Ep 247 | Roadmap for Setting Up your Email Marketing

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Email is an important element of your marketing. So where do you get started? And from there, where do you expand? Consistency is important so building slowly over time is important. That way you can ensure that you're adding thoughtful communications that help guide your readers to a conversion and that they're getting the messages they need for their interests at the right time.

What you'll learn:

→ growing past a general newsletter.
→ crafting communication just for your donors.
→ setting up your promotional emails.
→ ways LinkedIn can support your community.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[2:57] Start with your general newsletter. This can go to your full email list when you first get started. It includes general information, impact stories, and adds value to your audience. Take it to the next step by segmenting this email based off of your audiences' interest.
[8:45] Create emails specifically for your donors. Messaging for your donors is a bit different then that of your community. Create separate emails that speak to their own motivations for engaging with your audience.
[11:35] Give your monthly donors the VIP treatment. Exclusivity is a great way to keep monthly donors coming back for more. Creating emails that are just for your monthly donors can help you connect with them more and makes them feel special.
[16:17] Leverage email for your promotions. During this time your general email newsletters stop. Being thoughtful of who you're sending your promotional emails to can go a long way. Be thoughtful and proactive so you can pull the right lists of peoples for the right events and campaigns.


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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] March is all about email marketing. And I'm so excited to kick off the first episode this month, talking about what to put in your emails, and how you can kind of grow them over time. So how can you grow the different types of emails that you're sending? Where do you get started. So just kind of like a basic overview of the kind of expansion of your email marketing campaign where to start where to get started, how to kind of reach new audiences, hit them where they are, hit them with the right messages that mean something to them and kind of break it down. I'm really excited to go through all the different types of emails that you can be sending to your list to kind of help you build and grow and get more donations, get more registrations, get more of all of the things from people because they're getting the information that they truly care about. So that is our topic for today's episode. I'm so excited to jump into it with you. But before we do, it is brought to you by our March freebie. Now, as you know, we have been creating a new themed freebie every single month, and this month is no different. This month, we are giving you our email checklist for events. So what are the pre announcement emails, post registration emails, the follow up emails, what are all the things that you want to go ahead and get put together? Right now before your event kicks off, so that you are ready to rock and roll and you don't miss that crucial follow up piece. So you can grab this freebie at https://thefirstclick.net/resources. And of course, you can also grab the other freebies that we've launched this year around monthly giving programs and getting organized. So all of those things are available for you at any time. But make sure you check out https://thefirstclick.net/resources to grab your email checklist for your fundraising events. Got it? Let's get into the episode.

[Intro] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each month we dive deep into a digital marketing or fundraising strategy that you can implement in your organization. Each week, you'll hear from guest experts, nonprofits, and myself on best practices, tips and resources to help you raise more money online and reach your organizational goals.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So when we think about email communication, it really is an opportunity to nurture the people that are in your system. So you have the opportunity to nurture people that haven't donated or haven't engaged with your organization yet, but maybe they're interested right there in the trust building phase, you have the opportunity to engage with your donors, and get them coming back again, or just understanding the work that you're doing year round, so that when you're ready to make that ask, they're primed and ready to go, right. There's so many different ways that email can connect with existing potential and you know, what we might call lapsed people in our community. And so that's what we're going to talk through today.

So when we get started with email, obviously, we want to have a general newsletter. This is something that is not an ask, there is no real fundraising ask in it, it might announce registration for fundraising events, it might announce registration for your programs and services, it might announce information about pets you have for adoption or new research that you're doing. But it's really just telling people about what you have going on in your organization, what you're excited about what they should be excited about, so that they can stay in touch with you and stay connected to you. When you get started. This is probably a list that is going or an email that is going through your entire list your entire database, anybody that is in your CRM that you've connected with people that have expressed an interest, right, this is a broad general group of people, because like I said, there's not really an ask. In here, it's more just informational. We're going to talk later in the month about specific things to put into those emails. But for now, I just want you to be thinking about what are the types of emails that we can be sending out. So when you get started, like I said, having it be global is totally fine.

