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Plant Your Seeds Carefully – How to use Segmentation to Reach and Inspire your Supporters

by Amanda Foster, Account Manager & Libby Sinback, Account Manager

In our daily lives, we all adjust what we say depending on the people we are talking to. We change our tone and what we say based on what we know about them, what we think might interest them, and what we believe they care to hear.

Smart organizers know that same thing holds true with communicating with supporters. It is no longer a best practice to blast out one big email hoping to engage thousands of supporters at once. That is like dumping thousands of seeds out of an airplane hoping they will grow wherever they land. As any farmer knows, better to plant carefully: pay attention to the soil, climate, season, and a whole host of other factors if you want your seeds to take root.

One way to do that with your supporters is by segmenting your list and targeting your messaging. Segmenting how you communicate with your supporters is critical to getting more people to take action, make a donation, or share with their friends. If you are not segmenting your message, you’re not taking advantage of the knowledge you have about your supporters, and your message is far more likely to be ignored.

So how should you segment your supporter list and tweak the messages that you send folks so that they are more inspired to get involved? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Segmenting 101 – At minimum, segment donors from non-donors. People who are involved with you with their dollars should be getting different messaging from those who aren’t. And people who haven’t donated to your organization should be targeted to make them more likely to get on board.
  • Use Supporter History - Study your supporter’s donation history and create messaging that both meets them where they are and encourages them up the donation ladder. If someone donated $25 as part of your last campaign, they’re not likely to suddenly give $100, so craft a message that stresses the difference that an extra $10-$20 can make.
  • Segment based on Gender, Demographics, or Demonstrated Interest – For example, if someone has taken action on certain campaigns over others, segment these supporters and develop a unique message targeted to their interests.
  • Target your Content – Consider having targeted web content in place to back up your targeted email campaigns. Develop separate campaign landing pages to match the way you’re targeting via e-mail.
  • Test, Test, Test – Create test groups and send to them. Test your subject lines, your lists, even your email templates and graphics. And of course your message. It will take time, but see what trends emerge. Which lists are responsive and which designs/content generate more clickthroughs, etc.?
  • Keep it Simple – Often, people faced with too much information or too many choices feel overwhelmed and lose interest. Don’t crowd your email with too much detail or include multiple calls to action (donate, advocate, join us, and so on). If you provide multiple choices, you will split your conversions or confuse people. Better to focus your message on one thing you want your supporters to do, targeted to what they are most likely to do.
  • Daisy Chain It - If you want your supporters to take multiple actions connected to an issue, make a sequence of actions that logically follow each other. Pick the most important one to start with. So maybe it starts with signing a petition, which redirects to a donation page, or creates an e-mail trigger asking them to volunteer. And asking your supporters to spread the word via Tell-A-Friend pages and social sharing tools is an obvious follow-up action. All of these can be targeted as well.
  • Track your Results – Use tracking codes to collect the source of every donation or new supporter sign-up and cross-check responses against your lists. Revisit and clean-up lists that aren’t delivering results and keep mailing to those with high returns. Tracking helps you figure out what and who is generating returns on your investments, and where the bloat and dead weight is.

Segmentation is a major recipe for success, and luckily, Salsa supporter management tools can help you get there and make this process a lot easier to manage than you might think. Good luck!

Topics: Supporter Management