We have a new white paper here about how to get people to opt in here. It’s great; I strongly recommend it.
There’s a section talking about why to get people to opt-in, from regulatory pressures to response rates to decreased costs.
But there is always someone within an organization who is incapable of seeing past the next day not just the long-term, but past the next day. (I’m told this person is often a CFO, but I’ve lived a charmed existence in that regard.)
So how do you justify investment of time and treasure to get people to opt in, whether that’s capturing a constituent on your website or getting a better view into their communication preferences?
Consider how much you would have paid for the same information on the open market.
For example, right now, it can cost $.10 to $.30 per record to get an e-append to your file through a commercial vendor. Thus, that is the floor of the value of an email address to you. It is certainly not the entire value of an email address to you – that you can get with calculations of lifetime value based on the value of email addresses already on your file and extrapolating.
But this short-term thinker may not sit still for even a 12-month payback period, so justifying based on marketing pricing may appeal more to your Excel jockey.
So let’s say you would pay $.20 based on the volume of your file. Now, every change you make that garners additional email addresses should take credit for an additional $.20 per name – that’s a name you aren’t going to have to pay for.
And it will certainly be worth more than what you would buy – an opt-in with an email address is far more valuable than the person who may or may not enjoy the online channel but is there because you appended her/him.
Similarly, getting someone to opt in online who is new to your organization has to be worth at least the $1.50 that an organization like Care2 would charge to bring you an online advocate and opt-in. And your homegrown opt-in-er would also be more valuable than a third party acquired name who may enjoy taking petitions more than donating to non-profits.
Plus, the external email address you will get is just the email – you have the opportunity to ask someone to engage through other channels each one of which makes the person more valuable and would be more valuable if purchased through the market.
So let’s say your site gets one million visitors per year and your content marketing and behavioral-based opt-in strategies can increase your conversions to constituents by one percentage point. Those efforts will be worth 10,000 constituents and at least $15,000 extra in revenues (or saved costs).
This type of mail also works for offline constituents. Getting someone to opt-in to postal mail from an online form is worth far more than the six cents or so it takes to do a postal address append. And think what you spend for outside lists. Each name costs eight to ten cents per to rent and that gets you the ability to mail it only once.
If you get someone new to opt in to mail as a channel, you are able to mail that person much more often and will get more revenues from them. But that may be too long-term for some folks, so even the cost that you would pay to mail a person can serve as the proof point they need.
There are also the saved costs from an opt-out. You could be spending $5 per year to mail a donor with no responses if you don’t know they don’t engage with that channel. If you can get that person to tell you what they want and take control over their communications, you are able to subtract the costs of non-performing channels and still get their gifts – an ideal trade-off.
Of course, the net revenues that lay beyond day one this are much greater. As we discuss in the opt in white paper, we’ve seen one nonprofit who used an opt-in program to get people to pledge four gifts throughout the year with a response rate of seven percent and cost to raise a dollar of $.23 – both significantly better than traditional one-time gift asks that didn’t include donor control.
But not everyone has that vision to see the long-term of someone giving you permission to engage with them in a particular way or set of ways. And you are unlikely to change them with your pitch. So for them, try these tactics above (and use small words – it helps).