It seems like every day brings a new outlet for marketing. Nonprofits have to keep track of social media, local print advertising, events, blog posts, website SEO, pay-per-click advertising, business listings, and more. We’re lucky if we have time to attend to two or three of those outlets.
The burning question for the nonprofit agency becomes: Am I putting my energy and resources into the most impactful form of advertising?
The Best Return on Investment
While a lot of us have been running after social media as an acquisition tool, we’ve moved away from (or never gotten started with) the workhorse of online marketing: email.
Email marketing has been declared dead a time or two and yet it continues to deliver one of the best performances around. When done right, email marketers can see a $44 ROI for every dollar spent. That’s a good return.
How to Make It Happen
Making email marketing a part of your overall marketing plan doesn’t have to be onerous. Start with a solid foundation. Sign up for a free account with an email marketing provider like MailChimp. Add a signup box to your website and mention your free monthly newsletter wherever you can. Start small and build your audience organically; don’t be discouraged by low numbers at first.
Set a goal of producing one 300-word article each month. Rather than focusing on the “ask,” make the article about your donor or recipient. What makes them feel like heroes? Publish that article on your website.
From that article, you can spin an email newsletter and social media posts. Your goal is to inform and enrich but also to lead potential donors or recipients back to your website where you can present them with a call-to-action like volunteering time, donating or providing their contact information in exchange for a free gift or digital download.
Subscribers are looking for information that answers their questions or makes them feel good. Make sure the content you’re producing always has their perspective in mind. They’ll look forward to hearing from you.
Bringing it Home
Email marketing is an opportunity to build relationships. It elicits comments and questions from the audience and can be a beginning of establishing trust. Your email audience and the connection you build belongs to you. It’s not the digital sharecropping of social media. The return will make the time you invest well worth the effort.