Reid Anderton, a local cyclist, and good friend was soon to set off on a world record breaking cycling event around Australia. His aim was to ride 400km every day for 35 days straight.
But he wasn’t doing it just for fun. Reid wanted to raise money for an aid and development organisation he founded years before. A lot of money. His target was $100,000 but his marketing budget was almost nothing.
To put that in perspective, the previous world record attempt was 3 years earlier and, while successful in setting the record, raised just $20,000.
The organisation, Challenge for Change, is small and has a limited donor base in a crowded market. To raise the sort of money Reid was aiming for would require a new approach.
We decided we had to reach new donors through new channels. Due to the limited budget, the obvious choice was through social media and other online channels.
Whilst Eagles Wings (the parent aid organisation) already had a Facebook presence, the following was minimal (~300 likes). There was no presence on Twitter and a fairly static website.
I put in place a strategy that focused on four key areas:
- Increasing reach on Facebook to both grow followers, spread the story of the unfolding record attempt and in doing so broaden the base for donations
- Infiltrate other social communities focused on cycling (especially Strava) to highlight the ride and encourage local involvement
- Provide an online progress update map using a live feed from an on-board GPS system to maintain interest and excitement
- Deliver targeted emails on ride progress and the reasons for the ride to the current subscriber list – and encourage sign up to the email list through other channels and events
The content was similar across all channels (including the website) and consisted of daily blog posts, more regular posts on other channels, lots of photos and videos of the attempt and the cause, and community building to encourage conversation about the event outside of the immediate community.
I designed the strategy for the event and took the lead in executing on it during the ride. Co-ordinating the team of people involved in posting and generating content as well as measuring success of campaigns along the way and tweaking as we went.
Reid broke the world record in 37 days, 1 hour and 18 minutes. More importantly we raised $120,000 to help educate vulnerable children in one of the poorest parts of the world.
Some other stats of interest:
- Facebook followers tripled during the ride
- Facebook reach went from 900 at the start of the ride to 30,000 towards the finish
- The Strava community following the event totaled 500 people – from a standing start – with Reid showcased in the Specialized Spring Classic challenge
- Email subscriptions doubled during the ride – with ongoing benefits to the organisation