Case Study: Human Rights Campaign
But it took work
HRC conducted a series of acquisition tests that sliced and diced performance based on number of actions, recency, source, sexual orientation and more. Because of those efforts, HRC learned that self-identified straight supporters who took recent action on a marriage petition for the first time were the most likely to convert through direct-mail acquisition. In addition, those activists who came onto the online file through Facebook — and specifically offers made to Facebook fans to get a free HRC logo sticker — were more likely to respond to direct-mail acquisition.
HRC learned a lesson that has been applied for years in the mail and on the phones — recency is key! Activists were more likely to convert to donors on the Right Side of History package if they not only had taken action in the last year — but were also "new to file" in the last year (a new dimension when considering recency). Further, those who had taken action in the last six months were 15 percent more likely to donate through the mail than those whose last action was seven to 12 months ago. Facebook names performed 24 percent better in response than "regular" activists in the mail — likely because they were already engaging with HRC in two channels and, therefore, more dedicated to the cause.
What does this mean for you? Test recent "subscribers" and recent action takers first. And consider segmenting based on the number of actions (we've found that the more actions someone has taken, the less likely he or she is to convert). Test based on the types of actions your supporters take — are they signing petitions on a particular issue? Do they perform better if you know they "like" you on Facebook? Do they respond to surveys (and are you collecting that data on a supporter level)? Understanding these file dynamics goes a long way in finding the right people to include in your direct mail!