Expert advice from Mandy O’Neill, chief strategist and founder, ConnectedNonprofit. Mandy is a 13-year veteran of using online tools including websites, email, social media, and mobile technologies to build targeted digital relationships for nonprofit organizations and individuals. Mandy speaks, blogs, trains, and provides creative direction for nonprofit organizations to achieve well-defined, high value goals using online tools.
Want more? Here are two webinars full of things you can do right away to make your email marketing sing:
What is the single-most important thing to think about in email marketing?
Emails are all about the reader. When your emails focus on your reader, your reader’s role in your mission, how your reader will be perceived, or how they will feel, or what special group they are part of in your mission, they will absolutely perform better. You definitely have to make the “theory of change” case that your mission is achievable, the problem is fixable, but always make sure your donor is clear about their role in that change.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see organizations making with email outreach?
The biggest areas of opportunity is in recruiting and converting new leads using email. It’s super-easy to fix this. A great welcome series of two or three high-value emails can boost your conversion rate tremendously. If you haven’t converted within 2 weeks to 30 days, your lead will go cold. The other pain point for many organizations is just having an email plan that offers consistent communication and consistent revenue while taking good care of your subscribers.
What is the role of email marketing now that there are so many other ways to reach people?
Email marketing is stronger than ever. When you think about it, email is the preferred communication channel for business, so we’re accustomed to taking action based on email. It’s a habit. Open rates are slightly up. Click through rates are holding steady, even though volume keeps growing every year. The fruition of mobile helps email performance because so many people now read your email immediately because it’s in their hand. Volume-wise, Facebook and Twitter combined make up just 0.2% of the number of emails sent each day. Every web search made on every search engine every day equals just 1/100th of daily email traffic; and all the pages viewed on the entire web each day—including images and videos—use only a quarter of the bandwidth consumed by email.
How can I increase open rates on my emails?
- Relevant, consistent messaging segmented to your audience based on interest, or geography, or online behavior.
- A really compelling subject line or “promise” for opening the email.
- Your “From” needs to be from a recognizable human in your organization, not the organization name.
That said, actual conversion is the better metric to watch and improve. How many people are acting once they open? That’s the true measure of a great email campaign.
Any other tips?
Great copywriting is the make or break of your email campaigns. The more you hone your craft, the higher performing your email campaigns will be. Nonprofit and business alike, your email readers buy “benefits” not features. Just because you’re a nonprofit, you don’t get a pass on this one. Always, always, make sure your email is about how important your donor is to your mission, or the other benefit for your reader, 100% tax deductible.
An easy rule way to do this is what I call the “one sentence that will change your copywriting forever.” Short and difficult to word, but once you get it, it will guide all great copywriting.
We *donor and organization together* help *beneficiary* = *benefit.*