How to find the perfect valentine (for your email list)

This February, love is in the air… and so is email acquisition! Here are some tips to find the perfect match for YOU(r organization’s email list):

Tip #1: Get on the apps

Tinder, Hinge, old-school OKCupid – there are a million places to find Mx. Right. Just like with dating, when you’re trying to expand your email list, you’ll want to find the vendor with the right mix of supporters for you.

That could be Facebook – with almost two billion daily users, relatively simple self-serve ad options, and no minimum spends, almost every nonprofit will spend at least some money on Facebook. Just be careful to monitor spends (and returns) carefully to make sure you aren’t throwing good money after bad!

But if you don’t want to expand Zuck’s already-bulging wallet (we don’t blame you!), there are plenty of other fish in the sea! List vendors like Care2 and DailyKos have been matchmaking progressive non-profits with like-minded supporters for years. And that’s not even to mention political publications that will send chaperoned emails or free tools like joint actions that can grow power across non-profits in the same issue area.

Vendors to consider:

  • Facebook/Instagram
  • Care2/DailyKos
  • Other list chaperones

Tip #2: … But how will I know they’re right for me?

So now you’re on the apps but, how do you find the supporters to make your heart go pitter-pat? If you’re working with a vendor, they’ll help you find the folks you’re looking for. On Facebook, it really comes down to how you want to find your perfect match. You’ll have two options — affinity and lookalike. 

If you want Facebook to target by affinity, tell them to find you people who like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. You can give Facebook a long list of interests you want your prospective matches to have. Be careful though! Facebook tends to change the targeting options for affinity ads without warning.

If you want your match to have the best aspects of all of your current donors and supporters, tell Facebook who you’ve loved before and that you’re ready to love again. The Facebook algorithm will use the information from your current list to find people who “look like” those current supporters and serve them your ads.

Facebook Targeting:

  • Affinity targeting: Search by interests
  • Lookalike targeting: Search by people who look like your existing audience

Tip #3: Searching, searching, searching … for you

Did you ever think that you might be staring up at the moon, yearning for a new supporter, right when they were looking at that same moon, searching for you? Capture those late-night Google searches by running Google Ads and using Google Grant!

We’ve seen a big uptick in returns on Google Ads in the past year, and they’re an easy way to engage folks who are already looking for information on your non-profit or issue area. If you haven’t explored Google Grant for Nonprofits, that’s a great first step!

Tip #4: The science of love

It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of a new supporter or donor, but in order to build a relationship that stands the test of time, you’ll need to look at the cold, hard facts. Here are some statistics to help you determine if your love is true:

  • Cost per acquisition (CPA) – how much money you are spending to get each new prospect onto your list.
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS) – your immediate return on your advertising spend. For instance, if you spent $100 and got one $10 donation, your ROAS would be $0.10 per dollar spent.
  • Return on investment (ROI) – how much money your advertising spend raises over time. 

Remember, love is patient. Sometimes it can take 24-36 months to see a positive return on advertising investments. But isn’t the real ROI the friends we made along the way? 

Tip #5: Love the one you’re with

The grass may always look greener on the other side, but sometimes, the best use of your ad dollars is cozying up to the folks you already know. 

When you’re running an email fundraising campaign, it’s often a great idea to accompany those emails with direct donate Facebook ads to the recipients of your emails. These are ads that ask prospects to donate instead of joining your list, and can be a great reinforcement for the campaign they’re seeing in their inbox. 

And don’t let your past come between you and a great prospect. Maybe they’ve been working on themselves. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time when they first joined your list. Running re-engagement ads to lapsed, inactive and unsubscribed supporters can be the perfect way to say “I want you back.”

With the right combination of direct donate ads and lapsed donor engagement, you may realize that your nerdy best friend was the one you were looking for all along.

Possible tactics:

  • Direct-donate (and monthly donate) ads to your existing list
  • Reengagement ads to lapsed, inactive and unsubscribed supporters

We know that finding romance can be hard – and finding supporters for your nonprofit can be even harder. We’re hoping these tips will help, but if you’re still not feeling the love, please reach out! We’d be happy to take a look at your advertising strategy, your dating profile… whatever!

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