Tips for Conditional Content Mastery

The Art of Conditional Content

You may have enjoyed our recent series of emails on conditional content. Here’s a recap of what conditional content is, how you can use it in Engaging Networks and further applications that can make your website, forms and emails stand out from the crowd.

What is “conditional content?”

Let’s start with what conditional content is. The premise isn’t new; conditional content has been a marketing technique for over a decade. Essentially, you’re displaying different content to users based on something that you know about them. Think about it this way:

IF User = Profile X THEN display = Content A

IF User = Profile Y THEN display = Content B

That’s important. You have to know something about the users for whom you are conditionalizing content. This can be as simple as geographic location or interests stored in your marketing database. Or it can be more complex, such as a query (or “Profile” as we call it in Engaging Networks) that you’ve established to identify donors or advocacy supporters who have different interests, and/or who give/take action at different levels.

What’s a Profile, anyway?

A Profile is the method by which you define a sub-group of your supporters (stored in Engaging Networks) for targeting and reporting. For example, you might create a Profile called “All donors who gave at least 100.00 during the past 12 months.” Or you might create a Profile called “All donors in Australia who have taken an action.” You can get very granular, if you want.

Sounds cool, right? But before you go off and conditionalize everything, think about it for a minute. Come up with a plan – even if it’s just a few sentences scribbled on a post-it note.

Coming up with a plan

Planning is a good thing. Your solid plan for conditional messaging should keep (at the very least) these three things in mind:

  • Who are your various target audiences and why are you messaging these audiences via separate, distinct messages?
    • Not sure where to start? This can be as simple as “donors” and “prospects.”
  • What voice, author and message should each audience receive from you?
    • Maybe your prospects hear from field staff about exciting animal rescues, while you donors hear from your Executive Director about new facilities to house the rescued animals. You can test that. (And you should!)
  • What are your goals when using conditional content?
    • Are you hoping to increase donations overall? Increase your average gift? Boost prospect conversions? Write it down. You can change it later.

Even a rough outline to get you started is worth doing. That way, you have a baseline to measure against, as you see results come in.

Let’s look at a couple of options for conditional content. Much of this is adapted from our recent Tips & Tricks series by Ben Childers, our Director of Client Services. [Sign up to receive our emails, if you want to be the first to know next time!]

Conditional Emails

The ability to build and send a conditional email depends greatly on the tools that you are using. Keep in mind that conditional content is not the same as “personalized” content. We’re not talking about salutations and “first name.” (I think and hope, that all decent email marketing tools can do that in 2018.) No, we’re talking about the ability to change entire blocks of content based on information about your recipient.

I’ve used many different systems to send email over the years. Six to be exact. And how you do this varies in each system. I won’t go into how to do it in other tools. I will say that I find our approach at Engaging Networks to be elegant and easy to use.

A quick look at setting up conditional emails in Engaging Networks

When creating an email campaign you have four choices, as shown below:

That first “One Email Campaign” option looks so easy, right? It certainly has its uses, for small lists or in a quick pinch. But if you’re not already doing so, you should instead select Conditional Content or Split Test Conditional. Why? Because these other options allow you to send different emails to different profiles that you have created. This means that your supporters who belong to the “Major Gifts” profile can have an email signed by your Chief Development Officer, along with a link to an event, while your supporters that belong to the “Please Click on Something” profile can have a subject line that begs them to open the email, using an engaging picture and advocacy action in the content.

With our “Split Test Conditional” option, you can test content within your conditional emails. For that Major Gifts profile that I just mentioned, you could change the language so that 50% of recipients get a link to an event, while the rest get a fundraising appeal. Then you can test each version, to see which images resonate best with your audience. Remember: Your supporters want individualized content that relates to them and the specific ways in which they interact with your organization.

Conditional content on landing pages

You’ve heard the word “locale,” right? Turns out, locales are not just your local coffee shop. In web-speak, a locale is a geographic location that allows us to render different content to visitors. This can be done by identifying the visitor’s IP address location, or by identifying their preferred language, as indicated in their browser settings. The latter (browser preference) is our default approach at Engaging Networks, because it’s a good indicator of the user’s actual language preference.

