Message testing the cost-effective way

in Acquisition & Prospecting,Marketing for Nonprofits,Online Fundraising

Goal: To know before mailing that your message and offer will inspire donors to give.

That’s what I bet you would love to experience with each direct mail campaign and email appeal – whether it’s acquisition or renewal.

“Know” before you mail. Online testing gives you “magical insights” so your direct mail and email appeals get higher response

There’s a cost-effective way to do just that.

There’s a way to increase the odds dramatically that your direct mail letters, phone appeals, and email appeals will be more successful because you’ve already tested the key messaging and the offer.

What is this cost-effective testing?

Google Adwords and social media are two great testing grounds. And the secret to making this approach most beneficial to the amount you raise is this: Make certain the copy you test is donor-centric.

Google Adwords

If you haven’t yet applied for a Google Grant for Adwords, do it now. It is a simple process compared to other grant applications. Basically the cost of your campaigns is free. You invest the time to set up the campaigns and manage it, but the advertising costs are covered by the grant.

[NOTE: I can’t emphasize enough the value to your nonprofit to out-source the building and managing of the campaign to a professional … unless someone on your staff is an experienced Adwords pro. I can make a recommendation if you want to contact me.]

The ads and their corresponding landing pages are powerful ways to test BEFORE you invest in your direct mail or email campaigns. This can also give you insight into scripts for integrated telemarketing campaigns.

I interviewed the author of Google Adwords for Dummies on this topic. View my video interview of nonprofits testing with Google Adwords here.

Social Media

Use your Tweets, Facebook updates, YouTube videos and more to reach out and test what gets people’s attention enough to get a response. In social media you won’t always be testing to get a donation.

Finding topics and ways to talk about topics that gets a response (starts conversations; votes in online polls; sharing; etc.) is terrific insight.

You can also test images via YouTube (nonprofit video sample), and Flickr slideshows.

Two things you MUST do when using social media for this testing or anytime:

1 – Send donor-centric messages and calls-to-action

2 – Every update cannot be a plea for a donation. In fact, the majority should NOT be requests for support because if you do followers will tune you out faster than greased lightning.

Today’s environment demands smart nonprofit marketing. Your campaigns have to be integrated in multiple channels such as direct mail, email, telemarketing, social media, video, your website, mobile, etc.

Plus it includes making the most of every dollar spent to acquire donors and to raise funds. Testing your offer and key messaging with Google Adwords and social media before rolling out big campaigns is a cost-effective way to stretch your budget. And you’ll enjoy higher response with your direct mail and email.

Another related post: Donor Acquisition – Lessons Learned

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