(Guest post by Toby Leonard)
Social media offers a variety of resources for nonprofits to reach their interested consumer base and seek donations for their cause. With such an onslaught of innovative marketing trends, it’s easy to neglect established methods like email. It is important to integrate various online methods into a complete marketing strategy. There are many techniques that can be used to maximize email campaigns and turn a simple email request for donations into a full fundraising campaign.
Develop a Relationship With Constituents
People are far more likely to open and respond to emails that are from organizations they feel connected to. To develop this relationship, it can be helpful to use social media to communicate with the recipients. Conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and similar platforms can create a bond. To capitalize on these relationships, use tools like Constant Contact, MailChimp or Vertical Response can help users initiate, personalize and distribute marketing emails (don’t use Outlook for mass emails! Make sure you ask vendors for any special nonprofit rates).
Optimize Delivery Times
According to Econsultancy, recipients are most likely to respond to emails received on work days between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. (But check your stats – this may be different for your organization.) If your strategy involves sending periodic emails, recipients are more likely to respond to emails received at a regular time.
Get to the Point
It is also important to maximize the use of space you have in the email. People tend to pay the most attention to the first part of the email, before they are required to scroll. Therefore, it is necessary to include as much useful information in the first few lines and make it as short and to the point as possible.
Many readers also tend to skim emails. To keep the attention of these readers, make use of easy to read text with formats such as bullet point lists, bolding, and italics. This will help readers easily scan the email for important information and determine why they should pay attention to the content.
Keep Their Attention
Graphics can also add wonderful variety to emails. They help to personalize the content and can even help make the note appear to be like a handwritten note. Pictures and animation will attract attention to the message and encourage the recipient to read further.
Pick an Inviting Subject Line
The subject line of the email helps persuade people to either read or disregard the email. Titles that sound similar to spam, such as “Follow-up” or “Discount” are more likely to be ignored. Develop a title that helps the recipients feel special but also appears genuine. Making a personalized subject line and offering the recipient something in return also helps to entice readers. It is also a good idea to make sure that the email comes from an email address connected to the organization. Using a personal email address is more likely to be marked as spam or ignored.
Don’t Overdo It
Finally, do not send out email messages too often. When people receive constant updates and requests for money, they are more likely to ignore them. There is a fine line between sending out regular emails to promote your brand and overloading your recipients with too many messages. Consider polling recipients to determine an optimal schedule. Typically, emailing twice a month is considered reasonable.
Email campaigns have the potential to bring in a great deal of revenue for organizations. Though many overlook the technique in favor of the more modern methods of social media, email marketing campaigns usually result in a very high ROI.