Using 4 Online Tools to Inspire Volunteers and Donors, Part 3
[Editor’s note: This is the third and final part of a three-part series on the session, “Get Heard: Using Online Tools to Inspire Volunteers and Donors,” by Erik Mintz, director of event marketing at Constant Contact, held at the Nonprofit Technology Conference. Click here for part 1 and here for part 2.]
“If you do e-mail marketing right, it can really grow your business,” Mintz said. “If not, people will think you’re spam.”
You certainly do not want your e-mails to be filtered as spam, so make sure to avoid sending unsolicited and unwanted e-mails, e-mails from an unknown sender, and e-mails with dubious or no opt-out. If donors and supporters see your e-mails as spam, connecting with them online becomes that much more difficult.
Why is e-mail so important? Two reasons, Mintz said:
- Almost everyone your organization needs to reach reads e-mail. According to eMarketer, 91 percent of Internet users ages 18-64 send or read e-mail, an even higher number of users ages 65 or older do the same, and 147 million people across the country use e-mail — most of them every day.
- It’s more cost-effective compared to direct mail. According to Forrester Research, for the same response, direct mail costs 20 times as much as e-mail, and according to the Direct Marketing Association, e-mail return on investment is the highest when compared to other Internet marketing mediums.
The key to effective e-mail marketing is delivering professional e-mail communications to an interested audience containing information it finds valuable. To help you do that, e-mail marketing services automate these best practices:
- Provide easy-to-use templates.
- Address e-mail to recipients only.
- Manage lists.
- Include social share tools.
- Include Join My Mailing List.
- Include social-media sign-up icons.
- Improve e-mail delivery and tracking.
Before you embark on an e-mail marketing campaign, Mintz suggested asking yourself these questions:
- Do repeat and referral donors help your organization?
- Do you have a plan for delivering multiple communications?
- Is your audience interested in your message, and is it valuable to your audience?
- Can you make your e-mails look professional and reflect your brand?
- Do you have an e-mail service provider to help manage your strategy?
From there, it’s important to be able to track your e-mail communications. Important metrics include bounce rate, spam reports, opt-outs, opens, clicks, forwards, as well as social stats and tracking the calls to action. E-mail marketing is a vital cog in nonprofit communications, so make sure you do it right and track it, Mintz said.