email-marketingEmail marketing is a very effective tool when used correctly. It can expand reach and engagement with clients and help build support for various causes or products that may be of interest or value. There are many things to look for when building an effective email marketing campaign. The following is a short guide to five important email-marketing tips for non-profit organizations.

1. Make your email easy to read.

People can be very busy in this day and age. In the midst of it, they will check text messages, social networks, and email a little less often. In the hustle and bustle, individuals have little time to focus on information that comes to their inbox. When an email is opened, it should be simple and easy to read. By wisely using word choices and fonts, the reader should be able to easily identify that main part of your message with a very quick scan of the email. Make your headlines clear with its benefits highlighted.

2. Have a clear call-to-action component within the email.

Once you construct a clear and straightforward email, do not forget to insert a call-to-action. Make the message clear as to what the next step is going to be. Your message should be compelling enough for individuals to feel a need to follow up through the call to action. If the message is not clear and the call to action is not easily found, your email will be ineffective.

3. Send emails often but don’t spam.

Many email marketers fear angering subscribers by sending too many emails. If you’re spacing out your content and sending content that is insightful, helpful and truly valuable, your target audience will not only love it but pass it on. If someone unsubscribes after the first message, they were likely not your target audience in the first place. Always make sure that your messages are interesting and connect with the reader. Steer clear of boring messages that drag on saying absolutely nothing at all. People want to help sound organizations reach their goals and if you provide good information, they’ll jump on board. Focus on creating meaningful conversations and building solid relationships with your clients instead of bombarding them with a sales pitch all of the time.

4. Create text versions to replace your images.

It is very important to use an alternative test with your email images. Sometimes there are times when pictures will not load in the email, or when an email subscriber may not have that capability. Other services may need the client to initiate the showing of images before they download. Whatever the case may be, the alternate text will take the place of the picture. Encourage the user to enable images or encourage the call to action.

5. Links, links, links…and images too!

Providing strategic text and image links is very important within an email. Links and images draw the attention of the reader and make them click, click, click. Text links can lead to a call to action or a related website. Image links can also reinforce the same. This will make your email much more effective.

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With social media taking the Internet by storm, it is easier for non-profit organizations to utilize the sites and their capabilities. Facebook and Twitter are two of the many social media groups that business owners use to market their products and/or services. This is also a great way to advertise without all of the expenses. Below you will find five tips for marketing on a social media site.

1. Know what your communication strategy is or will be.

This will be based on how you will connect the organization’s social media with the website or blog associated with the organization, as well as how are you going to market different promotions that may be on the actual website or blog to the social media site.

2. The organization’s goals in communications should be clear.

You will want to remember to:
a. Engage the community.
b. Retain followers.
c. Acquire new followers.
d. Generate an awareness for the non-profit organization.

3. Get to know who your target audience will be, which can be determined by looking at demographic data and information of the members or customers of your organization.

There is a program that you can use to connect each of your profiles. The program will then determine the demographics of your audiences to make marketing a little bit easier. You can find the program here: Sprout Media.

4. Choose the right social media networks and create a content strategy.

Using a few social media sites to promote your non-profit organization may be more efficient than trying to use many sites at one time. This will allow you to focus on your target audience. To determine what type of content you will be sharing with your audience, always engage your followers and potential new followers. Determine what type of things you want to share. This could be customer ratings or highlights of the business. Also remember that using images or short videos is another great way to attract attention to the non-profit organization. Not every post will need a link; however, this is a great way to drive traffic to the main webpage or blog. Also remember that you won’t want to post so often that you overtake someone’s social media page with marketing information, but you want to post enough to keep the organization fresh in everyone’s mind.

5. Respond to posts, comments, or questions promptly.

Even though there is limited time for non-profit organizations to spend on social media, it is important to respond to your followers, as this cultivates a connection to the non-profit organization and lets the followers know they are being heard. Responding to a comment or question does not need to be formal on social media. However, you want to ensure that you answer any questions or concerns to the best of your ability in the allotted space that is provided to the organization.

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It is always a great idea to have a marketing strategy for your nonprofit organization. Many do not see the value of having one, but marketing for a nonprofit should be similar to a business. While your goals may differ, the same methods are still used to gain support and funding for your organization. Marketing is also seen as very costly, which is a reason why some nonprofit organizations steer clear of it. However, there are several low-cost options that can be used to effectively use web marketing without emptying your entire budget.

Here are five low-cost marketing strategies and tips that can help increase your exposure through web marketing:

1. Create an incredible and memorable site.

First and foremost, develop a fully functional website that represents your organization. If you are serious about your organization, then you want to make sure you have a professional website. While there is nothing wrong with a do-it-yourself website with free hosting, it is not advisable for a serious endeavor. It is better if your website does not include words at the bottom such as “This is an XYZ (free web host) website.”

