In this three-part series, we highlight some of the ways CiviCRM can be used to enhance your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. Part One explains how to use CiviCRM to promote and accept honorary donations. Part Two explains how to use CiviCRM Campaigns to organize and report across your fundraising methods.
All great carpenters know, “Measure twice, cut once.” The same applies to your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. Rather than sending fundraising appeals out willy-nilly, find out what inspires your target audience to give. With A/B email testing, you remove the guesswork from your email marketing strategy. Let your audience tell you what most inspires them to take a trip to your nonprofit’s donation page.
What is A/B Testing?
You send emails because you want your community to take action, right? A/B testing is a way to determine how effective your email messages are at inspiring engagement. An A/B, or split, testing tool will allow you to send two different emails to a random sampling of your contacts. All contacts not included in either random grouping will then automatically receive the message that performed best.
Before completely re-evaluate your messaging, A/B testing allows you to take a look at what kind of impact small changes to your communications will make. Thankfully, for CiviCRM users it’s easy to run this analysis.
Email Testing with CiviCRM
Start testing your communications by going to Mailings > New A/B Test. The CiviCRM process allows you to test three things:
- Different “Subject” lines
- Different “From” lines
- Entirely different emails
Once you add a name to your test and determine your test type, the next screen will allow you to customize your distribution. With the slider you can select what percentage of recipients will receive Test Mailing A and Test Mailing B.
List size is important. We recommend having at least 1,000 contacts in your group so your results and analysis are statistically significant. The smaller the list, the larger percentage of your contacts will need to receive Test A and Test B.
In the next screen you will create your email message. If you chose to test the email subject line, you will see two subject lines on the screen and one message area.
Just like other CiviMailings, you will be able to preview and send yourself and team members a test of the message before submitting the mailing.
After you have reviewed and tested your message, the final step will be to submit your mailing.
Note: If you chose to test an entirely different mailing, you will see an additional step in the process.
After choosing your group and mailing distribution, you will be prompted to compose two different messages. Using this option can be a great way to test imagery, your opening sentence, or the style and language of your calls to action.
The more different your messages are, the more difficult it will be to compare your email strategies and understand what made one message more effective than another. We recommend making smaller, more subtle changes that will allow you to truly compare and understand your final results.
Of course emails aren’t the only thing that matter. Your final donation form matters as much, if not more! We can help you with that too. Learn about the anatomy of an effective nonprofit donation page and how to improve your donation page for year-end gifts.
- Case Study: How One Simple Online Form Changed the Way a Human-Services Nonprofit Works - November 16, 2018
- Case Study: What YouthBuild USA Learned from Completing a CiviCRM System Evaluation - November 16, 2018
- Mission: Graduate Shares Five Email Marketing Tips - October 25, 2018