Content and control: Key to successful charity email marketing: Part 1

As all of the profit a charity makes is what actually goes to the charity, keeping costs down whilst not losing out on income is important.

This is where email marketing comes in.

As we all know it’s cheaper and more measurable than any other kind of marketing but you need to bear in mind what its strengths are to get the best from it, email’s usefulness for dedicated acquisition is poor – you can’t email a stranger because you don’t have permission.

Email is at its best when converting interested parties into loyal fans and keeping them engaged. This works especially well with events which is often where a charity will see the large bursts of donations from.

In the first part of my two part series on successful charity email marketing, I will look at the best way to use email to convert interested parties into a loyal fanbase with content and control (or the giving up of it).

Getting your content out there

To start with you want to encourage people to sign up to your list (a show and tell of content they’ll receive will hugely increase you sign ups) and you can then send a monthly email with links to all of your awesome content; success stories, recent events, future events, where the money is actually going, political influences onto charities, celebrity involvement the list goes on…

The next step is to give people more control and options over what they get, when and how often.

Give people control over the frequency of emails

On the frequency side it depends on how often you get new content on your website. Let’s say you have enough for a large email every month or a smaller amount to email every week, give your recipients the choice as to whether they opt in to the weekly update and/or the monthly digest.

You could even give them the option to get emailed every time there is new content if you want (if you do this then you’ll probably want it to be automated – a decent website CMS and RSS feed helps there).

Look out for the second part of this blog coming soon where I will look at what people actually want to receive in an email, dependent on such factors as geographical location, as well as how a charity can use a preference centre to manage its subscriptions.