Ideas that work: Making the most of email marketing

[Editor’s note: This article was provided by Blackbaud, a maker of fundraising software. Blackbaud is a PJ business partner.]

Allison Van Diest
Allison Van Diest

Allison Van Diest

Why has email become so important?

People are busy and they want to communicate and interact on their own time.

Since email provides instant access to friends and supporters, it is great way to distribute information if done effectively.

So what makes a good email marketing strategy?

Segmenting your audience and testing the timing and content of your message are critical.

Approach current supporters differently from those you’re trying to inspire to take the first action and always follow up with information on progress.

Keeping a donor engaged with meaningful information will reinforce their desire to support you.

Consider adding an eNewsletter to your communication mix.

It doesn’t have to be a long, formal monthly publication but it should be newsy rather than asky.

Remind constituents how contributions to your organization make a difference.

Organizations should mix up how they define impact; it’s not always just the progress of dollars raised through an annual fund.

Showcasing a donor that is proud of how they contributed also can be very inspiring.

Figure out what differentiates your nonprofit organization and what you can offer in exchange for support.

How can you describe a warm, fuzzy feeling in a way that compels a potential donor to do whatever it takes in support of your organization?

Some things you can do now:

* Write, or rewrite, your welcome email.  Does it offer something or motivate a next action?

* Create a new segment to test in your next campaign.

* Try a completely unique message to people who have given their email address but never taken action.

* Think about how easy you make it for an email recipient to take action.  Hopefully they can make a gift or register in just a couple of clicks after receiving your email.

* Reflect on what makes your organization unique in the way you deliver the mission and why your organization is so essential in the world.

* Then work on telling that story clearly and briefly.

You can develop the talent to write for the web and email pretty quickly because you can test anything that you are wondering about almost instantly and for almost no cost.

It’s truly an amazing medium.

Allison Van Diest is senior product marketing manager for Blackbaud Internet Solutions.

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