A consistent email marketing programs helps for-profits and nonprofits to stay top-of-mind amongst their target audiences. Email marketing can play a vital role in keeping new content – such as organizational news and blog posts – in front of clients and prospects, as well as reinforcing expert positioning. When developing an email marketing campaign for your company or cause be sure to avoid these pitfalls and missteps:
Missing the mark on personalization
When done right, personalization can help to increase your email marketing success rate. Data from Aberdeen Group shows that personalized emails have 14 percent higher click rates and 10 percent higher open rates than their generic counterparts.
Unfortunately, missing the mark on personalization can have the opposite effect. When you receive an email in your inbox that starts “Dear Bob” and you have no idea who Bob is, it does little to build your trust in a brand. You go from feeling like the company or cause knows you as a person to feeling like one more email address amidst a growing database of stakeholders. If you’re going to go the route of personalizing your emails, be sure your list is up-to-date and that the email that was addressed to Bob makes its way to him – not to Susie, Johnny or the last person who signed up for your e-newsletter.
Not segmenting your list
Companies and causes alike have different audiences with whom they engage. What may be relevant to an existing customer may be of little to no interest to a prospective client. Similarly, the news that is most salient to your nonprofit’s pool of volunteers may have little impact on your donors. Unless you are sending out a monthly or quarterly newsletter that contains content relevant to all of your target audiences, segmenting your email marketing lists is highly recommended. This will allow you to tailor communications to specific audiences, which offers the opportunity to increase open rates, click throughs and conversions.
Flooding people’s inboxes
While consistency is key, you don’t want subscribers to feel overwhelmed by the volume of emails that you are sending. Whether it’s an e-newsletter or email drip campaign, be strategic about your timing and ensure the subject line appropriately manages recipients’ expectations for the content they will be consuming.
Not being responsive
Surprisingly, there are still email marketing templates available that are not responsive. By not using a responsive template for your e-newsletters and e-blasts, you hinder recipients’ ability to easily consume your content from tablets, smartphones and other small screen devices. Bottom line: a responsive email marketing template is a must.
Emphasizing creativity over clarity
We all like content that grabs our attention and makes us think. We are drawn to things that are unique and often take joy in the unexpected. However, if we don’t know what someone is talking about, it’s hard to measure the ROI on something that is creative. When crafting your email marketing campaigns, focus on writing headlines that are clear yet catchy and including content that is easy to consume and of value to your subscribers.
Emails are sent from a silo
Marketing programs are continuing to become increasingly integrated, which requires marketing calendars to be reflective of all activities that are occurring. In the spirit of not overwhelming people, you want to be sure that the invitation to register for your signature event, your monthly e-newsletter and an exciting announcement about a new program or initiative aren’t hitting people’s inboxes back-to-back and leading to content overload. Ensure the team members who are responsible for your organization’s email marketing program are looped in on other marketing initiatives to ensure all activities are aligned and executed with the optimal chances for success.
A well-executed email marketing campaign can help to keep subscribers engaged, upsell existing clients and cultivate new donors and volunteers. On the flip side, an email marketing initiative that is sporadic, off-brand and not targeted appropriately can frustrate subscribers and negatively impact perceptions of your brand. As with any marketing activity, it is important to prioritize initiatives and commit only to those activities which you have the bandwidth to sustain.
Great emails blend compelling content, captivating calls-to-action and strong visuals to engage readers. If you’re looking to up the visual appeal of your email marketing, among other marketing assets, our guide to visual marketing is full of helpful tips. Download your copy today.