Four Strategies for Effective Member E-mails
It’s vital for organizations with members to communicate regularly with their constituents. However, with high printing costs and time restraints, keeping in regular contact with members can be pricey. With limited budgets and resources, organizations often must get creative in the ways they reach out to supporters.
An ideal way to reach your database is through e-mail marketing. E-mail marketing helps nonprofits and associations connect with members while spending a small amount of time and an even smaller amount of money. E-mail marketing costs fractions of a penny per e-mail and is an immediate form of communication, allowing recipients to respond directly from an e-mail campaign usually with just a click.
E-mail marketing also allows for quick, easy assessment of campaigns. Most e-mail marketing solutions offer automated tracking and measurement tools, allowing organizations to easily measure the effectiveness of their e-marketing initiatives. It’s critical to measure campaign elements that are working well and those that are not.
Most importantly, if you want to gets results, your communications need to inspire your audience to action. To do so, you need to spend time and energy ensuring that what you are communicating is valuable to those receiving it. Following are a few guidelines for effective e-mail campaigns:
1) Be interesting. You might have a lot to communicate, but your first priority is to engage your audience. You need to make a connection. You need to know your audience. Your point of connection could be a personal story, an example of the impact of your organization or a funny story from a recent event. Making your e-mail communications a little fun isn’t a necessity, but it definitely can get you bonus points.
People are bombarded with e-mails every day, so you want to make sure your members have something interesting to read. Including content that is easy to read and enjoyable ensures your members will look forward to receiving your e-mails. Be creative. Come up with ideas that work best for your organization. An interesting case study or a funny anecdote goes a long way in making sure your members open and read your e-mails.
2) Send timely communications. Connect with something your members care about right now. What time of year is it? An e-mail about a Christmas fundraising campaign won’t get much interest in July. But if you distribute it in November, your members already have the upcoming holiday in mind, thus increasing your chances of reaching the anticipated goal.
3) Include a clear call to action. The call to action is an essential component of your e-mail because it answers three important questions for your members: What you want them to do; why they should do it; and how to take that next step. Make sure that whatever you’re asking them to do (e.g., make a donation or volunteer) is clear, concise and easily noticeable in your e-mail. One call to action per e-mail communication is most effective. Placing call-to-action phrases along with links or phone numbers in the beginning, middle and end of the e-mail will help ensure your members know how to act on your message.
4) Make your e-mails relevant. Relevant e-mails garner better response. The more your e-mail communications relate to your members, the more effective they will be in reaching your desired outcome or goal.
Gail Goodman is chief executive officer of permission-based e-mail marketing solutions provider Constant Contact. She can be reached via www.constantcontact.com