Should You Add a Password to Your Donation Page?
September 2023 | by Conner Downard
Announcements Advertising Creative Marketing Strategy
For too long, digital marketers have been content to let “best practices” guide their strategy.
2022 saw unprecedented frustration around political fundraising. At IMGE, we see that industry-wide slump as a challenge. It’s why we’re throwing “best practices” out the window in favor of embracing a massive new testing program.
It’s time to abandon the idea of a best practice that isn’t backed up by data. We’re rejecting “what’s worked before” in favor of finding what works for our clients, right now—and here’s how we’re doing it.
Let’s break down why.
Let’s be clear about one thing: following best practices, overall, isn’t bad.
It’s just not the best strategy for an experienced digital marketer.
Best practices are good for establishing a baseline digital program. For those starting out in the field, learning the conventions of digital marketing is the fastest way to build basic competencies.
But simply executing against these same strategies won’t fix our industry-wide problems, because those are the old ideas that got us here.
For those marketers who want to take it to the next level, it’s time to stop imitating, and start innovating. Testing shifts our approach from “what are others like us doing” to “what engages our audience best.”
The digital landscape is more fragmented than ever. Your audience isn’t everybody: It’s a specific group of people with certain interests, behaviors, and motivations.
For political marketers, the coalition of supporters changes from candidate to candidate, and even from cycle to cycle.
It’s your job to find out what captivates your specific audience, not the entire Internet. While you can gain some insights from seeing what similar brands are doing, you can never really learn what drives your audience to engage without testing.
We aren’t just testing to check a box. Our approach begins with identifying an issue or area needing improvement, hypothesizing a solution, and executing a test to support or contradict that hypothesis.
This approach threads the sweet spot between the two traps one must to avoid when setting up a testing program:
And our approach to testing is to think bigger than “what juices our KPIs in the short term.” We’re not here to test how high we can make our fake matching initiative before our supporters unsubscribe in frustration.
Instead, we’re leveraging our testing program to innovate new strategies for our clients that break out of the current trend of political fundraising treating donors like personal piggy banks.
Our tests delve deeper into why our clients’ audiences engage and convert. Are they driven more by positive or negative language? Does a stripped-down, personal appeal perform better than a slick, graphic-heavy send?
The best part about testing? There’s no such thing as failure.
Getting different or inconclusive results on a test doesn’t mean you failed.
You can gain just as much insight from results that differ from your initial expectation—in fact, those are often the most interesting results.
The only way to lose is by never testing any new ideas at all.
Since launching our internal testing project in October, we’ve conducted 268 separate experiments. Here are just a few of the results we’ve found:
While we emphasize that all results are specific to each audience we’ve tested, we want to invite you to join us on our testing journey. We want to share what we’ve learned, and lead the way on building a robust testing culture not just at IMGE, but across our entire industry.
Want to join us? Let us know what you think we should test next here.
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