It’s Always Good to Test the Water

Before you take the plunge and dive into your marketing messages, it’s always good to test the waters first. Nonprofit Times recently posted advice on their website from one of ResultsPlus’ product managers, Amanda Mallinger Reinartz, which describes the importance of testing fundraising marketing messages. The blog post also offers best practices on what to test, how to record your findings and ultimately, what to do with the results.

In the article “Testing Fundraising Marketing Messages,” Amanda shares that 37 percent of all e-marketers have admitted to not testing their email campaigns before launching them, which can lead to vulnerabilities in the effectiveness of the results. To avoid this, Amanda provides guidance on identifying your audience, testing resonance and engagement and finessing your message.

  • How do you decide what to test? Direct marketers test envelopes vs. electronic mail, stamps vs. metering, labels vs. windows, etc. The list goes on to include aspects of emails such as subject lines, time of delivery and message wording. The key thing to remember is the goal is to identify which variation provides the best percentage of engagement.
  • Delivery method also matters. Should it be direct mail, email, or a tweet? These are questions your fundraising software cannot directly answer, but testing your messages may help provide the answers.
  • How do you record and report test results? Recording test results and subsequent analysis is where fundraising and donor management software can assist and benefit you. The key is to ensure you’ve identified the data necessary for analysis.
  • You might also want to segment the appeals with specific codes, test group “A” has appeal “X”, and so forth. Use your CRM software’s built-in tools and reports to inform and guide your efforts. Then, review the reports already available in the system for campaign and appeal analysis. Use the winning test as part of your message to your target group.