How to Coordinate Your Email Fundraising with Direct Mail

efundraising with direct mailEmail fundraising is not something that only the professional fundraisers can do to raise funds. Even a newbie fundraiser can do such if he/she knows the secrets of this campaign. Just like any Internet business marketing promotion, targeting a hungry niche is of topmost importance otherwise, you will be wasting your time because all your mails will be instantly deleted. Here are some tips:

 1. Customize your email  – Do not send a “one-size-fits-all” email to all your targets. This is an instant turn off because people will just know it when the mail is not really for them. Take your time to create a customized email for the specific niche that you are sending it to. Generic email is a sign that you are being lazy and believe me, people can sense it.

 2. List quality is very important – It is common knowledge among professional fundraisers that paid addresses will always perform less than those gathered organically (e.g., if the donor gave you’re their email address). Although it’s not a totally bad idea to have paid addresses, you should make it your aim to have more organic addresses than paid ones.

 3. Don’t overlook your landing page – It is often said in SEO communities that you have to treat all parts of your website as a landing page because you don’t know where a prospect will land when following a link. You can bring a visitor to your site but if it is not optimized to convert them to donate, you will be missing a lot of opportunities there.

 4. Don’t just ask for money – Again this is an automatic turn off. People will not just give their money without knowing the value of what you are trying to do. Before you send a solicitation email, make sure that you already have sent at least two that tells a compelling success story, something that recognizes the donors and volunteers and similar things.

 5. Personalize your email – With all the information available online, there is no reason that your donor should receive a “Dear Donor” type of mail. Generic or a one-size-fits-all kind of mail will easily find its way to the recycle bin and that is why you need to personalize it. Put the name of the donor in your opening remarks and it is even better if you can tailor the asked amounts based on the giving history of each of your donor.

If you are trying to win a non-supporter, send a customized email designed to welcome them to your cause and to introduce them to your core programs. This can be accomplished through compelling story contents which will convert them to donors in no time.

Email fundraising has its own downside but following the tips provided above will greatly improve your batting average and of course, donations will increase too. Although email fundraising is not rocket science, you don’t have to take it lightly to the point that nobody believes you at all.

Please like & share this blog post:

10 Tips for Successful and Effective Internet Marketing #5-6

In this third of five blog posts, I’m providing you with 10 Internet Marketing Ideas that will help you be successful online.  Some are practical, some are philosophical, but they are all intended to help you be more successful with your small business marketing strategies. Here are numbers five and six:

5.    CALCULATE YOUR LIFETIME VALUE STATS – In this sales instance above, you need to factor in “Lifetime Value” of each customer that you make.  “Lifetime Value” alludes to the fact that your first time customer may conduct more than just one business transaction with you over time.  The “real money” may not be in the initial sale from them, but rather in upgrades, up-sells or repeat business for other products or services that you have to offer.  With Lifetime Value being considered, a 100% return in sales on your ad prospecting dollar might be considered an excellent investment given the long term rate of return.  That being said, you need to calculate your lifetime value metrics to know how many “sales” or leads you need to make to allow you to make your advertising work. For some businesses, it’s 85% of your ad prospecting dollar, for others it’s 100%, for some others 150%.

6.    GRASP THE LANDING PAGE CONCEPT- The objective of e-mails and banners is to get qualified potential customers to visit your Landing Page.  Once that happens, the burden of responsibility shifts to your website. It’s at the Landing Page that visitors are converted to leads or sales.  The key here is very simple – if your Landing Page is “broken” don’t blame the Advertiser!  Your goal, is to create a Landing Page that works hard to convert qualified traffic into company assets…it needs to motivate the visitor to follow through on what got them there in the first place. Think of your advertising as making the sale, and your landing page as closing the sale. The #1 most important thing you can do for your advertising plan is make sure your landing page(s) work.

For further internet marketing ideas, or tips for fundraising professionals, visit Pathmaker Marketing, or call Randall Mains direct at 623-322-3334.

Please like & share this blog post:

Develop your Email Fundraising and Online Marketing Tools

The primary goal of your email fundraising is to raise gifts or sell products, not deliver ministry (that’s what your e-newsletter does). E-fundraising is an entire course in itself that fundraising professionals like Pathmaker Marketing teach, but when done effectively, it can become an monthly income-producing channel for your ministry that might even rival your direct mail and telephone fundraising efforts.

But you’re not ready to do e-appeals until you’ve properly introduced your new found friends to your ministry. Once they know who you are and what you stand for, then you can begin implementing fundraising for nonprofits and begin requesting their support for your worthy causes.

In general, the basic components of any email solicitation include your Subject Line, your message in HTML and/or text, and your Landing Page.

The primary goal of your Subject Line is to get your emails opened. The primary goal of your email is to get click-through traffic to your Landing Page. And the primary goal of your Landing Page is to get conversions on your offer (i.e., gifts or sales, leads, list signups, etc). Each component has a specific goal, but they must all work together harmoniously to produce effective results. 

There are different schools of thought on basic email fundraising strategies like: short email to long landing page, or long email to short landing page, but to determine what works best with your constituents, you just need to test, test and continue testing.

