Sat, February 10 2007

Guest star blogger Carey Paris on how to double response rates

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   How to improve emails and newsletters •

I was reading an email bulletin from nonprofit marketer Carey Paris saying some changes he’d made to a nonprofit web site increased donations by 62% and doubled the opt-in list.  So I thought I’d invite him to tell us how.  And he said yes.  Lucky for us.  Really lucky - this is a goldmine of good practices.  I especially like the five-minute rule at the end.  Read on!

careycliffhead

It is so important for non profit websites to focus on lead generation. As The Gilbert E-mail Manifesto states, “A website built around an email strategy is more valuable than a website built around itself.” I couldn’t agree more. It is the only true opportunity we have to build a stronger relationship with our viewers.  Here’s what we did for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation:

1) Placed live animation from LiveFaceOnWeb.com on our newsletter sign up page located here:
Click here to view

2) Reduced the number of form fields to sign up for our newsletter to lessen anxiety. Create a mini sales letter for newsletter sign up.

3) Bullet pointed the highlights of our newsletter.

4) After they submitted their information I added audio and text to make sure they checked their spam folder and looked for our confirmation link, and walked them through how to confirm their email. Click here to view

5) My favorite is the page after they click the confirmation page. I continue to build our relationship with them and thank them for signing up. Click here to view

6) To top it off I set up several autoresponders that welcome them to our website and ask them what we can do to help improve their experience on our website.

Our opt in list more than doubled!! Awesome!!

Opt In List Updates

Never forget that “QUALITY” is always better than “QUANTITY” in your list. If you do not have opt in or double opt in implemented, your open rate is suffering, and you could be violating spam laws.

1) I spent the past month mentioning in our newsletter that we were “scrubbing” our newsletter list for new CAN SPAM ACT laws, and asking our members to verify their email address to meet these standards. (What I was really doing was building a double opt in list of our members)

Our open rate increased by over 60%!

Here is a link to see the difference focusing on “QUALITY” rather than “Quantity”:

PROOF: Click here for results

Donation Page

The most important pages to all of us are the pages leading to the actual donation form. Are you taking advantage of these pages? You should! When they click that donate link you have 3 seconds to sell your foundation. What makes you different? Does your donation form cause anxiety? Do you take that final breath of air, that final approach to really reach out? How well do you say “Thank You” after the donation?

1) After a donation is made I recorded our COO giving a personal thank you for their donation.
Click here to view (Video of her speaking is coming up soon)

2) I created a unique value proposition on our website. We are different from other Alzheimer’s websites, but did our viewers know we were different? I created our UVP as: “The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation Gives More of Your Dollar to Alzheimer’s Research.” and placed it directly above the donate link.
Click here to view

3) Our top awards are located directly next to a visual pie graph that shows the donor where their money is going and to instill confidence that the donation is making a difference.

4) Anyone who donates, randomly, I send them an automatic email that gives them a %50 OFF coupon to several of our affiliate partners. So we have seen some wonderful numbers on the back end from processing the donation and then the follow up affiliate commission sale.

5) There is now an exit traffic pop up on our donation page. If a viewer is on that page and decides to leave they will get a simple pop up that asks them to reconsider leaving with out donating. Some pop up blockers to block this… but it doesn’t bother me, yet. I have seen about 20 extra donations come from this exit pop up. Here is an example. Click this link, after the page loads, close the page and you “should” notice the pop up.
Click here to view

PROOF: Click here for results

Here is our biggest “secret” yet. We implemented a 5 minute rule with our donation department. We call every donor and tell them thank you within 5 minutes or less of their donation. We obtained 3 monthly donations this week alone from just a thank you call. That’s all we say. We didn’t ask for it. We said thank you and told them exactly where their money was going.

Was testing worth our time? You bet.

Above are examples of some of the small changes you might test on your own site. Don’t stop there!

Be Your Mission.

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