What's Driving My Donors to Donate? | Marketing Attribution for Blood Centers

TV spots, Facebook posts, tele-recruitment... oh my! You're trying to be channel agnostic and engage your donors in every way possible to try and hit goal and save lives in your community. 

But what's driving your blood donors to schedule an appointment at your blood center? What's driving them to keep that appointment? The most effective blood center marketing teams are using marketing attribution techniques to determine which channels (or which mixture of channels) are driving in blood donations.  

What is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution is the science behind what drives a blood donor to schedule a blood donation appointment and ultimately give blood at your blood center. 

Why is Marketing Attribution Important For Blood Centers?

It's important because it allows marketing teams to determine which channels are performing most effectively at the lowest cost, which then allows for the redistribution of marketing dollars to the top performing channels. 

How Can I Use Marketing Attribution To Determine Channel Effectiveness?

At Incept, we've typically helped blood centers attribute blood donations back to tele-recruitment calls. This is pretty simple because it's a one to one match in an excel file or donor management platform. When a Conversational Marketing Expert calls and schedules an appointment, they make a note in the donor profile that the appointment can be attributed to tele-recruitment. 

It gets much more challenging when we bring in other channels like social media, direct mail, and TV, but here are a few ways you can start tracking attribution in those channels:

Digital Channels

There are many tools and tricks available for digital marketing attribution. Here are a few of our favorite:

Custom Query Strings - One of the easiest and quickest ways for you start tracking marketing attribution from digital channels is through custom query strings. A query string is a powerful tool that allows you to pass information to a website form by simply adding that information to the end of a URL. 

For example, let's say you want to see which Facebook post is driving more donors to schedule an appointment at your center. Instead of using the exact same URL to link to the scheduling page, give each link a custom query string that reflects the unique content of each Facebook post. When your donors schedule from either post, the query string will be passed through to your online appointment form and you'll be able to attribute individual appointments to specific Facebook posts on the back-end. 

Google Analytics Attribution - Google Analytics recently released a beta version of their attribution tool. While we have yet to use this tool ourselves, it looks pretty intriguing.  Google promises that it will allow you to see the entire donor journey, across devices and across channels. It uses a data-driven, machine learning approach to determine how much credit to assign to each step in the customer journey, giving your team more insight into the mixture of channels driving donations as opposed to just the last one. 

Traditional Channels

Determining marketing attribution in traditional channels like TV, radio, and direct mail will forever be the most difficult and most expensive to track. The best way (and simplest) we've determined is by using offer codes. 

Offer Codes - In order to track traditional marketing channels effectively, try experimenting with offer codes. For example, if you're running a promotion this month offering a free Dairy Queen ice cream sundae coupon following a successful blood donation, end each ad spot with a customized offer code along with your call to action (DONATETV vs DONATERADIO, for example). Now when a donor goes to schedule an appointment online, they'll be able to insert the offer code into your scheduling form in order to secure their coupon.  If they call into schedule or even walk into a donor center, no worries. The tele-recruitment agent or donor center staff can still record the offer code in your donor management platform. While this strategy surely won't capture 100% of your donor attribution, it certainly gives you a lot more information than trying to determine how many donors your TV and radio ads drove in without it. 

Now, if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on marketing and a few data scientists at your disposal, there are absolutely more effective ways to track multi-channel attribution. Since there are few blood centers that have this option, we suggest trying the offer code strategy first. 

Are you working on perfecting your blood center's marketing attribution? What have been your most exciting successes and/or biggest challenges?