3 mistakes to avoid during your next email marketing campaign

Nonprofits are always looking for unique and creative ways to engage donors. With technology today, charities can take advantage of various channels to connect with benefactors on a regular basis.

Yet, even with the proliferation of new and growing digital mediums, email - the grandfather of the information age - still remains strong, sturdy and highly effective. In fact, according to Salesforce's "2015 State of Marketing Report," nearly three-quarters of respondents said that email marketing is core to their business. Another 20 percent of marketers said their primary revenue source is directly linked to email operations.

Nonprofits can reach their target market by leveraging established email lists and collecting new donor information in the process. Asking for referrals from current benefactors is an industry best practice and something that nonprofits want to encourage during an email outreach campaign.

On the other hand, here are three things that charitable organizations want to avoid during an email marketing campaign:

  1. A boring subject line: The subject line is the first thing donors see when they receive an email from a nonprofit organization. Similar to a handshake in real life, the subject line is the immediate first impression someone gets once they open your message. Recent data from social media consulting firm Convince and Convert found that one-third of email recipients open messages based on the subject line alone. Another 69 percent of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line. This is the small window of opportunity that nonprofits have to capture the reader's attention, so they have to make it count. 
  2. No call to action: If a nonprofit can create a powerful subject line that draws the reader to open their email, they've won half the battle. But it's imperative that you include a call to action in your messaging, otherwise the message will go straight into the trash bin. A common call to action is encouraging donors to check out a charity's online donation page or another landing page on the website that promotes or explains the nonprofit's mission statement. Similarly, nonprofits shouldn't limit the options of an email recipient. A "do-not-reply" domain screams automation and lacks any personal touch that may encourage donors to explore a nonprofit's website. 
  3. Sending too many emails: Nonprofits have to find that perfect balance between sending too many emails during an outreach campaign and not sending enough. That happy medium can be hard to achieve, but it's a good rule of thumb to send only one or two each week, at the most. By contrast, sending one every six months isn't nearly enough and your donation results will suffer as a result. That sweet spot will likely vary depending on the industry and donor base, but nonprofits that aim for informative and consistent content that adds value to their donors will be in good shape. It's important to stay top of mind, but you don't want to be annoying and force the donor to unsubscribe.
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