiences.” ~ Sophie Turton

Ask donors to provide reviews. Post to their pages. Give them photo props to use taking selfies in the chair. Have a costume for selfies. Be silly, embrace the fun side of social media, and give your donors something to talk about. 68% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more. User-generated content can help you get the community connection back to your donor centers. Leverage relationships to get great content!

15.) Texting

If you aren’t using texting yet, my only advice is to begin right away! Texting your appointments will increase your show rates. It’s perfect for cancelled drives, drive reminders, and urgent needs. The response is still small (as a percentage), so be very careful not to use texting for blasts. This is an example of watering down your content. Use it very specifically and targeted.

I certainly don’t suggest taking all 15 of these and implementing them tomorrow. Instead, choose one or two of interest and start testing them out. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send me a message or comment below!

In what other ways do you recruit blood donors online?  What tactics would you like to know more about?

Make sure you check back for 15 new twists on offline marketing ideas for blood donor recruitment.