5 tips to improve nonprofit emails

It used to be that nonprofits relied on fundraising galas and direct-mail to solicit donations. But now, many nonprofits are using email marketing as a fundraising tool.

Email marketing accounted for 26 percent of all online donations in 2016, according to M+R Benchmarks, which tracks online fundraising and advocacy for nonprofits.

To maximize your marketing efforts, here are five tips to improve your emails:

1. Send a variety of emails

Nonprofits need donations and volunteers, but that doesn’t mean every email you send has to ask for support. You should send a variety of emails. From newsletters to gratitude emails, you want to engage with your audience:

  • Welcome email: When a new contact signs up for your email list, greet him or her with a welcome email.
  • Gratitude email: When you receive donations, make sure to thank each supporter with a gratitude email.
  • Explainer video: Show your supporters what you’re working on by sending a link to a video that explains a new project or your mission. 
  • Newsletter: On a regular basis, keep your followers up to date with a newsletter. 
  • Stewardship email: At the end of a campaign, tell donors how it went. For example, in Red Cross email below, the organization lets donors know how their support was used in 2017. 

Red Cross email example

2. Vary your calls to action

Inevitably, you will send emails that ask for donations or support of some kind. Many nonprofits use “Donate Now” as the go-to call to action, but there are other phrases you can use that sound less like a plea for money. The next time you create a donation-based email, consider using a call to action from this list:

  • Join Us Now
  • Take Action
  • Get Involved Today
  • Join the Fight
  • Help Now
  • Support Your Animal Humane Society (change to your nonprofit’s name)
  • Give the Gift of Food (alter to fit the service you provide)
  • Send a Military Care Package Now (alter to fit a specific package you provide)

Sonoma Humane society email with "Help Now" Call to action

3. Add an attention-grabbing image

As a nonprofit, one of the best ways to encourage your audience to get involved is to show them how they can help. Supporters are more likely to help your cause if they can relate to it on a human level. Try to include an image that shows the need that your nonprofit meets or showcases what your organization has accomplished.

SF Marin Food Bank with attention grabbing image of woman standing in front of food shelves

4. Select one or two readable fonts

When you create an email, you have a multitude of fonts to select from. To ensure your audience can read your email, select clear fonts. Stay away from typefaces that use symbols or hard-to-read scripted letters. You’ll also want to limit the number of fonts you use in each email to only one or two.

Here’s a quick list of go-to fonts that are easy to read across devices:

  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Arial
  • Rockwell
  • Gil Sans
  • Cambria
  • Helvetica

5. Pick a color scheme

Think of an email as an outfit. When you get dressed in the morning, you select colors that match or complement each other. The same is true for your email color scheme. Pick two (maybe three) colors to use throughout the email.

The ASPCA sticks with orange and gray, which helps their cute and fluffy imagery stand out and makes that all-important DONATE button pop.

ASPCA Email with orange and white color scheme

With these tactics, your nonprofit organization will be sending even better emails in no time. Looking for even more nonprofit help? You’ll find it in this guide.

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© 2018, Sonia Mansfield. All rights reserved.

The post 5 tips to improve nonprofit emails appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Rev up your retail business with these post-holiday emails

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday and of course all of the other year-end holidays, marketers send more emails in November and December than any other time of the year. And though there is a natural and expected dip in email volume after the holiday season, you don’t want to lose all of that great momentum that you’ve built. In January and February, it’s important to continue to engage with your audience and present them with exciting, relevant messages and — most importantly — encourage them to make a purchase.

To beat that post-holiday slump and keep your email marketing program on track, these are the five emails that your retail business should be sending.

Win-back campaign

Start your year strong by re-engaging inactive subscribers. A win-back campaign is used to appeal to contacts who may have signed up for your list months ago but haven’t opened or clicked on any of your messages in a while. Studies show that 45 percent of people who receive a win-back email will read subsequent emails.

Review your contact list and holiday season metrics, and then reach out to that segment of subscribers who haven’t recently engaged with your shop’s messages. And make sure to offer a special not-to-be-missed discount. Threadless, an online T-shirt shop, sent a win-back email to subscribers who didn’t open the company’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails. The copy is playful and the 50 percent discount is a major incentive to click that CTA button.

Resolution helper

Encourage your customers to keep their resolutions by promoting products that will help them achieve their goals for the new year. Exercising more, learning a new skill, getting organized — these are common resolutions. And as a retailer, you likely sell a product that will enable your customers to make good on one of these promises.

Free People sent out a new year inspiration email, highlighting their athletic apparel which speaks to people who are focused on becoming healthier.

The following email from Petco points out two specific resolutions — “resolve to get your ZZZs” and “resolve to get active together” — and then offers discounts on products that will help animal lovers meet those goals.

Best sellers

We’ve said it here before: Your customers like knowing which of your products are popular. This is why “best sellers” is such a powerful marketing term. After the holidays, you’re likely already reviewing your store’s year-end performance, so use that data to create a best sellers email. You can offer a discount on these customer favorites or simply create a “best of the year” list, as Forever 21 has done.

Old Navy takes their campaign to the next level by incorporating actual customer testimonials into the email.

Trend report

While the best-seller email looks back at the previous year, a trend report showcases the must-haves of the upcoming season. Use this email to highlight your newest, most buzz-worthy products and to get your subscribers excited about your brand in the new year. This ASOS email references a current fashion trend (slogan tops and tees) and features two on-trend shirts that the shop sells.

Cold weather-themed promotions

Jack Frost doesn’t stop nipping at noses once the holidays are over. January and February bring some of the coldest temperatures for most cities in the United States. You can connect with the subscribers dealing with the winter chill by sending out weather-themed promotions. Jacket and boot sales are the obvious choice for clothing retailers who want to help their customers beat the cold. A health food store or grocer could offer discounts on specialty teas or hot chocolate, while a hardware store might highlight products that help customers weatherproof their homes.

Noco promotes their battery chargers by making sure their readers know how important it is to keep batteries juiced up during the last few months of winter.

If you’re a retailer experiencing the post-holiday email marketing blues, remember there are many creative ways to reconnect with your subscribers. Although the frequency of the messages you send may drop after December, the energy and immediacy you bring to your campaigns should remain constant. Use your post-holiday emails to dazzle your customers, re-engage them and make sure they understand why they should be visiting your business all year long.

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© 2018, Amber Humphrey. All rights reserved.

The post Rev up your retail business with these post-holiday emails appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.