Report from NTC11: Segmenting, Segmenting, Segmenting | npENGAGE

Report from NTC11: Segmenting, Segmenting, Segmenting

By on Mar 18, 2011


Another day, another hallway conversation at Convio – this time about segmenting your e-mail housefile.  In general, segmenting your communications to donors and non-donors is a smart thing to do.  At a minimum, you should be communicating different messages to those who have supported your organization in the past, and those who have yet to make a donation.

You can take it a step further and ask donors to contribute different amounts based on their giving history.  You don’t want to ask someone who has previously given you a $100 gift to donate $25 – you should be moving them up the giving ladder.  Additionally, you can segment your list based on people’s interests – someone who has shown a particular interest in one area of your mission might respond better to appeals that mention that interest.  Or their gender and any other demographic and psychographic data.

But is there such a thing as too much segmentation?  Do you ever hit a wall of diminishing returns?  At some point if you create, say, 35 segments, that translates into real staff time setting up the message, testing each variant, and managing the audience selection.

So I decided to attend the session titled A Scientist in Your Communications Department: Segmenting Messages, Customizing Content, and Delivering Results to see what the latest is on best practices in segmenting.  Here’s what I came away with:

  • Nonprofits have to step up their game because for-profit marketers like Netflix and Amazon are way ahead of us with personalization
  • Every time you send an email to someone that doesn’t acknowledge that you know who they are, they stop listening to you
  • Sometimes we know things that don’t really matter
  • What matters?  What matters is – why does the donor donate to your organization.  What motivates them to give?

Share your experiences with segmenting in the comments!


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