Episode 97 – Constantly test to see what works, and test again because it will change.

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Episode 97 – Constantly test to see what works, and test again because it will change.

Post Its | Constantly test to see what works, and test again because it will change. | Sideways8 Interactive

My guest on the show today is Adele Goldberg. Adele is the Executive Director of Friends of Yad Sarah, supporting the largest volunteer-led social services organization in Israel, serving young, old, Jewish, Christian, Arab, Druze, men, women, religious and secular. Yad Sarah’s humanitarian programs and services are dynamic and multifaceted from providing elder care, home health and medical equipment loans to advocacy for disability rights, cultivating volunteerism, and advancing community building. As Executive Director of Friends of Yad Sarah since 2003, Adele has raised more than $35,000,000 to support Yad Sarah’s critical services and is proud to represent the mission of Yad Sarah to its friends in the USA and to the international community at the UN. 

Adam: [00:00:08] Hi, and welcome to the Good People, Good Marketing Podcast, a podcast about digital marketing and how to make it better so the good people and good organizations can have good marketing as well. I’m your host, Adam Walker, co-founder of Sideways8, a digital marketing agency and 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting events that build forty-eight websites for forty-eight nonprofits in forty-eight hours.


[00:00:36] My guest on the show today is Adele Goldberg. Adele is the Executive Director of Friends of Yad Sarah, supporting the largest volunteer-led social services organization in Israel, serving young, old, Jewish, Christian, Arab, Druze, men, women, religious and secular. Yad Sarah’s humanitarian programs and services are dynamic and multifaceted from providing elder care, home health and medical equipment loans to advocacy for disability rights, cultivating volunteerism, and advancing community building. As Executive Director of Friends of Yad Sarah since 2003, Adele has raised more than $35,000,000 to support Yad Sarah’s critical services and is proud to represent the mission of Yad Sarah to its friends in the USA and to the international community at the UN. Adele, welcome to the show.

Adele: [00:01:29] Thank you so much, Adam. Pleased to be here.

Adam: [00:01:32] That number is super impressive. You’ve raised $35,000,000. I read that in your bio before starting this interview and thought, “Wow, that’s unbelievable.”

Adele: [00:01:44] Yes. You know what? When I think about it, I think it is pretty unbelievable. Next week will be my fifteenth anniversary with this organization and we really started from scratch, just building an organization and a foundation to reach out to grassroots supporters, large givers, small givers, community groups, organizations, foundations, corporations, and we’re growing a little bit every year, so it all adds up.

Adam: [00:02:20] Well, that’s what it takes, is growth year every year for a long period of time. It sounds like you’re doing some really amazing work and I’m really excited to talk to you about that work and then about the digital marketing aspect of it. Let’s go and dive in. Related to digital marketing, can you tell us something that has worked well for you?

Adele: [00:02:40] What’s worked well for us, we have digital marketing on a number of platforms. We have obviously a Facebook page, a Pinterest page, Twitter and Instagram. I would say that in terms of a digital marketing approach, the things that have worked best are things that are the most visual. When you have engaging photos where the subject is looking right at the camera, where there’s not a lot of noise in the background that is distracting in a sense, where the subject is sympathetic. Those are posts that have been the most engaging.

Adam: [00:03:28] That’s really interesting. You’re the first person I’ve interviewed in many interviews that has taken this angle about a post being visual. I completely agree with you. It works really well. You’re talking about engaging photos. Can you give me some ideas on how you go about getting engaging photos? Are you custom taking those photos? Are you doing some degree of custom photos, unique photos, original photos and then some stock photos or that sort of thing?

Adele [00:03:56] Well, getting good photos is a challenge because it’s a matter of communicating to my colleagues in Israel about the kinds of photos that really work well. What I’ve tried to do is to try to get lots and lots and lots of photos and then, from all of those, we pick out the ones that work. For example, this morning, I got an email from my colleague and it had to do with a Birthright program. Birthright is a program that takes young people to Israel for a free ten-day trip to really understand where they come from. This was a special program that was for, I believe, twenty-five young adults with very serious medical issues. So, the organizer needed to make contact with the entourage tourist services and we provide health and home care support services to people all over Israel. But if you’re going to Israel and you need a wheelchair or you need an oxygen concentrator, we also provide that to you free-of-charge for a free short-term loan.


[00:05:00] Some of these participants in this Birthright trip needed things like that, wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, oxygen tanks, what have you. We were very excited about being able to participate in to support this group and this really life-changing trip. We got two photos this morning from my colleagues. One was a group photo with a group is you can see the group from a distance in a sense. It’s like the full group, but they’re all sitting in a circle and wheelchairs, and nobody is looking at the camera. Then, there’s another photo where there’s a young woman who is actually sitting in a wheelchair, you can see the Yad Sarah logo very clearly on the wheelchair and then there’s somebody who is clearly assisting her by, I guess, pushing the wheelchair. Both of those subjects are looking directly at the camera. That’s the one that we’re going to use.