In addition, there’s the landing page process of effective internet marketing, which brings to mind the importance of your understanding of landing page conversion protocol. This subject is a big one and we’re only touching its surface today, but to show you how advanced you can become in this arena, here’s a patented formula I use to improve landing page conversion:

Landing Page Conversion = 4m+3v+2(i-f)-2a
M= the user’s motivation; v= clarity of the value proposition; i=incentive to take action; f=friction elements of the process; a=anxiety about entering information. Proper use of this formula from the Marketing Experiments Corp. can significantly improve your landing page conversions.

The formula basically says that the greatest weight in the conversion process is given to the motivation of the donor to support your cause, followed by the strength of your value proposition, followed by your incentive less the friction of your checkout process, less the anxiety that the donor feels about doing business with you online.  Three factors can improve your conversion rates, while two factors can decrease them.

For more assistance with your email fundraising, contact Pathmaker Marketing at this webpage, or call us today at 1-623-322-3334. Or IM with us via Skype or Yahoo at pathmaker.marketing 

Please like & share this blog post:

Email Fundraising Case Study: Blasting to Splits and Non-opens

I wanted to present you with a GENERAL analysis of one client’s current email fundraising results to assess the effectiveness of re-marketing splits and re-blasting to non-openers.

I’ll present a fuller analysis later after I analyze every single motive code.

In this case a three-way Split Test was developed (three different creatives) and run out to three 7% random sampling of the master file (no overlapping names).  The strategy was short cause email to long cause landing page (A), long cause email to short cause landing page (B), and short premium offer to short premium landing page – no cause (C). The blasting process then unfolded as shown below:

June 18 Split Test (A,B,C) = 36 gifts for $2897 from June 18-21.
A had 11.6% Opens, 22% Clicks, 6% gift conversions of 14 for $1,150 total
B had 11.2% Opens, 10.5% Clicks, 12.6% gift conversions of 13 for $1,555 total
C had 9.9% Opens, 19% Clicks, 7.7% gift conversions of 12 for $680 total
Based of these numbers we executed the following schedule of blasts:

June 22 Full Blast to B = 114 gifts for $8905 from June 22-23
June 24 Re-blast of B to Non-opens = 68 gifts for $4615 from June 24-28
June 29 Full Blast to A = 86 gifts for $6444
July 1 Re-blast of A to Non-opens = 75 gifts for $5503

Total Campaign (gifts still coming in) = 379 gifts for $28,364

Many of the details and nuances I have excluded from this post in order to display these general results that convey various blasting points re-fundraising for non profits.

Ranked by dollars given
$8905 from “winning” B Full Blast (114 gifts)
$6444 from “losing” A Full Blast (86 gifts)
$5503 from “losing” A Re-blast to Non-opens (75 gifts)
$4615 from “winning” B Re-blast to Non-opens (68 gifts)

Analysis of “Winning” version vs “Losing” version blasting
“Winning” B version of the eAppeal: $13,520 from 182 gifts
“Losing” A version of the eAppeal: $11,947 from 161 gifts

Remember, this is a first blush analysis, but it illustrates the point in general WHY it’s often meritorious to send both split test versions of your email fundraising efforts. If we had NOT sent the “LOSING” version, we would have FORGONE $12,000 in income from 161 givers.

Analysis of First Blast vs Re-blasts to Non-opens
First Blasts = $15,349 from 200 gifts
Re-blasts to Non-opens = $10,118 from 143 gifts

Same disclaimer here, but it illustrates the point WHY it’s often meritorious to send to non-openers. If we had NOT sent to Non-opens we would have FORGONE $10,000 in income from 143 givers.

Crazy idea:
If we HAD NOT SENT the “LOSING” version NOR SENT to Non-opens, we would have RAISED $11,802 from 150 givers and FORGONE $16,562 from 229 givers.

These are real time online fund raising results that have occurred during June 2009, also showing that despite the rotten economy, the right offer at the right time with the right executional effort can yield some very substantial results.

If you’d like some help to implement a plan like this, contact Pathmaker Marketing today at 623-322-3334 and we’ll do our best to help your not for profit organizations.

Please like & share this blog post:

Strategic Web Communication Principle #2 of 5 Part 1

Develop your email fundraising and communication tools.

Despite negative press about spamming and phishing, email is still the most prevalent method of communicating with people online. It can become your chief method for delivering your messages, to both old friends and new. And email fundraising is one of the most proven ways to monetize your email marketing assets.

The key to building a permission-based opt-in email list is to figure out what you can provide in exchange for names and email addresses. Once you have your strategy devised, you’ll begin to establish a list that nurtures your current relationships while developing new ones. Some examples of potential incentives that people might sign up for include daily devotionals, weekly sermons, topical e-newsletters, special premiums, prayer, discount coupons, downloads, welcome kits, and so on.

Usually in email fundraising, your primary e-newsletter can be the vehicle for getting this process started. The goal is to build your email list by providing a way for people to begin interacting with you while you minister to them. The e-newsletter can be your core ingredient, to be complemented by other ideas that enhance the offer. In either case, this whole process must be incentive based. People need some kind of compelling reason for reading your e-newsletter, whether it’s unique content or discount coupons for your products.

