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For more than 15 years, the Center for Economic Growth has operated as a regional economic- and business-development organization in New York’s Tech Valley region, which spans 18 counties. Through much of its his-tory, CEG had no consistent way to communicate with its funding partners, members, clients or the general community. Then, a few years ago, it switched to e-mail marketing.
Currently, CEG deals with the postal service for only two of its dozens of events throughout the year. And even then, it mails to only a fraction of its total subscriber list. As for non-event messages, CEG uses e-mail exclusively.
As a result, the organization saves more than $100,000 a year in postage and countless staff hours. In the program’s first year, event attendance leapt by 75 percent. In subsequent years, the organization increased its e-mail subscriber base from 1,400 to more than 10,000 registered recipients.
Saving time and money
With fewer people donating money and time to nonprofit ventures, and with the remaining contributors giving less, CEG considers its e-marketing program a success on two fronts: reaching more people more effectively and using increasingly scant resources — money and time — more efficiently.
Whereas CEG previously used mailings to promote events and collected fees at the door, it now offers online event registration with online payment within e-mail invitations. The time necessary to draft, discuss and distribute a message was reduced from one week to approximately one or two hours. And CEG now can easily send follow-up e-mail to recipients who don’t respond to initial invitations.
With an innovative reporting function, the organization tracks the number of e-mails sent, opened and forwarded, as well as the number of users who clicked on embedded links. This provides valuable market information, including everything from which subject lines are most enticing to the best time to send e-mail.