We work with organizations to help them build and engage their audience to raise millions of dollars.
This, of course, is what direct marketing is all about.
Besides cultural challenges, marketing technology is probably the biggest variable that helps or hinders our ability to move the needle. We constantly search for new, effective, affordable marketing technology on the market. And, we look broadly, focusing on what nonprofit and commercial marketers (like retailers and packaged goods companies) are using. We've recently discovered several tools that power amazing techniques and creative eye popping lifts in performance.
Remember that old question, "What's the best day to send email?" Forget it.
Imagine two prospective donors/activists/volunteers (we'll call them supporters) on your list. Jamie is 25, lives in New York City, and reads his email on the way to work while he rides the subway. Helen is 45, lives in Sandusky, OH and checks her email every night after she gets her three kids into bed. Clearly these two supporters consume information and offers on THEIR schedules, not the schedules of marketers (like you and I) who are trying to get in front of them.
Most nonprofits are missing their chance to meet these supporters where they are.
If you're like most marketers you probably send an email message to all of your supporters at the same time. If you sent your email at 11 AM to the two supporters described above, your message is highly likely to be at the bottom of both of their email inboxes. BUT, what if you could get in front of each of them when they reading email? Well, a number of email providers are tracking these open times for each supporter for you. So, when you press send, they would send the email messages to each person when they are most likely to be reading your email. Jamie gets his around 8AM and Helen gets hers at 8PM.
Here's the alternative: Best Time of Day Mailing.
Many commercial email platforms have introduced a tool that solves this problem. Over time, they develop a profile on Jamie and Helen based on when they open and click on email messages. They do this across many of their clients, so they can see when Jamie opens messages from Company X and Company Y. Based on this profile, they send email to Jamie when he's most likely to open it. This tactic, while not perfect, has been shown to generate real, positive results.
What kind of results?
One email platform (Silverpop) that caters to retailers and a few nonprofits has had this feature for years. They report client seeing massive gains (like 20% open rate, 30% click rate, and 75% revenue increases). Anecdotally, we've seen an international relief nonprofit reporting almost 5% lift overnight on their email appeals for donations. Simply from making this change.
Where can I get this?
Silverpop is one platform that has it. Lots of the other big guys do, too. At the cheaper end of the market, Mailchimp has also built a send time optimization feature that does nearly the same thing. The main difference is that the send time Mailchimp suggests is based on a weighted average of the engagement timing of everyone on your list, rather than the delivery time being caluclated for each individual.
The last time we checked, Luminate, Engaging Networks, Blue State Digital, and Salsa don't have this feature. We would love them to consider adding this feature to the mix. If you're a client of theirs, why not forward them this post and ask?
Are you using send time optimization? Share with us how it's improving (or not!) your results. What email platform are you using?