Adam: [00:05:58] Nice. Smart, because just ask people to take a whole lot of photos, send them all to us and then pick out the best ones and you’re bound to get some gems out of that. That’s actually pretty clever to ask them to do that. I like that a lot.

Adele: [00:06:10] Sometimes, with regard to photos, it’s a matter of getting lucky. Sometimes we take these photos and then I’ll just crop out the background and bring the subject to the foreground so that the viewer, the person who’s scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed will hopefully be taken with the subject’s expression or whatever’s going on in the photo, somebody in a wheelchair or somebody who’s clearly impaired in some way who may be engaged in some meaningful activity. That’s really what I’ve found at work.


[00:06:51] The other piece that works, that we find that works is video clips. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. It probably helps people to linger on your Facebook post a little longer and getting those really good video clips is challenging as well, especially from a distance, but whenever we’re able to get them and they work on, then we test them out and see what the reaction is.

Adam: [00:07:22] Wow. I love that. I’m a big fan of video. I think there’s a lot of increasing ability for organizations that are smaller to do really high quality video. I think that’s really smart that you’re doing that. That’s great.

Adele: [00:07:36] It’s not easy because you need a budget for these kinds of things and smaller organizations often don’t have that. It’s always a question for me as to what’s an appropriate amount of money for an organization of our size to be spending on this kind of thing. it’s a question I don’t have an answer for yet, but we’re kind of testing things. We test the timing of the post to see if it changes the response, if posts that appear in people’s newsfeeds early in the morning, for example, on the east coast, have a better engagement than the ones that are posted late in the afternoon. We’re constantly testing it and I know that it seems that Facebook is always changing their algorithms, so it’s tough to stay on top of all of this.

Adam: [00:08:27] Yes, it is. But the only way to do it is test and you’re on track. You just test and see what works and then not long after that, test again because it’s going to change. You need to test– That’s great.

Adele: [00:08:40] Sometimes there’ve been photos that have really surprised me. I’ve been concerned about, let’s say, the subject of the photo and I don’t really know how people are going to react, and sometimes they just take off, which is really, really exciting.

Adam: [00:08:58] I think that happens a lot in digital marketing. We put things out there and often— I’ve actually had conversations very similar to this on this podcast where people will put something out there that they really feel like, “This is really not great. It’s not going to do well, but I’m going to try it just to see,” and then it turns out to be the most popular thing they’ve ever done. Then, they try to duplicate it with something actually similar but more intentionally similar and it doesn’t do as well. It’s just a hit or miss sort of thing. Sometimes things that we do not expect to stick just really stick and resonate, while things that we expect will be obvious just don’t. We just have to test and figure that out and continue to move forward.

Adele: [00:09:38] The thing with Yad Sarah is that the message that the organization has, this humanitarian program, that’s really available to anyone in need. As you mentioned in the introduction, young, old, secular, religious, Jews, Arabs, Druze, Christians, really anyone, rich, poor, whatever, really has an opportunity to resonate with all different kinds of people. Some of the challenges to make sure that we can find things that will appeal to all these different segments.

Adam: [00:10:19] Right. Absolutely. That’s great. Question number two, can you tell us something related to digital marketing that has not worked well that we can learn from?

Adele: [00:10:35] I would say the most important lesson that I’ve learned about digital marketing is that it’s a pipeline. You can put a post out, whatever platform it’s on, but it’s not necessarily going to translate into increased revenue right away. We can put a post out there and it can get it a thousand likes or you can spend money boosting it and it’ll get three thousand likes, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to get more fans for our page or that any of those people will become donors. Maybe they will, maybe they will right away, maybe they will in a year from now, maybe they’ll see our posts today and next month, and next year, and three years from now, and then everything will start to sink in is the way that advertising– Advertising is all about repetition and we’ll see. As you said, there have been things that we’ve put out there that we thought would be a real home run and it didn’t resonate in the way that we had hoped.

Adam: [00:11:45] It’s a pipeline and a process. You’re right. One thing builds on another, builds on another, builds on another. And really, a lot of times what we’re doing is we’re building brand awareness, we’re building cause awareness and then we’re doing those touch points. The statistics talk about how we have to have a certain number of touch points with someone before they’re going to interact or react the way that we want them to, and it’s different for different industries and things like that. The last statistics I’ve seen, somewhere usually between five and fifteen touch points. Each post, each interest, each like is a touch point along the path that we’re trying to get people to walk down. You’re right. It’s very much a pipeline of material that’s hopefully guiding people down a path towards engagement with our organizations.

[00:12:33] Last question, love this one. Can you tell me something related to digital marketing that you are excited about?

Adele: [00:12:42] Well, we’re actually producing a short video that will demonstrate the work of the organization that’s going to be geared for a North American audience, meaning that it’ll be all in English. I think that there’s somewhat of a cultural divide into, for example, what my colleagues in Israel think that Americans might want to see or know about and what we here in the US think it’s meaningful to the people that care about the work of the organization and our mission. We’re in the process of putting some of that together. We hope to be able to use that on all the platforms and to be able to take small clips here and there and posted it all different kinds of times because it’s not like we get an opportunity to produce a short video every other month. We don’t have a budget for that. If we can get a lot of footage and then carve it up and use it in lots of different ways, hopefully, that’ll be a real win for us. I’m really excited about having this as a tool to build our brand awareness and to help advance our mission.

