Ever wonder how the 2012 Obama Campaign raised $690 million over the internet? Such a shockingly large amount of money was mostly raised through email fundraising. This makes me wonder about the recent fundraising email I sent out to family and friends asking to donate to my relay for life team…should I have done more research and testing first?
A/B testing was utilized by the Obama campaign in order to determine the most efficient way to fundraiser through email. The email was tested in the following areas:
- Subject Line
- Amount of money to ask for
- The message
- The format
A/B testing removes the guesswork. Instead making decisions off of “we think” we know, A/B testing insures one is making education “we know” decisions. A/B testing is an easy way to test changes to your website or emails against your current design and structure. The test shows you which changes were most effective. The Obama campaign found that using unattractive giant size font for links and highlighted yellow sections in emails had the best success rate. Even profanity was found to be successful, “Hell Yeah I Like Obamacare”.
What I found fascination about the fundraising email is the constant need to change and adjustment. The Science Behind Those Obama Campaign E-Mails, points out, “There was no such thing as the perfect e-mail; every breakthrough had a shelf life. “Eventually the novelty wore off, and we had to go back and retest”.
Amelia Showalter, the former director of analytics for the the 2012 Obama campaign was featured in ELLE magazine as the “most eligible hires in techdom”. Schowalter used A/B testing to determine how to write and format a visually effective email. Her research went as far as to determine if people still enjoyed receiving emails from the president addressed you by name. Check out Amelia’s TedTalk, Testing it will free your mind.
Amelia leaves you with 5 tips to free your mind:
- Start somewhere. Don’t force yourself to be perfect.
- Fail upwards. Testing can prove your instincts wrongs.
- Test all the time. Make it a priority. It will force you to be more innovate.
- Surround yourself with diverse people.
- Trust in testing.
Instead of a marketing team solely listening to Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HiPPO), A/B testing relies on scientific decision making.