Optimize + Test = Profit

What happens when you optimize and test your print and mail marketing?

You watch your results soar. Just ask Willow Creek, a nonprofit organization that went from a 68% drop in year-over-year registrations for its annual conference to a 933% increase in registrations.

How did Willow Creek do it? Let’s look at the step-by-step process Willow Creek used and that you can apply to your marketing, too.

1.  Identify your value proposition.

Willow Creek took a hard look at its value proposition, and how it differed from the competition at three levels: the prospect level (who they were sending to). The product level (how the product was positioned). The process level (how simple or easy it was to register for and attend the conference).

2.  Identify how effectively you are communicating that value proposition.

During the testing, Willow Creek asked: How is the value proposition being communicated in our marketing materials? Is it clear? Is it front and center so that people can identify it easily? To their surprise, the team discovered that the answer to these questions was often “no” or “not as well as it could be.”

3.  Test the effectiveness of different approaches.

Once Willow Creek identified the weakness in its presentation, it set out to test different approaches to see what worked best.

  • It tested its presentation (messaging, listing of scheduled speakers, benefits to the leaders attending).
  • It tested its placement of information (in the headline, in the body text, near the CTA).
  • It tested its wording. For example, instead of asking someone to donate to Willow Creek, the team tested and ultimately changed the wording to “make an impact,” focusing on the nonprofit’s mission instead.
  • It tested details such as the length of headlines—for example, discovering that shorter headlines got better results.

Through testing, Willow Creek gained critical lessons that allowed it to make key changes to its print and digital marketing materials that drastically improved its results. It also learned that testing and optimization doesn’t have to be difficult. It just has to be consistent to reap big results.

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