Email Marketing for Nonprofits – Getting Started
There is one reason email marketing is still big business to this day – it works! With everything else you need to juggle for your nonprofit – web, social, mailers, events, fund raisers – it can seem like just another task to keep track of. But with a little thought, it can be an important addition to your digital marketing strategy. Here are some tips on getting started.
Think about your goals
Don’t send email just to send email. That’s a good way to waste energy and lose subscribers. Instead map out what you’d like to get from your email campaigns. Do you want people to follow your social media channels? Maybe sign up to volunteer at upcoming events? Or donate to your cause? Knowing why you’re sending emails in the first place will allow you to judge the effectiveness of your campaigns and gauge how much effort you can allot to them.
Choose a platform, consolidate your address book, and build your list
It can be enticing to go overboard with email personalization. Thinking you need a different email platform or different email list for each and every message will leave you with a fractured and unmanageable scope. Instead, choose a single platform, manually add any email addresses you already have laying around, and then drive everyone to sign up to a single list. You can allow users to manage their own subscription settings and opt out of certain message types, but don’t try to do this by having different lists for each audience to sign up for.
Drive people to subscribe every chance you get
Without being overbearing, make sure your audience knows you have a mailing list. Drive them to sign up on your website, maybe even on a screen take over. Add it to your email footer for personal correspondence. Make sure your social channels are integrated. It should be easier to find your email sign up than not. Make sure they know you want them to sign up.
Build a campaign with purpose, call to action, and tracking
When it’s time to send an email, pause, define the campaign goals, develop clear calls to action, and be sure you are tracking the outcome of those actions. Use images to make it on brand and visually appealing. This will increase engagement from your audience. Also, send a test email and verify it looks like you expect it to on webmail, email clients, and mobile.
Nurture your base
Set up an editorial calendar so every email campaign isn’t a one-off. If every email you send is asking for money people may grow weary and unsubscribe. If instead, every fourth email asks for money interspersed between success stories, heartfelt tales from the community, and funny pictures from your last event, people are less likely to unsubscribe. On that note, make it easy for them if they do wish to unsubscribe, but give them options first to receive less email, or only certain emails. By nurturing your audience, you’ll get a higher open rate, higher engagement rate, and more impact from the emails with calls to action.
When done right, email marketing is not a separate activity, but just another avenue to spread your message to your target audience. If you need help setting up your first email campaign, or need to get your existing efforts aligned, contact us today!