Email is by far one of the most effective, yet inexpensive, ways to maintain interest and momentum in your organization and its work. Email-based communications provide you with the means to run an ongoing "conversation" with your key constituents - the media, donors, volunteers, etc. - without having to invest great amounts of time and money. Some tactics to ensure a successful e-communications strategy include:
Build an E-mail Subscriber Base
Collect e-mail address and other information wherever and whenever you can. You can collect this information from newsletter subscriptions, donation forms, requests for information, direct mail, inbound phone calls, etc. Use this information to build a subscriber base and start communicating electronically. It will save you time and will allow you to communicate more frequently.
A great pace to start reaching out to supporters is with an e-newsletter. An e-newsletter will provide you with the opportunity to inform subscribers on your activities and to encourage them to get involved.
Expand to Personalized Communications
Over time, you can progress beyond simple e-newsletters to more advanced communication vehicles. Use the information you collect about your subscribers and generate personalized messages to them that include news and opportunities specific to their location and interests. You will find that such customization will yield great conversion rates and results.
Clear Opt-in and Opt-out Options
Have very explicit opt-in and opt-out options. Users need to feel they are being respected and that they have control over their personal information. Be responsive to these requests, and respectful of the people making them.
Vary Emails in Length/Appearance
Test different versions of e-mail communications to determine which formats and content items appeal most to your end users. Continually experiment to see which formats and layouts generate the most traffic, the most "pass-alongs", and the most conversions (to donations or volunteer requests).
If possible, send your email communications in HTML format. HTML e-mail is proven to generate more clicks and more conversions (whatever they may be). HTML e-mails also provide more tracking information (e.g. clicks). You may want to provide users the choice of text or HTML e-mails when they register to receive your newsletter - the more control they feel they have, the better.
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