A thoughtful email strategy can mean good news for your marketing budget. Last year, the Direct Marketing Association estimated the return on every dollar spent with email was over $40 – that's the highest of all the marketing channels. With that ray of statistical sunshine in mind, here are five ways your nonprofit can take advantage of email's value:
Reduce other costs.On top of having a high ROI, email can cut costs elsewhere. Look at what you're currently printing – a monthly newsletter, donor thank you notes, fundraiser invitations – and ask yourself, "Could this be emailed instead?" (But not out loud. There are better office nicknames than The Postcard Whisperer.) Save time, too, with trigger emails that automatically welcome new subscribers or follow up around important dates. It'll free up staff resources to focus on your programs, donors and events.
Get valuable information.Everybody's crunching numbers a little more diligently these days, looking for trends, patterns, or, in freak cases, practice with long division. With the right email technology, you can measure your email numbers, too. When you know who's opening, clicking and forwarding your email, as well as which links were most popular, you'll be able to spot stand-out case studies or potential donors who'd likely respond well to a followup call. You can even add Google Analytics tracking and easily track activity beyond your email clicks.
Build loyalty.With so much vying for your subscribers' attention (and wallets) these days, keeping your supporters engaged and informed is more important than ever. Regular email campaigns give you an easy, friendly way to remind your subscribers why they love and support your cause. Make a point to highlight your nonprofit's mission. Reward your email subscribers with advanced news or VIP fundraiser passes, and use features like social sharing to empower them to share your campaigns with their networks. Oh, and be personal. The more your subscribers identify with you and the people you serve, the more likely they'll be to support you.
Sell advertisements.Offering ad sponsorships in your email newsletter is a fantastic way to cover the costs of your newsletter. With a little up-front work to decide on rates, pick a layout and spread the word about the sponsorship opportunity, you'll have uncovered another way your email campaigns can bring value to your overall marketing efforts.
Do it all the right way.As you refine your email strategy, don't stray off the path of email marketing's best practices. It may be tempting to do something brash, like buy or rent a list (ick!) or send every other day (ack!). Keep your focus on a smart, permission-based approach, and you'll continue to see more value for your nonprofit, your sending reputation and your results.
Get more practical advice for nonprofit email marketing in our Quick Tips video.