Why Personalized Marketing Begins with Data

by Franny Lown Franny Lown | 11/2/20 4:58 PM

In 2020, most nonprofit marketers have a working knowledge around why personalization converts but less insight around how to structure a strong personalization strategy. The secret to success? Lead with data. 

In the age of subscription services, consumers expect a tailored customer experience that is personal and engaging. Implementing a strong personalization strategy not only leads to an improved donor experience but long-term relationships with those who fund your work. 

Your organization may already incorporate personalization tactics based on audience segmentation, including giving levels, demographic information, or areas of interest. Beyond these segmentation options, consider how your supporter behavior and identity can influence your engagement to foster long-term relationships. 

For example, website traffic, email open rates, and conversion rates can tell you a lot about your supporter preferences. Using your nonprofit data to influence your personalization tactics incorporates real-time behaviors into your cultivation approach. Are recurring or returning donors disengaged with your emails? Are you seeing high website traffic but low donation conversions? Your personalization strategy should support the key initiatives of your organization, so take these metrics into account as you map out your overall goals. 

Additionally, the intersection of giving and race is finally receiving worthy attention in 2020. Nonprofit organizations can and should be speaking to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) donors on a personal level, in a way that respects their experience and connection to your organization, while amplifying BIPOC stories within your nonprofit community overall. When you incorporate your nonprofit data into your personalization strategy, you can begin to foster relationships with your donors that last a lifetime. 

 

Develop Data-Driven Goals

To incorporate your nonprofit data into your personalization strategy, begin by outlining your overall goals and determine which metrics will help drive you towards that goal. 

Consider the data you may already have on hand, and assess how you collect and store that information. For example, let’s say you house phone numbers for a portion of your donor base. How frequently do you make personal thank you phone calls? Does your organization have the capacity to incorporate text messaging into your multi-communications strategy? Once you have a better understanding of the data already in your possession, you can begin to use this information to power your strategy. 

 

Questions to keep in mind:

  • What data does your organization already have available and how are you currently using it? 
  • Do you capture communication preferences? 
  • How do you collect, store, and organize your data? 
  • What specific data metrics will help drive you towards that goal? 
  • How can you incorporate testing into your approach? Do you have a testing strategy in place?
  • Do you have the tools in place to effectively track your progress?
    • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
    • Fundraising Platform
    • Marketing Automation and Email Service Provider
    • Project Management and Productivity Tools
    • Google Analytics

Implementing a data-driven approach to your personalized marketing doesn’t have to be a painstaking, manual process. Incorporate AI tools to help automate parts of the process and focus your one-on-one energy in areas where it will make the greatest impact for your organization. 

 

Focus on Personalization for Rapid Growth

When it comes to personalization, there will always be a space to better address your supporters on a more meaningful level, so determine the tactics that will work best given your bandwidth & capabilities, but don’t shy away from what’s possible. Incorporating strategic personalized marketing is a key factor in unlocking rapid and exponential growth for your nonprofit organization, and there are always opportunities to innovate.

Avoid getting too comfortable with the phrase “this is how it’s always been done." Don’t be afraid to try a new approach to reach your supporters in a more effective way, and keep the basic building blocks for strong personalization at top of mind:

DO

  • Segment lists by donor category or other unique characteristics
  • Share stories of impact in terms of how donors made it happen
  • Address supporters by first name
  • Take the time to ask questions and get to know your prospects
  • Put your marketing to the test - try out copy & design variations

DON’T

  • Sending a generic message to all of your donors 
  • Addressing supporters with “dear friend” or a similar impersonal greeting
  • Treat all donors the same
  • Assume supporters will want to give simply because they can

Incorporating strong personalization tactics won't require a mastery of rocket science, but it does take time and requires prioritization. However, when you invest in data-driven marketing efforts, the results will speak for themselves. 

 


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