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by Shanley Knox
When setting out to create an effective email marketing campaign, there are many questions you may be asking...
- What magic subject line will get your subscribers to open your email?
- How do you get them to click your links?
- What is just the right length to get your readers to actually digest your content?
- How do you get them to share, to buy, or to donate?
Email marketing presents a significant opportunity for companies and causes to connect directly with an audience that has already exhibited interest. That being said, in order to see a monetary return on your audience's interest, you need to ensure you provide ongoing value.
1. Make a Clear Connection
Your readers should always be able to tell exactly why you’re emailing them. For example, if their last donation contributed to a fundraising goal, craft a message that ensures they walk away feeling accomplished and part of a community. If you're currently seeking funding, clearly outline the project and the various ways they can help.
2. Give Social Proof
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people assume the actions of others are correct; and subsequently, follow in their footsteps. How do you accomplish this through email marketing? Show how your followers have previously taken part in your cause. This can be done via group photos, social shares, or creative examples of support, such as charity: water’s collage below.
If the purpose of your email is fundraising, personalize your financial ask... How many people have opted in to helping you reach your goal thus far? How much have they donated? How far are you from your goal? What is this dollar amount accomplishing? All of these factors help your readers to feel that your goal is realistic, and encourages them to take action. Below is an example of how the American Heart Organization employed this strategy to effectively raise money for cardiovascular disease.
In this case study, emails with personalized subjects average 26% higher open rates and over 130% higher CTRs than emails without personalized subject lines. Unfortunately, the study also showed that personalized subject lines received increased negative attention if the emails were off target, or recipients did not recognize the sender. We've seen similar results with our clients. Some tips to ensure you’re positively capitalizing on personalization:
- Target your messaging to specific groups of followers, rather than sending out one large email across your master list. A/B testing via MailChimp is a great way to better understand (and effectively target your content to) your audience.
- For first time emails to new subscribers or donors, make sure to send an introductory email welcoming them to your cause and letting them know that they are important to you.
4. Make Donations Easy
Finding your donation button should be seamless for your email readers. Make sure that it is aesthetically in line with the rest of your email, and placed just prominently enough, but not so obvious that it appears you are begging for help.
Also, after your followers click through, it’s important to make the actual donation process an easy one. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of 5 of the best tools available for accepting donations online.
For further reading:
by Shanley Knox
If there is a single key to mastering the art of social media, it lies in building relationships. Whether you are looking to drive donations, draw volunteers, or promote awareness of a social issue, it's critical that your followers and fans feel personally involved in your organizational success.
The secret to beginning this process? Effective, personal engagement with people in your online network. Here are five steps to guide you in your efforts:
1. Start By Getting Personal
In sales, it is often said that if someone feels that they can relate to you, they are much more likely to purchase. The same is true of causes. Does a follower share a similar love of your favorite book? Are they tweeting about a movie you just saw? Reach out to let them know how you felt about it. Take it a step further... if they tweet about their passion for a cause that relatees to your organization, reach out with a comment about why you care. It may seem like a small gesture to you, but facilitating this personal connection lets your followers (and potential followers) know you’re listening, and will ultimately help to create buy-in.
2. Cultivate a Relationship
Now that you've initiated contact, refrain from immediately selling your cause. Instead, let them know you value their perspective. If they are posting relevant content, retweet it. Answer their questions. Like their photos. Ask about their day. There’s no need to rush. They’ll be more likely to buy or donate once they feel that they can trust you.
Meanwhile, take some time to learn about who you're engaging with. If done properly, this process will produce valuable research for your organization...
- What type of people follow you and/or respond to your outreach?
- What events or hobbies are they interested in?
- Where do they live?
- How old are they?
- What drives them to speak up?
3. Address Their Pain Points
When it comes time to directly pitch your organization, think back to your research. Is there some way they personally relate to your cause? Use it to spark the conversation. Are they looking for ways to get involved, but have limited time to give? Present them with volunteer opportunities that require minimal commitment. Do they wonder where donations dollars go? Show them with pictures and stories. Knowing these pain points helps you to send them relevant information (in 140 characters, no less). It will make all the difference.
4. Close the Deal
When it comes time to close the deal, don’t be shy. Many donors or potential volunteers are interested in causes, but forget to follow through, or procrastinate until later (don’t we all?). Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Sending a friendly reminder such as, “Did you get the link I sent?” or “I’d love to have an offline conversation about our organization, if you’re interested!” will help to put pressure on them to respond, without pushing them to an uncomfortable point.
5. Follow Up
Didn’t get them the first time? Don’t be frustrated. Studies have shown that making a sale can take seven to eleven points of contact. By following up, you can help prospective donors to recognize their value to your organization. By asking for something specific, e.g. “Five minutes of your time?” or, “Think you can join us in volunteering on Saturday?”, you provide them with the opportunity to deliver.
Beyond all else, be sure to continue using your social channels to engage with your prospects. Show them you care beyond their potential as a donor. It's all about building trust through authentic means of engagement.