5 Ways to Improve Your Nonprofit Email Marketing Strategy

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To succeed with email marketing, one of the biggest things to keep in mind is your goal (or goals) for each email you send. Do you want more subscribers? More opens? More social media reactions? Improved click-through rates?

Most of us want all the above. There are a lot of ways to reach those goals, but it will always be a work in progress.

What is your nonprofit looking to accomplish with email marketing?

Email marketing can be very valuable in deepening relationships with existing customers. It can help you:

  • Share news about what your organization is doing
  • Provide opportunities to announce new campaigns
  • Serve as a great platform to share testimonials and stories about how your organization is making a difference

The list goes on! Email marketing continues to be a very effective tool year in and year out, whether you entice people to subscribe in order to convert readers into supporters of your nonprofit, use it to continue to interact with past supporters, or a bit of both.

When you plan or make improvements to your email marketing strategy, these tips can make a big difference in your ability to keep your subscribers subscribed, reading your emails, and interacting with them.

Tip #1: Consider Email Marketing Segmentation

Segment your subscribers via multiple subscription lists and market accordingly. You might have all-purpose emails that go out to everyone on your list as well as emails that go out to specific targeted lists.

Perhaps you’ve got a list for prospects and another for past supporters. You’d definitely want to send different messaging to those two groups! You might also have another segmented list for supporters who have donated higher amounts or one for sustaining donors instead of one-time donors.

Having these audiences in separate lists can help you really tailor your messaging to the people who are opening your emails.

Beyond segmenting your list by the type of subscriber, you can also take your segmentation even deeper by segmenting based on previous email opens and interactions. That’s another reason to use a good email marketing marketing platform — you get detailed reporting that tells you how your content was received. For example, if someone hasn’t opened the past three emails, they could get flagged to receive a survey, or you could take a more direct approach based on their profile.

Tip #2: Use Your Analytics

Really pay attention to and use your analytics. What insight can you gather from the data?
If you pay extra attention to your email analytics, you can use that to your advantage with future planning for email marketing. Data that comes from your email marketing software can help you gather significant insight about the types of content your audience reacts to (or doesn’t react to). Split testing and analyzing the results can help you fine-tune your email layout, colors, size and placement of graphics and buttons, the best time of day to send an email, the best day of the week for getting results with new donations, what subject lines get opened the most, and so on.

Tip #3: Storytelling

More people donate when they read a compelling and touching story. You probably already know this from your other marketing efforts, but if you integrate that storytelling into your email marketing, it can have a greater impact not only on your ability to gain attention from your readers, but on their desire to share that story. They can help you with your marketing in this way, which can result in a boost in donations, increased subscription rates, stories going viral and making a real difference to future fundraising efforts, etc.

Regardless of how many topics you cover in each email you send out, consider including at least one example of how your organization is helping to drive positive change.

Tip #4: Leverage Surveys

A great way to get ideas about what your subscribers want from your email newsletter is to ask them what they like, what they don’t like, and what they want more of. Surveys can be very helpful not only in gaining insight about your audience, but also in showing them that you care about sharing information that will be useful for them.

Tip #5: Take Time with Email Marketing for Greater Results

Overall, the key to more effective email marketing is to spend a little extra time working on it. By taking the time to craft and send great emails, study the analytics after a campaign has gone out, read comments or social media feedback, and use all this to your advantage, you’re going to gain insight that helps you provide value to your subscribers. This will translate to their remaining a subscriber, to encouraging them to recruit others to learn more about your organization, and to helping you find more ways to strengthen bonds with your existing subscribers / donors.

We hope these tips can help you improve your existing email marketing campaign, or help you create an awesome new one. Either way, putting some elbow grease into your email marketing efforts can really help you make it fruitful.

Author Bio

Jolissa Snow is a Content Strategist at Thrive, a full-service digital agency headquartered in Arlington, TX. Thrive’s team is largely remote, so Jolissa lives in Minneapolis, MN. She’s a content nerd and loves using data and research to create winning content strategies. She also loves reading and writing and is a regular blogger.

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