3 tips for email testing at nonprofits

July 25, 2013

3 tips for email testing at nonprofits

One of the most trusted methods that nonprofits have to relay a message to their followers, donors and vendors is through email. It's becoming increasingly important to master communication on the online channel, as one bad email could get the organization's messages sent to the Spam folder. Marketers at nonprofits should learn how to test their email campaigns to maximize the potential of the marketing strategy. Liz Gould, director of strategic accounts and cross-channel marketing at Experian Marketing Services told BtoB magazine some of the strategies organizations should try when figuring out what works in their email campaigns:

Get the whole nonprofit involved
One of the best things about testing is that marketers are willing to try new things and take a few risks with some members of the nonprofit's email list. This is why Gould thinks it's important to get stakeholders working together on different initiatives that could potentially help the organization gain a greater following or bring in more funds.

"Just doing testing without having a plan of action won't help you a lot," she told the magazine. "Sometimes creative teams don't want to go forward and utilize results."

Test large groups
Nonprofits often have massive mailing lists with hundreds or even thousands of email addresses. Marketers need to use their mailing lists to their advantage as they want to see what kind of results different messages will achieve.  Sending emails to big testing groups will help the organization understand which strategies work and which should never be used again.

According to MediaPost Communications, these insights can often be available in a matter of hours. Email marketing analytics solutions can provide information like open and click-through rates, which can help marketers at nonprofits understand whether  emails that are being viewed and if links embedded in them are being clicked on. The more quickly marketers can learn what emails are working, the sooner they can send out messages that have a better chance of success with their donors, prospective givers and other followers.

Don't stop after testing once
Nonprofits that find success with their email initiatives must understand that they need to continue to try to improve the number of recipients opening their messages and visiting their websites. Gould stressed that it's imperative to keep testing and know that even if something worked once, it may not be effective for every email. Many Americans want to see fresh, new strategies that draw them to become invested in a nonprofit, and using the same message over time may lead to people having less respect for the organization.

Nonprofits should also make sure to discuss all the good things that are being done by the organization and allow donors to understand what their money is contributing to. Transparency is one of the most important factors in marketing at nonprofits.

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