Haul out the Holly – Winning Holiday Fundraising Strategies

, Friday, October 10th, 2014

My colleague Jen and I recently presented a webinar entitled “The Top Five Principles: What successful non-profits know about holiday fundraising.”

We haven’t even broken out the Halloween candy yet, but many non-profits are already highly focused on year end fundraising and with very good reason. Almost 50 percent of our clients’ digital fundraising dollars are realized in November and December.

The presentation covered what we consider to be the top five principles the nation’s best digital fundraisers practice to ensure a prosperous holiday season. What do we see differentiating the best from the rest?

  1. Preparation – set goals, strategies, KPI’s
  2. Activation – define segmentation, use conditional content, optimize donor form
  3. Acquisition – use of paid search and display to find qualified donors
  4. Testing  – conduct A/B, multivariate, pre-flight tests
  5.  Measurement – leverage donor dashboards, google analytics, lifetime value

The webinar includes some high-performing creative examples and multiple tips that you can put into practice today.

What are the head scratching questions your organization is grappling with this season?  Let us know and we’ll give you our best answer.

We’re hiring! Beaconfire is searching for a marketing-savvy digital client manager to join our award-winning team. Apply today.

Want a 66% Lift On Your Action Rates?

, Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Today everyone is busy and impatient. A study from University of Massachusetts Amherst found the average user will give a video two seconds to load before ditching it. Organizations trying to engage users through e-mail face the same challenge. Each time a user has to make the conscious decision to take action it reduces the likelihood they will ultimately do so. Every click matters.

Our job as online organizers is not only to tell a compelling story to engage supporters on an issue, but give them the most frictionless path for taking action.

The typical e-mail campaign requires that your supporters take 3 distinct actions.

1. Be invested enough in your organization and the subject to open and read your e-mail.
2. Be motivated enough by your copy to click a link.
3. Care enough about the issue to complete your landing page form and click submit.

What if I told you we could cut out a step? Think it would have a big impact on your campaign’s action rates? Guess what? We can and it did!

EmailOn a recent Feeding America advocacy campaign, we were able to use Convio’s action APIs and some creative e-mail design to give active supporters a two-step process.

1. Be invested enough in Feeding America and the subject to open and read the e-mail.
2. Be motivated enough by the copy to submit the form directly from the e-mail body.
3. [nothing else]

Yes, that’s right. Supporters who have previously taken action with Feeding America were able to view and complete the landing page form directly from the e-mail. We assumed that this would have a big impact on the campaign, however, we like to test all of our assumptions and ran this campaign as a 50/50 split test. The result was overwhelming. The two-step campaign outperformed the control (three-step) campaign by 66%.

That’s a tremendous lift for such a small change. We’re still digging into the test data, but in my opinion there were two factors at play here. One is the reduction of friction. By removing the landing page step, Feeding America essentially turned every click into an action. It eliminates the typical drop you’ll see from your Click Rate to your Action Rate. However, that alone can’t entirely account for a 66% lift. In my opinion the other driver of the lift was the visual cue supporters got by actually seeing the landing page form in the body of the e-mail. It is more eye catching and engaging than even the best worded hyperlink text could be.

We’re going to continue to test out this capability and will undoubtedly learn more along the way, so stay tuned for further updates. In the meantime, if you are interested in trying out a two-step action with your list, contact us and we’ll be happy to talk through how we can leverage this ability to increase your action rates as well.



How do you get to SXSW?

, Thursday, September 4th, 2014

… Practice, Practice, Practice. And then some.

(That’s our very own Kesah Schmitt up there, prepping for her SXSW 2012 session)

Getting selected to speak at SXSW Interactive takes a great topic, great speakers, and and a little help from your friends. Every year, SXSW asks the community to help choose which content will be featured at the show in March by voting for their favorite topics in the notorious Panel Picker. Which brings us to the task at hand!

We have two awesome sessions proposed for SXSW 2015 that could use some love from you, our nearest and dearest. If you would do us the honor of giving a thumbs up for these talks and maybe add a comment or two about how awesome the idea is, we would be eternally grateful. If you’ve never voted before, you will need to create an account first but it will be SO worth it when you are sitting in the front row of one of these great sessions:

Is Social Good The Next Killer App?
Something sexy happened at SxSW 2014 that didn’t involve Lady GaGa: an unprecedented number of do-gooding Geekerati showed up, wanting to change the world. So has social good become the next killer app, or just the latest trend to generate lots of hype but little impact?. Are we making any true progress towards actually solving the most challenging problems facing the world? It’s time to put SxSW to work doing what it does best: leading industry innovation, for good.

UI Elements that Need to be Pushed Down the Stairs
Interface elements like overlays, dropdowns, carousels and accordions are several of a web designer’s de-facto tools. However, in the age of responsive design, it’s time to re-imagine some of these design patterns. Bridging the concerns of users and devices, this workshop will explore how traditional UI patterns can wreak havoc on the modern web and what you can do about it.

voteSince SXSW 2010, Beaconfire has had 10 sessions (featuring 7 different staff members) selected – will you help us keep our streak going? Voting closes at Midnight Friday, September 5th so vote before you head out for the weekend and we know you’ll have a super amazing one. The accepted sessions will be revealed mid October, and we’d love to add your name to our acceptance speech!

What came first, the Chicken or the Crazy Egg?

, Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

At Beaconfire we love helping clients understand web behavior to best optimize their landing pages, websites and campaigns.  But there are so many analytic tools you can use, and all these numbers can be really overwhelming.  Have no fear – we’re here to help! One tool we wholeheartedly recommend is CrazyEgg (so much so that we are also customers).

You may be thinking “Please, not another analytics tool I need to learn.”  Don’t worry, CrazyEgg is very easy to understand and even easier to implement.  So why the love for CrazyEgg?  First, what makes CrazyEgg unique from other analytics packages is that it will show you ALL click activity on the page (even those that are not links!).  This can help solve usability issues which could be potential roadblocks for conversion and other success measures.  Second, CrazyEgg is more visual and less about the numbers.  This “pictorial” view tells you quickly what is working and what is not.

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