Testing fundraising messages

According to an email survey conducted by eROI.com, 37 percent of marketers admitted they do not test their campaigns before launching them, which can lead to vulnerabilities in the effectiveness of the results. One of the most important aspects of ensuring resonance of your message is to test it.

According to Amanda Mallinger Reinartz, product manager at ResultsPlus, the following are best practices on what to test, how to record and report your findings and ultimately, what to do with the results.

* How do you decide what to test? You must first identify the intended audience and call to action of your marketing message. That will help you identify what to measure and how to do it.

Test the minor details to properly gauge resonance and engagement. This includes testing aspects of delivery methods to timing and subject lines. You can test many things, but start with just one.

Establish a timeline for sending email and direct mail marketing pieces and which format will be sent first. This decision should align with the content of the pieces and the call to action.

* How do you record and report test results? Randomly split your intended audience into three subsets. For example, split the audience into groups comprising 5 percent, another 5 percent, and the remaining 90 percent.

Test resonance by assigning slightly different messages to the first two groups. Hold off sending anything to the last group until results are recorded and analyzed.

Record which message receives the greatest desired response rate, whether that is donations, committed volunteer hours, etc.

* What do you do with the results? Once you have identified which message yields the biggest response, send it to the remaining subset. Continue to finesse your messages as recipients share feedback and repeat the process for future marketing efforts.