How do you enable Locales in Engaging Networks?

There’s a bit of set-up on the back end. First, you designate which languages you want to support. Then, for each field that provides a language alternative, you enter the specific alternatives. Example:

  • Address – English
  • Addresse – French
  • Dirección – Spanish

When building pages, you set your locale, and then the form fields that you previously set up will display automatically. If my browser preferences are set to French, I will see “addresse.” You should review the effect of your changes in test mode before publishing your pages, so you can make sure that you’re happy with how it all looks.

So, if you are running a dual-language (or multi-language) campaign, you can use the native tools in Engaging Networks to ensure that your supporters will see content and form fields in whichever language they have selected as the default in their browser. No more translation tools needed.

Here’s an example of a basic sign up page in English…

https://e-activist.com/page/27919/data/1?mode=DEMO…

…and here is that same page with French localization 

https://e-activist.com/page/27919/data/1?mode=DEMO…

You have total control over the translation of form fields and of all copy on the page. On top of this, you’re also able to set specific validators and tool tips for each localization. While this feature takes a while to set up, after you’ve added the translations once, these will always be available. You can save all page components to the “library” and access them from the page components menu at any time.

If you’d like to read more on locales and how you can set pages up in over 150 languages, please visit our Supportal.

Conditionalizing form content

This will sound a lot like what we went over already back in the email section. The premise is the same. But the mechanics of setting it up are obviously a bit different.

As with email, imagine that your action, event or fundraising pages will display differently to users whom you define. Supporters in different donor groups will get different ask strings and messages. Just imagine the possibilities…

When a supporter comes to a donation page or advocacy page from an email campaign, we can leverage their profile membership to display different content, unique to each profile.

Using profiles, you can change the copy and content of a basic donation page to make it more relevant to particular supporters. Include different images, ask strings, or thank you language, based on what you already know about your advocates, prospects and donors.

Wrap-up concepts

Let’s recap our main points about conditional content…

  • Conditional content helps you deliver the right message, at the right time, from the right person, to your supporters.
  • Engaging Networks offers many ways to conditionalize content for your supporters, and to help you deliver that message effectively.
  • Engaging Networks is language-ready, meaning that you can share your story with supporters in over 150 languages!
  • You set the rules with conditional content. So give it some thought, create a plan and start messaging your supporters in ways that will boost your results.
  • We just touched on TESTING in this story, but definitely test your results and optimize for your goals . The tools needed to test your emails and your pages are already built into the Engaging Networks toolset; we make it easy for you!

Other Resources you may like

There’s lots more to the topic of conditional emails, so if you’re interested in learning more, I suggest these three resources:

 

 

Chloe Green is a copywriter and digital campaigner with almost a decade of experience in the charity and political sectors. She’s delivered campaigns, copy and consultancy for a raft of good eggs including Anthony Nolan, the National Union of Students, St Mungo’s, and Hillary for America. She was Social Media Manager at the Labour Party between 2016–2019 and now she’s Head of Creative with the lovely team at Forward Action. She leads on fundraising emails, UX copy, and all creative facilitation. She’s an expert in email list growth, digital strategy, organic and paid-for social media, and digital mobilisation.

Rachel founded the specialist charity web agency, Rechord, in 1999. Between 1999 and 2012 they created hundreds of different web applications for organisations in the UK and internationally.
In 2013 she became the 'Donor Whisperer' and focused on helping small to medium-sized non-profits to reach new donors and activists and from there increase their income. She uses a unique process that combines the benefits of consultancy with capacity building.
Her clients include Traidcraft Exchange, the Overseas Development Institute, Jubilee Debt Coalition, the Leprosy Mission of England and Wales, Tax Justice UK, The Canary, Humanity and Inclusion, the Anti-Tribalism Movement, BRACE, New Family Social, Arseh Sevom - and that's just the last year.
She also feels weird writing about herself in the third person.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Hannah is Senior Campaigns Officer at the MS Society, working on their local campaigning programme, Local Action for MS and also on social care and carers. She’s worked at the MS Society for a year and a half, and was previously at the MND Association and National Voices.