Adam: [00:14:03] Love that. I completely agree with you. That’s really how we all need to think about content, is create a solid piece of semi longer form content and then how do we take that piece of content and then spin it off into more content and cut it up into more content. Ideally a video like what you’re talking about can be ten different clips and pieces of content and then it can spin off from there and all kinds of opportunities

Adele: [00:14:29] That’s the way I think smaller organizations or large organizations can deal with this because it’s not like we get twenty new stories every day, so we might get a really fantastic impact story and then we have to keep molding it to whatever audience or whatever platform we were going to pitch it so that we can emphasize different angles of the story depending on where we hope to present this material and this content. That’s a challenge and it’s also something that keeps us on our toes.

Adam: [00:15:09] Yes, absolutely. I think that’s really, really clever and a really good way to get a lot of mileage for your investment. That’s really smart. Let me see if I can recap what we’ve talked about so far so our listeners have some good takeaways. Related to digital marketing, what has worked well, you said first that you’re on many platforms. You mentioned Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, and the things that are working well on those platforms are things that are the most visual. You said engaging photos where the subject is looking at the camera, there’s not a lot of noise in the background, the subject is sympathetic. Getting good photos as a challenge but if you get a lot of photos, usually you can get a few gems out of a big mass of photos from some people, and then also video clips help people to linger longer on the post and improve engagement. You also mentioned just testing to see what works. Testing out different things, testing out different post time, testing out how the engagement changes based on when you post and what you post and that sort of thing.


[00:16:09] For question number two, what has not worked well that we can learn from, you said, essentially, just your understanding of digital marketing now is that it’s a pipeline and so one post will not immediately translate into increased revenue, but it’s a touch point along a path that helps people to engage in the ways in which you want them to engage.

Adele: [00:16:27] Right. I feel that when we’ve invested a little bit of money in, for example, boosting posts, it just didn’t give us the results that we thought we were going to get.

Adam: [00:16:39] Right. Absolutely. That’s not uncommon at all, but to me it’s also a piece of a puzzle too, so it can have an effect that we don’t even see at times, which is interesting. Then, for question number three, what are you excited about? You said you’re producing a short video that will demo the work of the organization that’s geared towards the North American audience and you’re going to take that video, cut it up into smaller clips and then use those clips distributed out across your social networks to increase awareness and continue to tell your story from different angles. Does it sound like I summarized everything correctly?

Adele: [00:17:14] Yes. The only other thing that we have that I’m particularly excited about is that we have a new campaign that we just rolled out a few weeks ago and this really stemmed from a conversation that I had more than fifteen years ago when I was interviewing for the job, when somebody said to me, “I don’t think people want to support organizations that benefit older people.” Now, my background is in gerontological social work, so I said, “I don’t think that that’s true.” I also think that when you take a look at who are these older people in the state of Israel, these are the people who in my mind have done the heavy lifting. These were the people who built the road, taught in the schools and were the engineers, the firefighters, the soldiers, and the professors. I think that those of us who live in the Diaspora (inaudible 00:18:1) Especially now that so many of them are maybe older or they may be frail, they may be needy, may be impoverished. This is a campaign that we’re rolling out, not only on social media, also on our website, and it’s going to be a real challenge to see what’s going to happen, whether people will engage in it. So, we have it not only on our website and on our Facebook page but we also put it in our print media as well, our print newsletter that goes out to people who may not be engaged digitally. We’re going to see what we can do about moving everything into keeping all the moving parts coordinated.

Adam: [00:18:56] That’s great. That’s fantastic. I appreciate your stance on that. I think we definitely need to take care of our older generations. I agree with you. I think people do want to give when we tell the story well and I think what you just did tells the story very, very well. I think that’s fantastic. Adele, do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share with our audience related to digital marketing or otherwise?

Adele: [00:19:20] All I could say is just don’t be afraid to test it out, just see what works. I think the key piece in terms of Facebook or Instagram marketing is the number of shares. That’s the most important thing. Not necessarily the number of likes or the number of comments, but the number of shares is really key.

Adam: [00:19:44] That’s right. If people share content, they’re invested in it at that point. They’re putting their name on it in a sense. I like that. I like that. Well, Adele, this has been great. I really appreciate you taking the time to join me on the show today and I hope you have a good rest of your day.

Adele: [00:19:59] Thank you, Adam. Thank you very much.

Adam: [00:20:04] Thanks for listening to the Good People, Good Marketing Podcast. To get more resources about digital marketing, make sure to go to goodpeoplegoodmarketing.com where you can find more podcasts, blogs, and other fun resources. Also, if you want to find me, your host, you can find me on Twitter @ajwalker and on my blog at adamjwalker.com, where I blog about leadership productivity, habit building, and the craziness of having five kids. Thanks, and tune in next time.



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