Email is still considered the best way for a business to communicate with a customer. Hubspot reports 86% of customers actively want to receive at least monthly promotional emails from their preferred businesses. Amongst this number, 15% even prefer daily email reminders regarding sales, company news, or general information regarding the business.
There are reasons why email marketing campaigns still hold value as part of an overall marketing strategy in today’s time. Email is used by millions of people every day. According to a Radicati study, the number of people who use email is expected to reach 4.37 billion this year. With email marketing campaigns, businesses can reach a potentially wider audience, keep customers informed, and create bespoke messages for their target audience. Email marketing campaigns are generally less costly than traditional or some digital forms of marketing, such as direct advertisements.
Although email marketing campaigns are used globally by various companies spanning across industries, non-profit organizations can especially benefit from them. Through emails, data and information pertaining to the non-profit can be shared to a wider audience easily, effectively, and in a cost-efficient manner. Essentially, non-profits benefit from email marketing as they have the ability to engage effectively with donors, increase the number of donations through clear CTAs (call-to-action), and share the organization’s mission and values with their supporters.
Emails are also helpful for non-profits to inform their donors of events and volunteering opportunities, amongst other information. They serve as an opportunity to connect with new supporters and retain the old ones. Through email marketing campaigns, non-profits personalize and tailor messages for their audience, initiating the right human touch. This, in turn, drives higher engagement, increased voluntary participation, and more generous giving in the form of donations and charity.
Here are some other benefits of email marketing for non-profits:
- Targeted fundraising
A recent study showed that states that 70% of millennials love to give online. Out of the respondents, 48% of millennials want to hear about non-profits and their updates through newsletters. It can be beneficial for non-profits to create segmented lists of their audience based on their interests, hobbies, or even levels of engagement.
- Personalized contact
Since drafting emails is fairly quicker than creating entire advertising campaigns from scratch, it’s easier to reach a higher number of people. Not only this, but the number of people reached does not necessarily have to receive a generic message from your organization. It is possible and even advised, to create bespoke, tailored messages for your audience. Small but direct personal asks can have a greater impact and encourage support.
- Real-time feedback
Once an email marketing campaign has been sent out, it is possible to track real-time data and analyze the effectiveness of the campaign. It can show you data regarding how many emails bounced, how many have been opened, how many people clicked on the CTA, and how many have been driven to your website. The immediate, metric-driven feedback available with email marketing shows your campaign’s success in real-time. Through this data, you can make more informed decisions.
The case for adding email marketing campaigns into your non-profit marketing strategy is strong. However, how do you ensure that your email is going to be opened and read by your intended audience? Here are some do’s and don’ts of creating an effective email marketing campaign with relevant call-to-actions (CTAs) that drive traffic to your non-profit business.
DO Experiment with Timings & Frequency
To get a successful open rate, keep in mind your audience and the reason for sending out an email to them. When analyzing your audience before sending an email, make note of factors such as their age, location, and interests. After your target audience is defined, it is time to define the purpose of your email. Are you asking the audience to donate to a cause for your non-profit, or are you simply announcing a charity event? Once the audience and purpose are set in place, it’s time to put this into action.
If you are a non-profit sending out an email asking your audience to volunteer at an event, two scenarios might come up.
If your audience consists of working professionals, it may make sense to send out an email during typical office hours, especially mornings – between 8 AM to 11 AM. Anything sent later than 5 PM may be missed, as this is the time when working individuals get free from work and are unlikely to open their mail until the next working morning.
On the contrary, if you are reaching out to student volunteers, keep in mind that students are busy attending classes in the morning. They may not check their mail until later in the night when they sit down to finish assignments and coursework. Aim to send your email after 8 PM on weekdays.
Another aspect of email marketing that non-profits need to keep in mind is the frequency with which they send out emails. Anything less will be ignored, and anything in excess will be an overkill. Creating a fine balance is the key to a successful email marketing campaign, especially when it comes to frequency.
Sometimes, a lower frequency of sending out emails results in missed opportunities. As per the 2023 Nonprofit Tech for Good Report, 67% of non-profits are hurting their businesses by only sending out emails quarterly rather than monthly. To find out the best frequency for your specific non-profit, it’s advised to experiment and find the right balance which works for your audience.
DO Create an Effective Design
Since most users have now shifted to opening emails on their smartphones, it is vital to keep in mind the design used to create an email. Email usage statistics also suggest that 46% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Emails must be designed in such a way that they are mobile-friendly, and responsive on all mobile devices. Additionally, videos used in email marketing improve clickthrough rates by 65%. If designing a newsletter, it is best to include three to four top stories related to your organization’s work and a story that appeals for donations. The purpose behind newsletters is to educate and inform your audience but also include a CTA that can drive business. Adding urgency and solutions to the problem(s) addressed in your donation appeal newsletter section encourages the audience to give.
A prominent CTA, such as a clear “DONATE” button promotes your cause better. Along with this, don’t forget to include your nonprofit’s social media handles with icons that are embedded as links in the email.
DO Add a Personal Touch
Adding a name before addressing each email isn’t the only way to go about adding a personal touch. As per Campaign Monitor, 26.6% is the average email open rate for non-profits, while the click-through rate is 2.7%. By adding a personal touch, your non-profit can stand out from the rest and go above the average open and click-through rates. Even adding words in the subject line that cater to the reader’s interest rate or demographic can spark interest in opening the email and clicking through. Similarly, adding emojis can be another creative way of adding a fun element to your emails. With expert email marketing services, your non-profit can develop completely unique and personalized experiences for the intended audience for maximum engagement.