Executive Director of C6 Digital, London based agency

Emily has worked at Guide Dogs for the Blind Association since 2019, working on a range of campaign areas to empower people with vision impairments to live the life they choose. Prior to this, Emily working in parliament and severed as a borough councillor.

Brani Milosevic ia a digital consultant and coach at https://www.digitalleadership.ltd/
She helps individuals, teams and organisations to learn how to seize the opportunities offered by digital and navigate its challenges.
Brani set up the Digital Leadership Forum, is an NCVO trainer, a CharityComms mentor and a qualified executive coach.

Rhiannan Sullivan is the Vice President of strategy and partnerships of social action network, Care2.com. Over the past 10+ years, she has worked with hundreds of UK and EU charities helping them grow and develop their digital fundraising programmes. Prior to working for Care2, Rhiannan worked at then political campaigning agency Blue State Digital, a global leading digital strategy agency who has helped many organisations build and engage online communities, clients included political and advocacy campaigns, non-­‐profit organisations, cultural institutions and global consumer brands.

Calum manages social, email and some digital campaigns at CPRE, and is CPRE’s expert Engaging Networks user, working on development and helping other teams make the most of the platform. Happiest working on campaigns for change or rambling around in the countryside.

Brandon Fuller is Engaging Networks alumni and owner of Raise the Roots, a digital agency that has supported over two dozen organizations on Engaging Networks - helping them to maximize their digital engagement using this powerful platform. He previously managed global online advocacy campaigns for the Pew Charitable Trusts and has worked in the nonprofit community for nearly two decades.

I joined the Woodland Trust in 2018 and now lead on policy and engagement campaigns working to improve protection, restoration and high quality creation of woods and trees. Prior to campaigning for trees, I worked in Peterborough, tackling fuel poverty in the community. I care deeply about the climate and nature crises and the many, intersectional impacts and solutions. Endlessly inspired and energised by the dedication and passion of our supporters and the public who take action time and time again.

Hannah Mudge is Digital Innovation Manager at The Leprosy Mission England and Wales and has had the privilege of seeing the 147-year-old international development charity evolve over the last decade, from sending out its first online fundraising appeal to achieving record levels of income despite the challenges faced since the start of the pandemic. She is based in Peterborough and enjoys running, cooking and reading in her limited spare time when not parenting two lively boys. During 2020 she added ‘homeschooling’ to her skillset although what Ofsted rating she would achieve is probably best left to the imagination.

I am a campaigner in the Woods Under Threat team at the Woodland Trust. My role is to help protect ancient woods and trees from damaging developments across the UK. Ancient woods and trees are irreplaceable, so we work hard to stop any further loss of these precious habitats and ensure they are protected for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Matt Strong is the Campaigns and Engagement Officer for the Ramblers.

He has recently run campaigns on increasing the number of new green walking routes in some of our biggest cities, including London and Manchester. He has also been leading on the Ramblers’ campaigns work around the Environment Bill. Matt has a background in politics after spending a decade as an elected councillor on Manchester City Council and having previously worked for two Members of Parliament and a political party.

Claire Warner is a former charity Fundraising Director & Senior Leader, turned Culture & Wellbeing consultant.

It was in trying to throw herself back into her beloved Fundraising Director role after 12 months' treatment for aggressive breast cancer, that Claire realised the focus & memory loss and heart condition side effects she'd been left with after her treatment, plus the life-changing experience of the illness itself, meant (guttingly!) a 300% commitment, 50+hours a week Fundraising Director role was no longer an option.

On looking into what others do in this situation, Claire discovered the field of workplace wellbeing, the research work of Prof Cary Cooper, the Gallup Organisation and Simon Sinek, and hasn't looked back since.

In 2018, Claire created her own piece of research into the wellbeing of fundraisers and when it concluded in 2019, over 700 fundraisers had taken part. The results of the research were used to further inform and refine the work Claire does with organisations and individuals in the charity sector.

In 2020 Claire won the Best Digital Leader Award at the Social CEO Awards and in 2021 curated the first Charity Wellbeing Summit.

