Four Strategies to Build Interest-based Email Segmentation
Mike Snusz of Blackbaud recently wrote an article that highlights the over-reliance of segmenting messages by donor vs. non-donor. Snusz points out,
When constituents think about your organization, do they really view themselves as a “donor” or “non-donor?” You won’t hear someone say “I’m a non-donor at XYZ Food Bank.”
For many small and mid-sized nonprofits, just reaching a point in which you have enough accurate and accessible data to segment your messages can be a challenge. Segmenting by donor vs. non-donor is often done because it’s one of the few data points available. We’ve previously discussed questions you should consider when determining how and when to segment messages. Segmentation by industry/profession, volunteer activity, age, or how they learned about your organization provides an opportunity for more personal and engaging communication.
Snusz discusses the need to shift to communicating based on volunteer interest. This is the best segmentation because you’ve catered communication directly to the individual regardless of their professional, donation history, and volunteer program. But, how do you reach a point in which you can segment by volunteer interest?
A/B tests can help you determine what messaging and interest groups individuals may want to be apart of. If an audience member consistently opens emails on a particular subject matter and doesn’t open other emails – it is safe to assume that they are interested in those topics.
While Snusz’s promotion of the Luminate Online Marketing is a corporate plug, the concept is very valid. If you send a newsletter-style email and you’re able to see which readers are clicking on specific links, you can get a better sense of their interests. It’s imperative to determine the best way to track their interests in your data management tool.
Ask at the point of sign-up
If you have an email sign-up widget or link on your website, include a question that asks about their interests. This can be open-ended or a multi-select checkbox. Asking at this point helps you determine what types of message your audience may enjoy the most. If you’re not quite ready to start segmenting by interest, you can still add this question – it will help you prepare for this eventual segmentation.
Asking at the point of registration is the easiest, but you can ask at any time. It can be over the course of a phone conversation, an in-person meeting, or an online survey to all audience members. There is no need to be afraid to ask individuals who are already supporting you!
These four tips will help get you on a path to stronger email segmentation. These four links will help get you on a path to stronger knowledge!
- The Guardian published an anonymous article from a nonprofit communications staff that is frustrated with their executive leadership’s refusal to use social media.
- News organizations that are nonprofits have an increasingly vital role in the new industry. Ruth McCambridge of NPQ shares data from a recent Knight Foundation report on the sustainability of this group and discusses the need for local foundation support.
- Fundchat had a thoughtful Twitter chat this week regarding social media and ethic in fundraising.
- In a post with refreshing transparency, Jay Geneske explains how and why the Rockefeller Foundation redesigned their website.