Man getting email notification on iphone

Connecting web behavior to email messaging

Experts in OMC and the Office of Advancement are working together to re-engage potential donors who visit Ohio State’s giving sites but close their browsers before making a contribution — bringing a best practice that is commonly used in retail marketing to higher education.

For the past six months, we have used Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Google Analytics to identify potential donors based on web behavior data and use it for targeting purposes. Users who visited giving pages without taking action (making a donation) received a relevant email two hours after navigating away. These emails warmly encouraged potential donors to complete their gift. 

The results of this work were significant: Those who received an email follow-up were 23% more likely to complete their gift than those who did not.

What's next?

As we further develop this practice, we have opportunities to understand which messages motivate our audiences to action. 

Using web behavior to inform email targeting opens many other possibilities for sending relevant, automated messages to audiences beyond donors, using both email and text messaging capabilities. For example, we can use this to: 

  • Personalize prospective student emails with additional information related to their interests (based on browsing history including majors, regional campus information, financial aid, campus life, etc.) 
  • Text alumni to encourage registration for events they view. 

In the coming year, we will continue to optimize this work with donors while seeking additional partners to develop this best practice. This capability is one of the many ways we customize our marketing efforts to resonate with Buckeyes and drive choice for Ohio State. 

Infographic showing a flowchart, from left to right: Leaving giving site without making a gift, then two hours pass, then a donation appeal email is sent to encourage completion of gift, and finally there is a 23% more likely to donate after receiving email