This post contributed by Hillary Mohaupt.
Many organizations have moved away from printing paper newsletters in favor of electronic mailings to communicate with constituents and donors. The two kinds of communication channels are two completely different animals, and making the shift to digital mailings might seem daunting. Here are ten tips for creating a stellar email marketing campaign—or for improving your current email campaigns:
- Use an e-mail marketing program, like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. These programs allow you to track the success of each email campaign, coordinate with your website, evaluate what works in an email campaign, manage your contact lists, and target your mailings. They also let you schedule emails ahead of time, allowing you to design and execute an email marketing plan with ease.
- Stick to a schedule. Determine when your readers are most likely to open their emails and make sure you get your emails in their inbox at the optimal time. Then send your emails consistently, so that your readers begin to expect an insightful, helpful email from you at a particular time.
- Create an email marketing plan. Determine your goals for email marketing. How can you meet those goals? Who do you want to contact? What unique information do you want your emails to convey?
- Tell a story. Human beings are story creatures – we connect with other people through stories. Make sure your story is transfers value, communicating the importance of your organization or project in your community.
- Include a call to action. What do you want readers to do when they finish reading your newsletter?
- Make it easy for readers to donate to your cause or organization. Include a link to your donation page and/or contact information for the person in charge of fundraising, to provide more information about long-term planning for gifts.
- Connect to your social media outlets and your website. Include a brief piece of articles in your newsletter and link to the full version on your website. Once there, readers are more likely to explore the rest of what you have to offer.
- Build your contact list constantly! Add a sign-up form to your Facebook page and have a hard-copy sign-up list at all marketing events. Just make sure you have every contact’s permission to add them to your mailing list. No one likes to receive unwanted mail, and sending unwanted email will only hurt your reputation.
- Use photos or other graphics when possible. One of the great things about e-newsletters is that you don’t have to worry about the extra cost of printing in color!
- Be brief.
Hillary Mohaupt is a freelance writer, editor and communications professional with a passion for helping non-profit organizations share their stories. Want help managing your electronic communications? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hillarymohaupt.wordpress.com.