What nonprofits can do to personalize email marketing

With a greater number of organizations working to integrate marketing automation tools, one area charitable foundations should focus on is email personalization. Citing a recent study conducted by digital communications tool provider Harris Interactive, eMarketer highlighted the fact that personalized emails have a substantial influence on the behavior of the people reading them.

More relevance necessary
According to the research, 81 percent of online shoppers in the survey indicated they would likely make an additional purchase if the emails contained content specifically targeted at their interests. While this research is geared toward purchasing habits, a similar approach can be taken with donors. One way to accomplish this is by providing individuals with information or content regarding community where they live, or a location that is particularly important to them.

Digital tools can help nonprofits get personal
With donor management software, charitable groups can identify these sorts of preferences from past contributions and any communication a donor has had with a nonprofit. However, there are also a number of software tools that organizations can utilize to create donor-specific email messages. Many charitable foundations have a diverse and disparate contributor base, but location-specific marketing automation tools provide an opportunity to send messaging that correlates to a donor's location. For example, if a nonprofit organization is holding a fundraiser in a particular city or town, it's a smart idea for charities to target interested donors or prospects that live in the area. This strategy could be used to recruit volunteers or draw the attention of a community of donors.

Keep fastidious records
Making sure this tactic will work also requires nonprofits to maintain an updated database of donor information. One of the simplest ways to make sure emails are personalized is including the correct email address and ensure names are updated. If donors or members have gotten married or divorced, they may change their names. Nonprofits need to be sure this information is up to date in their records if they want their personalized messages to have a positive impact.

At the same time, if the content of email messaging has greater relevance, recipients will be more willing to handle an increased number of appeals. According to the eMarketer article, 82 percent of respondents would be at least somewhat willing to accept more emails if they're personalized. Although nonprofits probably shouldn't depend on e-blasts to get information to donors and volunteers, targeted and relevant appeals give organizations more flexibility to send out email marketing messages.

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