Also, no matter how small or big your website is, an aesthetically pleasing design and royalty-free photography will give a great impression and bolster trust in your website visitors. You can always make a very small nonprofit organization look magnified with a professionally designed website.

2. Blog often.

Just like having a nice website is important, so is having an updated blog. A blog will allow you to post new and up-to-date happenings within your nonprofit, relevant feature stories, press releases and more. By having this item, you will keep your visitors interested, improve the stickiness of your website, and encourage your content to be shared on social media and elsewhere. Do some research into your demographic of customers to find out their philanthropic interests, as well as how your organization can assist and motivate them to get involved in your organization. Highlight all the incredible things your organization is doing in the community and how you are working hard to accomplish your mission. Provide useful and applicable information that will keep them coming back for more. Blog often, at least once a day. More is always better! This will bump up your information in search engines and make your material easier to find across the web.

3. Develop simple, sleek, and consistent branding for your organization.

Many times nonprofit organizations will not put a lot of thought into branding. First, nail down a very simple logo that is memorable and attractive, but not too complex. From there, develop a list of what you want the organization to be about, such as quality service, excellent results, etc. Determine who you are and what sets you apart from other nonprofit organizations with similar goals. From there, make sure that all of your website, letterheads, signage, and so on are all branded with the same logo and communicate the same language and ideas. It is important to be focused because individuals will not trust brands that seem to be all over the place, without a consistent idea, vision or plan.

4. Become active on social media.

Social media has become a force to reckon with these days and must be a part of the marketing toolkit of every business and organization. In any marketing strategy, it is important to go where the people are. The majority of individuals you are looking for tend to frequent major social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram. To simply neglect social media can be detrimental to your organization. Individuals want to know that you can relate to and reach them, and are relevant. If you seem like a dinosaur company, your support will be minimal. Create engaging content. This will capture the interest of your target group.

5. Don’t forget about your opt-in.

Create an email opt-in at the top right side of your website page. Ultimately, when you transmit content through social media, you want to send clients to your website through links, with the opportunity to capture their email through an opt-in form. If you offer something for free, in exchange for email, you may have a higher rate of opt-ins. This is important is because you do not want your organization to be fully dependent on a social network. If that social network disappears, starts charging outrageously, or kicks you off for some reason, you will have collected value email addresses so that you are able to smoothly continue your relationship with your clients. Email them often with useful information.

In sales, a “hook” is something catchy or enticing that attracts attention and, hopefully, leads to a mutually beneficial business transaction. However, the term also has an older and far less positive connotation.

During the vaudeville shows of years past, acts that didn’t immediately capture the audience’s favor were pulled off the stage with a long-handled hook. No second chance to show their stuff. Exit stage left.

So how do you make sure your “hook” is good enough to keep you from being “hooked” like those performers of the past? Let’s say you have crafted the perfect subject line for your email. Is that enough to keep you center stage so you can seal the deal?

Absolutely not. Every word, every phrase, in the content of your email has to be carefully chosen.

Spam filters are becoming smarter and more efficient. They have to. According to a report on NBC Nightly News, the number of spam emails in 2015 doubled, soaring from 30 billion to 60 billion. The use of Artificial Intelligence in monitoring emails has created filters that have the ability to adapt to any attempts to deceive the system.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get your message delivered and not dumped:

  1. Don’t show it; say it. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a single image in the body of your email will almost surely send you directly to the junk folder.
  2. Don’t repeat yourself. If you use the same wording in your content that you used in your subject line, your message will most likely be flagged as spam.
  3. Don’t be long-winded. Keep your content concise and clear. More than 750 words of content will target you as spam that must be sent to the internet landfill.
  4. Don’t use “do not pass go” words. These are the words you have been warned against using in your subject lines. “Free,” “Guaranteed,” “Winner” and the like will be picked up by spam filters and your message will be trashed.

  5. Do look into some of the programs and websites that offer the opportunity (some without charge) for you to discover possible problems before you send your emails. Here are some that might work:
    • http://mxtoolbox.com/deliverability – This tool enables you to send your email to ping@tools.mxtoolbox.com, and then click “View Report” to receive your full analysis of their SPF records, their headers, and the reputation of your outbound IP.
    • https://www.sendforensics.com/email-deliverability-test/ – This tool enables you to run a free report that monitors delivery performance that includes deliverability scoring, layout, link quality and vocabulary analysis, and more. You can also purchase additional features for a paid plan.
    • https://www.emailonacid.com/ – This simple email testing tool tests your email on 47 different email clients and mobile devices, including Mail Chimp, Marketo, Vertical Response, and more.