Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lessons: Issue Marketing and the March of Dimes

The Issue Marketing website has a very interesting article on how March of Dimes has developed a low cost online advocacy/marketing program.
...The March of Dimes' Affiliate Program launched in January 2006. As the affiliate manager in charge of the program, Bair creates and posts banners to the My Affiliate Program website — with occasional suggestions and support from a staff of six at KowaBunga! who are assigned to the March of Dimes account.

Approved Affiliates then download the banners and post them on their own websites. Banners typically focus on upcoming events, such as WalkAmerica or Prematurity Awareness Month, which are refreshed once an event passes or pregnancy issues, encouraging women to seek prenatal care before and during pregnancy.

Internet surfers who click on the banners are taken to a landing page on March of Dimes' website that includes a call-to-action, such as: signing-up for an event, making a donation, signing a petition, or writing to Congress to support legislative change.

As a well-known charity with a popular cause, many Affiliates have been willing to help the March of Dimes, even without compensation. In the first 11 months of the Affiliate Program, 550 website publishers applied to be Affiliates and 70% were approved (sites involving activities not aligned with the mission of the Foundation, like gambling, pornography or smoking, were declined).

KowaBunga! promotes the March of Dimes to its Affiliate Network: Bair also actively recruits websites that cover complementary topic areas, such as pregnancy and parenting...
Results: eleven months into its Affiliate Program, the March of Dimes' 400 Affiliates had already donated more than 40 million banner ad impressions.  Says Jeffery Bair, "Our initial approach has been to use our Affiliate Program to help create awareness of March of Dimes' key issues, including how to prevent birth defects, premature birth and low birthweight."

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