Best practices are only best practices for you when they produce the desired results. Rather than trust industry best practices or your intuition, test several options with your audience and continue to refine based on the outcomes. If you have an idea and you’re not sure it will work, test it out with a control version. The results don’t lie. Strive for RELEVANCE. Personalize the subject line or salutation, change the layout to look more like an email coming directly from the inbox of the president of your organization, shorten your copy, improve your Ask, provide an INCENTIVE for signing up, eliminate FRICTION in giving. Test, test, test, and trust your results to inform what you send in the future.
Adequacy is the Enemy of Excellence
?These lessons apply to more than just email. If your website, email or direct mail program produces lackluster results, find your way out of the status quo by applying the science of optimization. Consider the conversation you wish to create in the minds of your donors and prospects and apply that to every type of campaign you pursue. The best place to start is by taking off your nonprofit hat and getting inside your constituents’ minds to really examine the messages you’re sending. And then, once you know, do something about it. It could be as simple as changing the way that you structure the OFFER by presenting something that represents value to them. Or improving the RELEVANCE of the offer and mitigating some of the ANXIETY associated with taking the next step. Remember, optimization doesn’t happen on the page — it happens in the mind.
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