November 27, 2023
Nonprofit Technology & Fundraising Blog
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You and your team spend countless hours writing the perfect emails to send out to your donors. You’ve chosen your words carefully, found the perfect images to include, and created a call to action your donors can’t say no to. You hit send and then wait… Do a few donations trickle in after a few days? Do you wonder what happened after you hit send? Did your donors open your email, did they get it, or, did the message not resonate with them?
If you’re not looking closely at your results, you’re left in the dark about your email marketing strategy. Fortunately, there are a lot of tools and resources available to help you evaluate your success and improve your outcomes.
Maybe you’re a world-class marketer, or maybe you’re not, but one thing is for sure: following your intuition is not the ideal scenario when it comes to sending an email that your donors will respond to. Knowing the best subject line, call-to-action, or image to choose comes down to testing.
The basics: You send out two different versions of the same email to a portion of your constituent list to see which email brings in better results.
Here are some examples of the variables you can test using A/B testing:
After you’ve decided what email feature or content you are going to test, you then have to decide how you are going to measure the results of your test. For example, if you’re testing a subject line, you may want to look at the email with the highest open rate. Whereas, if you are testing a call to action, look to the email with the highest click-through rate to determine your winner.
Email providers like Constant Contact make it easy to measure data such as click-through rates, open rates, bounces, and unsubscribes. You can even choose to measure two or more campaigns side by side to more easily determine your most successful strategies.
If you’re going to manually run a test, here are the steps you’ll need to take.
DonorPerfect integration partner Constant Contact simplifies this process for you. You can choose the percentage of your donor list that you want to use for testing and how long you want to wait for the results. After Constant Contact calculates the results for you, it will automatically send the winning email to the remainder of your email list.
While A/B testing is a great tool to survey your donors’ preferences, there are additional tools you can use to bolster your results as well.
Segmentation allows you to create tailored messages for targeted audiences. Instead of emailing the same content to your entire donor base, try speaking more directly to small groups and their specific interests and motivations. There are countless ways to divide your donors and create more effective communications.
Get as creative as you want when it comes to portioning out your donor list. Thoughtful segmentation gives you the freedom to tailor ask amounts, calls to action, subject lines, subject matter, style, and all other email elements.
More free articles about email segmentation:
Donors may fall into multiple categories, so make sure each constituent is only included in one email list when you use segmentation. DonorPerfect’s compound filters and its integration with Constant Contact can help ensure you message each donor only one time.
Have you ever used a tool that analyzed your email subject line in hopes it wouldn’t be flagged by spam filters? It’s a great tool to use, but spam filters have gotten a lot more sophisticated than simply looking for words like “free” or “hurry” in the subject line of an email. Now, you have to contend with sender reputations. Here’s a quick list of some of the things that affect your sender reputation:
If you use an email tool, like Constant Contact, they take care of email infrastructure for you. Emails you generate through Constant Contact are sent from their IP address. They also handle sender authentication for you. This determines who can send emails on behalf of your organization and is another important factor in avoiding spam filters.
With this information in hand, it’s a bit easier to identify the steps you can take to keep your reputation above board. Simple things like keeping your data clean and free of invalid or old email addresses can prevent bounced emails. Personalizing your communications and sending targeted messaging to special groups can help reduce unsubscribe rates. Building strong donor relationships by asking for permission to send will also ensure you maintain an excellent sender reputation.
Email fundraising offers one of the best returns on investment, and using these tools can keep improving your results. The more data you collect and maintain through A/B testing and campaign reporting, the more data-driven decisions you can make to support your efforts.
Data-driven decisions are only smart decisions if your data is clean. Download The Clean Data Checklist for Nonprofits to ensure you and your team are working with the right information.