Today, Claire works on organisational culture and wellbeing projects with charities and offers coaching and mentoring programmes to sector professionals.

Becky has spent the last decade building people power and people-powered movements to hold the most powerful to account for a fairer, more just, and cleaner future.
She helped build 38 Degrees UK into a movement of over 1 million citizens and led many of the biggest campaigns. As part of OPEN’s senior team, she helped build and sustain a network across 19 different countries, by supporting, coaching, and building fast-growing digitally facilitated organisations.

She's currently Senior Strategist at The Sunrise Project leading the Global Banks Program and building grassroots activism on finance around the world. She’s on the board of Skiftet, Sweden’s biggest online campaign community and Left Foot Forward in the UK.

Andrew Taylor-Dawson is Development Manager at Liberty, where he leads on member and support engagement. He has been in fundraising for around 13 years. In this time he has worked in the human rights, homelessness and social justice sectors as well as having been a freelance consultant.

He has held board positions with Global Justice Now and the adoption support organisation We Are family.

Rebecca is a Digital Project Manager, who recently led the redesign and redevelopment of The Children's Society's website.

Rebecca worked closely with senior stakeholders, subject matter experts, and digital agencies to create a new platform that demonstrates the organisation's refreshed vision, mission and brand. There has already been astounding results in the 6-months since launch.

I have worked as a web developer for about 20 years and for Which? since 2015, primarily on their WordPress sites. This has involved integration with a variety of different APIs, most recently the Engaging Networks API, along with the creation of APIs to allow sites to talk to one another.

Glyn Thomas is a digital strategist and web developer. He built his first website in 1997 and has been working in digital communications since 2002.

For the past 12 years, Glyn has almost exclusively worked with charities and non-profit organisations. Almost all the projects he works on are focused around campaigning, fundraising or supporter recruitment, and often a mixture of all three.

Now based in Berlin, Glyn works with organisations in the UK, Europe and North America.

Rhian is the Strategic Programme Manager for Physical Activity at Versus Arthritis. Alongside Sport England under the Richmond Group ‘Movement for All’ programme, Rhian is co-developing a long-term, sustainable programme to support those living with Musculoskeletal conditions to increase their physical activity levels and improve their quality of life. Rhian has over 15 years’ experience of supporting people with long term health conditions to become more active. She is passionate about prevention, working in partnership and using an effective knowledge base to create impactful change at scale.

Having gotten his start organizing with anti-war veterans and working as Sala Labs, Sales Engineer, and Partner Manager, Bryan now brings his expertise to non-profit and mission-driven clients as 4Site Studios Director of Digital Strategy. Specializing in challenging and complex projects, Bryan works with each client to craft holistic approaches tailored to goals, budget, and outcomes.

Mary Margaret Callahan is the Chief Mission Officer for Pet Partners, where she is responsible for leading mission delivery including the therapy animal program and grassroots advocacy program. She joined Pet Partners in 2013 and has worked to establish the organization as both an influencer and a resource within the animal-assisted intervention (AAI) and human-animal bond (HAB) community. In 2018 she was named one of PetAge Magazine’s Women of Influence. Mary Margaret lives on a small farm outside Seattle with her husband, daughter and menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chickens, goats and miniature donkeys.

Joe Derry Hall is a freelancer working on creative digital and communications. His interests include tech innovation, upending power and reimagining different futures. Joe has been the winner of a Mozilla Creative Media Award and the joint winner of a BAFTA digital award. He was previously in-house in campaigning and communications roles at Amnesty International, the Climate Coalition, the Ecocide campaign, Save the Children, Scope and others. He is one of the initiators of Right Way Up, an experiment to create a radical, practical new vision for the social change sector.

Anna Chowcat is the Digital Manager at Refuge and oversees the charity’s digital function and output. Since joining Refuge, Anna has been instrumental in introducing a number of digital engagement programmes including digital campaigns, bespoke email supporter journeys and user friendly donate/campaign pages. Before joining Refuge, she has worked in digital engagement and campaign roles at The Labour Party and Leonard Cheshire Disability.

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