Email Marketing

Email Marketing Automation vs. a Mailing List

You might have set yourself up with an email mailing list. Your visitors and supporters can sign up and now you have a fast, easy, and effective way to bulk contact them. But are you taking your email capabilities as far as they can go? Do you know the difference between true email marketing automation and a mailing list?

What’s a mailing list?

Some popular email platforms you might have heard of are Constant Contact or MailChimp. They allow users to quickly and easily sign up to be a recipient of your outbound emails. Users can even sometimes progressively add to their profiles over time. That may give you access to names, physical addresses, and things like topics of interest. Users can also easily opt out of receiving future emails at any time.

Once you’ve got a decently large mailing list, you can reach the masses with the click of a button. If you rely solely on social media posts, ever changing algorithms interfere with your reach. If you try to use paid advertising to expand, you can find yourself with big bills and not much to show for it. But email is a guaranteed direct line to your self-identified engaged audience. There’s a reason that spam email is so prevalent even to this day – email works!

How is Marketing Automation different?

Even with all of that, you may not be utilizing your email lists to their full potential. For that you need marketing automation. First, check out How to get started with email marketing and Maintaining an email marketing editorial calendar.

Marketing automation segments your audience into far more different groups than you can manually manipulate. You can use metadata to build audience lists on the fly and send different emails to each different type of recipient. That’s the main idea – it’s not just one email sent to every list member at the same time. Different emails to different users at different times will maximize the impact of your email list. Here are some examples:

  • Send a series of welcome emails after a new user signs up to receive emails from your organization. The first one should arrive immediately and the others can be spaced out after that.
  • Remind users who have visited your website but not made a donation yet that your fundraising campaign is still active.
  • Thank users who have donated in the past 30 days and promote your recurring donation options.
  • Send 5 emails in a chain of spotlights on your most successful programs, but only send each one one week after the previous email has been opened and read.
  • Send a customized birthday or service anniversary to each individual recipient. If integrated to your Volunteer Management software, milestone volunteer hours can be celebrated with no interaction from you.
  • Re-engage users if they haven’t opened an email or visited your site or volunteered in person for over 6 months. Everyone gets busy and the occasional reminder can be really effective.

With some preparation and a little technical know-how, you can get even more out of your valuable list of emails with less effort than manual email campaigns!