Tips for Integrating Social Media and E-mail Strategy
In the recent FundRaising Success webinar E-mail Strategies for Driving Donations held at the end of October, Christina Johns, senior manager of direct-response television and social media for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and Allison Van Diest, senior product marketing manager for Blackbaud, shared how strong segmentation can drive great e-mail strategy and how social media can fit into e-mail strategy.
Johns shared a handful of applicable tips on this latter topic that nonprofit fundraisers trying to integrate e-mail and social media might find helpful.
She stressed that e-mail is not dying. It's still needed for a handful of tasks, which include password confirmations/changes; professional correspondence; bank alerts; and to join social networks. And social media is not replacing e-mail. Rather, it's an outlet to use e-mail messaging and to test new ideas. Social media, Johns said, can increase traffic to your Web site and grow e-mail lists, and it gives you an opportunity to listen to your supporters, competitors and critics, and learn how to be more effective in e-mail fundraising.
Some keys to making e-messages more socially friendly are:
- enabling people to share content through various channels, not just a "forward to a friend" button;
- sending only well-crafted messages;
- segmenting and testing how social media audiences respond to different kinds of e-mail messaging;
- keeping messaging true to your brand; and
- making it possible for e-mail campaigns to go viral, moving from your inbox to being tweeted in real time.
Social media is great for getting traffic to your site, but make sure you are ready for visitors when they arrive, Johns stressed. Some ways to do that are:
- keep e-mail capture above the fold on your homepage;
- include e-mail capture on the homepage and interior pages; and
- keep the sign-up form short and simple.
Organizations also should engage new and existing supporters. Some ways to do this are after they sign up for an e-mail on your official Web site, or adding "share this" and bookmark tools to existing landing pages and blogs.
Some keys to creating content that people want to share are:
- Be specific, unique and brief. Calls to action should be like: support a family; start a new program to protect at-risk youth; or send a relief package to those in need.
- Create a sense of urgency with deadlines and petitions. These types of e-mails can easily be embedded in social-media sites like a Facebook fan's page.
- Provide a retweet button. Make tweeting easy by adding the retweet button to e-newsletters, appeals, videos, blogs, anything you feel is worth sharing.
"You might not know or expect that a particular story is going to be of interest to people, [but] if it is, you want to allow them to share it," Johns said.
Create better targeted e-mail messages by monitoring what your supporters are interested in and discussing. Listen with Google Alerts, technorati, Twitter and RSS; participate using Twitter and coComment; generate buzz using Digg, Twitter, StumbleUpon and FriendFeed; share content using Blogger, YouTube and Flickr; and network using Ning, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.
Click here to learn about upcoming FundRaising Success webinars.