Sometimes, email marketing feels like a
game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey: When
you can’t see your target, your chances of
hitting it are slim.
Luckily, benchmarks and metrics can
point you in the right direction, according to email marketing firm MailChimp,
which recently surveyed 570 million
emails sent by its customers in order to
establish email marketing benchmarks by
industry — including the nonprofit sector, for which its findings were:
•;Average;Soft;Bounce;Rate: 1. 13
To help associations improve their
email marketing performance alongside
industry benchmarks, MailChimp offers
the following tips:
1. Use;simple;subject;lines. When
you write your subject line, don’t sell
what’s inside; tell what’s inside.
2. Control;your;vocabulary. To get past
spam filters, avoid using “spammy”
keywords and phrases, and avoid
using all caps or too many exclamation points.
3. Refresh;your;list. Too many hard
bounces is a sign of an old, stale list.
People change email addresses every
few months. Make sure you keep in
touch with your list at least once a
quarter so they can stay subscribed
to your emails.
4. Be;persistent. Soft bounces usually
mean the recipient is "temporarily
unavailable." Maybe they're on vacation
or their mailbox is full. You can keep
those emails and re-try them later.
5. Investigate;hard;bounces. Hard
bounces mean an email address
failed. Maybe it no longer exists, or
maybe someone typed their email
wrong when they subscribed to a
list. But hard bounces might also be
spam filter rejections. If you see an
abnormally high number of bounces
after a campaign, you should read
your bounce-back records for any
messages or "clues" from spam filters.
6. Avoid;anonymity. Abuse complaints
happen when recipients click the
"this is spam" button in their email
programs. That usually means they
don't remember you. Make sure your
"From" and "Subject" lines contain
your organization’s name so recipients will instantly recognize you.
Although the Chinese calendar says it’s
the year of the dragon, most marketing
experts agree that 2012 is actually the
year of the smartphone.
Indeed, “social” is quickly giving way
to “mobile,” and smart organizations are
taking notice, suggests Doug Plank, CEO
of MobileCause, a Calabasas, Calif.-based
provider of mobile solutions for nonprofits. Based on his work with nonprofit
clients, he offers the following tips for
successfully launching a mobile marketing strategy:
1. Start;building;mobile;lists. Collect
mobile numbers alongside email
addresses from everyone who opts
in to your mailing list. “What development professional wouldn’t want
access to the most effective ubiquitous communication device being
carried by literally every current and
prospective donor, board member
and person they serve? Open rates
for text messaging of [more than] 95
percent should be incentive enough.
Compare those rates to the decreasing email open rate of 35 percent and
diminishing direct mail rates of single digits... Start somewhere — even
with your most loyal donors, current
staff and volunteers.”
2. Test;the;waters. Begin testing members’ receptivity to joining a mobile
list and the types of messaging that
will appeal to them. “Always keep