Here are some examples of ministry newsletters:

Hungry Souls
Sermon-Coach

Inside Scoop: If you send your e-newsletter via email, publish it online also. Many people can’t read email on their systems, but if you provide a quick link they can click to reach your site, they can read your newsletter there.

Something worth mentioning here: It’s important to never send emails to people who haven’t opted in. If you do, you’ll most likely be identified as a spammer-and may even lose your ability to email at all. You need to post your privacy policy on your website and stick to it. Avoid selling or renting your list to others, no matter how great the offer.
(Quick aside: Instead of sharing your lists, consider taking advertisers in your e-newsletters.)

Practical Tip #1: Develop an incentive-based email offer page.
Identify what you’re already doing that can become an e-newsletter opportunity. The key is a good landing page-a page that people click to from the email. The landing page should repeat the offer, go into more detail, and convince people to do whatever it is you’re asking. It should answer the visitor’s question: What’s in it for me?

Salem provides an excellent example of getting people to sign up for newsletters:

Crosswalk.com

Look at all the e-newsletters to which you could opt in — they’re currently offering 67 different newsletters! Each time someone opts in to one of them, Salem collects an email address, which they then use to provide online ministry that enhances their existing relationships while establishing new ones. In addition, they can communicate with these e-newsletter names on additional matters.

Here’s other examples of good landing page with an incentive-based offer from the Presidential Prayer Team:
Jewish Voice:
Villages at Country Club:

The Presidential Prayer Team wants people to join their prayer team for free. This landing page conveys all the benefits of being a member, including prayers that can be used immediately. Once people become members, then PPT emails them a newsletter every week, complete with content to help in praying. PPT also sends regular online fundraising appeals. But their first step was to figure out why people would want to become members and then making the case to convince them to join.

If you have a sales-based or online email fundraising newsletter, at the very least you need to offer discount coupons, or free gifts. Research shows that discount offers are the #1 reason why many women sign up for e-newsletters. This could be a very effective non profit marketing tool for your organization.

If you need help in this area, contact Pathmaker and we can assist you in getting your incentive-based email offer page setup.

Please like & share this blog post:

Best Practices for Landing Page Optimization

I recently came back from the Marketing SHERPA conference in Miami, Florida. I would recommend the conference to anyone who wants to train in email fundraising, non profit marketing, landing page optimization, etc.  It’s full of actionable data and healthy networking for email fundraising.

Some of the top take away’s that were presented at the conference include a seminar by Flint McLaughlin, Director of Marketing Experiments on landing page optimization. In his session he conveyed the following:

Top 3 questions to ask yourself when building or improving any landing page are:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What am I supposed to do?
  3. Why should I do it?

Getting clear answers to those questions will help you improve your landing pages, whether you are in non profit fundraising, marketing or a commercial business. In addition, here are four other questions you should ask yourself, in order to construct the most effective landing pages:

  1. Why should my ideal prospect purchase from me rather than any of my competitors?
  2. How can I streamline all the elements in my sales path?
  3. How can I counter any psychological resistance to the sale with extra incentives?
  4. How can I correct any elements which cause concern in my sale path?

McLaughlin’s session also centered are the concept of value contributors (VC) versus value inhibitors (VI). This is a golden-nugget summary of his complete training course on the same topic. The basic goal to optimization of any landing page is to have your value contributors outweigh your value inhibitors.  An example is the photo here.

VI/VC

More specifically, value contributors include factors like your value proposition and your incentives. Value inhibitors include user friction caused by over lengthy or unwieldy forms and fundamental anxiety toward the sale. VCs increase conversions. VIs reduce them.

Since people come to landing pages for various reasons, so your offer should be clearly presented, and your form questions minimized to those only absolutely necessary, while including incentives to outweigh any anxiety someone feels toward the sale. Too many form fields can cause friction (concern that it will take too long to complete), and overly invasive questions can cause tension (Why do they need this data?, What are they going to do with it? Why do they want my annual income?), which leads to abandonment.  Keep your forms streamlined to the core essentials.

Some final thoughts: Site Visitors can often be thinking…

“Is this legit?” Some effective ways to make them feel more confident is by offering helpful information to reassure them…let them know how long you have been established in business, or what credible institutes endorse your company (Better Business Bureau).

“Is it secure?” Be sure to offer a safe and secure purchasing environment for your customers. Your customers want to know that any information they provide you is uncompromised. Mitigate against anxiety by over-compensating in this part of your landing page…subscribe to and include HackerSafe or Verisign logos, etc. to assuage any concerns about safety.

For more in depth training on the subject of optimizing landing pages for non profit fund raising, look for material by Flint McGlaughlin, Director of MECLABS, Director of Enterprise Research at the University of Cambridge, and the Pastor of The Beaches Vineyard Fellowship. http://www.flintmcglaughlin.com

Please like & share this blog post:
Get Notified When a New Blog is Posted!
CLOSE
Get Notified Each Time We Post a New Blog
CLOSE

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)