February 20, 2013

How to successfully harness your email list for your cause

Tips for getting the most out of email marketing

This is the second of a two-part series. Also see:
How to use your Facebook page to build your nonprofit’s email list

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations and advocates, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, marketers.

Guest post by Susannah Vila

Collecting email addresses and using them to mobilize your supporters is one of the simplest but most important tactics for online organizing.

As Ricken Patel, founder of Avaaz, told us, “Someone operating out of their bedroom can do this better than a multimillion-dollar organization with a huge staff.”

Before you get started, though, look over these tips for how best to turn a list of e-mails into a powerful tool for activism. Continue reading

October 18, 2012

8 ways to get more from your nonprofit’s email marketing strategy


Image by Rangizzz on BigStockPhoto.com

Boost your email marketing power through personalized communication

This is the second of a two-part series. Also see:
5 easy ways to integrate email marketing and Facebook

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, general public.

John HaydonLike social media, email marketing is where you nurture constituent relationships. But e-mail is different from social media in a few critical areas:

Privacy and Intimacy: E-mail is not a public channel like Twitter or Facebook. Opting into your list is an agreement to enter a private and intimate relationship with you, by way of their inbox. There is no public audience to your conversations. It’s one-on-one and very private.

Segmentation: The core principle of e-mail marketing is segmentation, adding people to specific lists based on their interests and actions. Segmentation ultimately allows you to create highly receptive messages. You can’t do this with Twitter or Facebook. Continue reading

October 16, 2012

5 easy ways to integrate email marketing and Facebook

Five tips for bringing all of your messaging together

This is the first of a two-part series. Also see:
8 ways to get more from your nonprofit’s email marketing strategy

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, general public.

John HaydonGrowing an email list in addition to building a Facebook fan base can sometimes feel overwhelming. This is especially the case if these two endeavors are not well integrated.

To help make things easier, here are five ways that you can integrate your nonprofit email list with social media.

Add an email option form to your Facebook page

1As you deepen your relationships with your Facebook fans, acquiring emails from your most engaged fans is a natural next step.

If you’re using a service like Aweber or Mailchimp, create a web form and add it to a custom tab (see step-by-step instructions).

Make sure you create a new list so that you can easily identify where these subscribers came from, and make sure you give them a very good reason for joining your email list. Continue reading

October 12, 2011

14 ways to improve your email open rate

open rate
Photo by hayesphotography for Big Stock

Your nonprofit’s messages are important. Here’s how to make sure they’re seen

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, brands, marketing professionals.

Guest post by Brett Meyer
Communications Director, NTEN

While you’ve probably worked hard to build a subscriber list for your organization, getting those e-mail addresses is only half the battle. You may be sending out important messages, but your recipients may not be reading. At NTEN we’re on pace to deliver more than 1 million messages in 2011, and we’ve managed to increase our absolute open rate year over year. Based on our experience achieving that growth, here are 14 ways you too can boost your open rate.

1Keep the new names coming in. We’ve made list growth a continuing concern – not just to fight the inevitable churn, but because new subscribers open our messages at a much higher rate. Recent tests from our 28,000-name newsletter list found that the folks we’ve added within the prior month were up to 25% more likely to open the first message.

2Deliver content people want to read. Once you’ve captured somebody’s attention, it’s yours to lose. Make sure you put the requisite effort into making your messages crisp, readable – and interesting. Develop a reputation for giving your constituents what they want, and they’ll be more likely to read your messages out of habit.

3Tell them who it’s from. The “From” line is often the first thing folks look at when your message arrives in their in-box, simply because Westerners read from left to right. We believe e-mail should come from a person, not an organization. We use the format “First Last, Socialbrite.” This sort of format will also help you introduce new staff members to the community as they begin to send out messages.

4Think about your subject line. Subject lines have become even more important as web mail and smartphones have become ubiquitous: The preview pane is disappearing. In general, we try to keep them factual and descriptive of the content of the message. Spend a few minutes thinking about who your audience is and what they’ve responded to in the past. For more, Kivi Leroux Miller has some great tips on writing subject lines.

5Test, test, test. There’s no reason to go with your gut instinct when so many email providers have A/B test functionality this days. (And, even if yours doesn’t, it’s worth the effort to build your own test lists every now and again, especially for your most important messages.) Try some subject line variations on 10-20% of your list, then use the best performer for the rest. Continue reading