Adding on to the idea of a personal touch in an email, it’s also a good idea to send out welcome emails to those that have recently subscribed to your mailing list. This is an excellent way to share your non-profit’s values and mission and inform the reader of all the work you are doing. It is also a chance to introduce your team to the reader, creating an additional human touch behind a faceless organization.
Through personalized emails, trust is easily built in your organization. Once the trust is developed, they will look forward to receiving emails from your non-profit that contain valuable information for them. Presenting this information in a new and fresh way can engage the readers. Proper segmentation of audiences is useful in this scenario as well.
DO Make Use of the Right Tools
If you want to make the email marketing process even faster and more streamlined, invest in the right kind of tools and software. Email marketing platforms will cut the time and effort in creating campaigns. Non-profits can benefit from tools that easily segment audiences, create templates, schedule, and track key metrics. Some all-in-one non-profit email marketing management software integrate with your current email list and make the process easier. For example, they segment donors based on the number of donations made and send out personalized thank you emails to that segment only.
Email automation is also possible with the right email marketing tool, and tools such as ChatGPT can draft easy-to-read emails for your business to send out to supporters. Basic emails such as Thank You and “Join Us Again” can be easily automated without the need for you to keep sending them over and over again. With such tools, it is also possible to re-engage those segments of the audience that have lost engagement, while deleting the unengaged audiences to realign the targeting strategy.
DON’T Skip the Metrics Behind Email Campaigns
The data associated with email marketing campaigns are beneficial to non-profits since they offer key insights into what works and what doesn’t. Some of the important metrics to track include:
- Open rate
This measures the number of people that have opened your email. If your non-profit is suffering from low open rates, you become aware of non-personalized subject lines, overwhelming frequency of your emails, and/or irrelevant audience.
- Click-through rate
A benchmark for success in any email campaign is the click-through rate of emails. If you enjoy higher click-through rates, this means your supporters are not only opening your emails but are also clicking on the CTA. It also means that the content of your email, including the visuals, imagery, and tone has engaged the audience well.
- Conversion rate
Although supporters have now clicked on your CTA, how many are actually following through with the request? This is shown via conversion rate. It measures, for example, the number of donations that came through an email, the number of volunteers that showed up to an event, or the number of people that signed for a cause. The true support for your non-profit is measured through this metric. You may need to tweak your landing page or expectations if this number is lower than your click-through rate.
- Unsubscribe rate
This measures the number of supporters that have unsubscribed from your mailing list. If this rate is higher than 2%, then you may need to rethink your strategy and create even more compelling content.
- Donation tracking
Engagement can be best tracked through donations. The increase in the number of financial donors after an email marketing campaign has been launched can tell you about your success.
You can tweak your strategy based once you learn about the metrics for your email marketing campaign. If there is a higher unsubscribe rate, it might be time to create content that is relevant to your audience, or visually appealing rather than text-heavy. This brings us to our next point.
DON’T Use Text-Heavy Emails
These days, the average attention span of people is really short. If you want to share a lot of information with your target audience, it is a good idea to break it down into sections or use images or visuals to share the message. Even if the information is valuable or important, it will go unnoticed without the right kind of visuals to go along with it. Some text, such as facts or numbers, are better illustrated through visuals or charts and perform better in emails. Images can also be great fillers to add to heavier text sections to grasp the attention of the reader. There is still a fine line between an overwhelmingly high usage of images, versus an underwhelmingly low one. It is a good idea to include real-life pictures of your team or your organization performing tasks to add a human touch to the email. This also builds trust and credibility in your non-profit.
DON’T Forget to Grow Your Email List
While keeping your content trimmed, clear and concise is necessary, it is equally important to keep growing your mailing list to reach a wider audience. Your email list sign-up form should be easy to find on your website, or even on your social media channels. The best places for your sign-up form include your website footer, high-traffic pages, or the “About Us” page. Volunteer or charity events are great sources for adding additional names to your email list. Instead of adding names manually, make use of online apps or tools. Partnering with other non-profits or collaborating with organizations is another great way to tap into a new mailing list. Another way to grow your email list is to offer gated content, free webinars, competitions, or even online petitions.
After the rise of social media, emails have taken a backseat in the minds of many marketers. This is simply a wasted opportunity. The ROI behind emails is still strong, which is why it is a good idea to add them to the overall marketing strategy. Adding newsletter opt-ins to each page of your website is another way for more sign-up forms to be filled. Similarly, adding a pop-up or top bar to the website also ensures an increase in your current email list. More supporters will also join your email list if you promote your email newsletter via social media. Cross-platform promotion always works, especially when the relevant CTA and link are added to the graphic.
Creating Effective Email Marketing Campaigns for Non-Profits in 2023
Email marketing serves as an essential function for non-profits, and is extremely beneficial to grow the number of supporters. The incentive behind non-profits is to spread awareness regarding their mission and to announce charity events along with maintaining relationships with their donors and supporters.
The right email marketing tools speed up the process and create relevant segments to target when it comes to newsletters and other email activities. The right email marketing strategy not only revolves around developing and sharing compelling content but also seeks to reach out to new supporters and ensure their message is spread across and disseminated properly.
Are you looking for resources to sky-rocket your email campaign performance?
Sunan Designs has the best tools and resources for you to check out. Make the email marketing process easier and streamlined with our compiled resources. Whether it’s tailored messaging, or segmenting your target audience, you’ll experience a high open and click-through rate, with excellent conversions.