To take it to the next step, we want to think about the different types of audiences that we have, you likely have a donor base, you likely have people that have participated in your events or your programs or your services. You might even segment it in ways like let's say you're a pet adoption organization, you might have people that are interested in cats that are interested in dogs that are interested in small, smaller animals, like mice, I know and dribbles or whatever that it is that you have, right you might have those separate segments. And when we think of segments, segments are just a group of people with commonality. So a segment could be everybody that attended your gala in 2023. A segment could be an interest area of your organization. A segment could be you know, sponsors or corporate donors versus grants and foundation versus individual donors, right? These are all different segments. So you really want to think about how you communicate with your audience. Even if it's just offline, right, that's a great place to start. Because sometimes the digital space gets a little overwhelming. How do you communicate with the people in your world, and which kind of buckets might we want to put people in. And then that's how you'll set up your segments in your email list. And depending on your provider, there's lots of different ways that this can go down. So again, I'm not going to go into the specifics there, but happy to connect with you if you are confused on how to do this or what the best practice is for your particular setup.

So once we've started getting really consistent with our general newsletter, you might want to break it in to two. And before I move on from that consistent to me is whatever you can consistently get done within your organization, I would recommend close as close to weekly as you can, because remember, these are nurture emails, these are informational emails, these are stories and impact. So the more often you can send these emails, then when you get into a campaign where you're like a urine campaign, or spring appeal or something like that, where you're asking people to give you money, they've been hearing from you, overall, they've been staying top of mind, they've been getting your emails that asked doesn't come kind of out of the blue. So the more often you can send those emails, that's just more opportunity for you to stay engaged with them. So I don't recommend any less than monthly. And when you're in those campaigns, you won't send your regular newsletter, right? Like during year end giving when you're sending all these emails about giving, you're not sending them also a general newsletter, right, so we just I just want to throw that out there.

Okay. So now we have been doing our general newsletter for a period of time, we've been building these segments, so we kind of know who we want to be talking to. And for the sake of this, let's say we have a programmatic group that we want to target and we have a donor group that we want to target at some point, then you might want to split it and do a couple different emails. So you have one that's more donor focused, and in there is truly impact stories, way that the funds are being used, again, not an ask, but just really kind of sharing information that donors are going to care about. And then on the programmatic side, it might be value add in the frame of, hey, here's additional resources that you can utilize, right? Like if we go back to the pet example, if we have like a cat newsletter, and a dog newsletter and a small animals newsletter, right, it could be like feeding tips in the winter, or like exercise tips in the winter for your dog versus, you know, the other breeds. So now people are getting specific emails with information that they care about, that's going to increase your open rates, it's going to increase your engagement on those emails. And it's just going to build that trust factor, and blow it through the roof, right.

So we have two separate email now that are going out. Now understand that you might have multiple people on both lists. So really think about, maybe you send one every other week, but you're sending an email out every week, not everybody's gonna get on both, some people will, some people won't. And that's okay, because they're still getting information that's relevant to them and their experience with you. So that's kind of just a very basic overview on kind of those baseline emails, those regular emails that you're going to be sending out, and making sure you're targeting the right people, we don't need to get crazy and send out 8 million different newsletters. That's not what I'm suggesting. Just start with your general start to build out, you know, kind of like the bigger picture segments and from there, and if you find that another layer is important, go for it, you know, you have to do what makes the most sense for your audience and your engagement.

Okay, the next set of emails are now going to be geared towards your donors. So this is a series of emails that you might again, have multiple versions. So you might have a version for your monthly donors. You might have like your general, individual donors that are on your monthly program are probably just going to get your donor, donor focused email or your general newsletter, but for your but regardless, when somebody makes a first time gift, or if somebody's making a gift, or a particular campaign that you've had very specific messaging around, they are going to get what we call a welcome sequence. And that's three to five messages, we have a couple of episodes we've done on welcome sequences. So I will tag those here in the show notes. At the first click dotnet slash 247. So if you want to deep dive into a welcome sequence of what's included, I will leave that up for you. But this is really an email set of emails that is going to come out right after their gift with the goal to like really hook them in. They've already given a gift, which means they're excited about your organization. So now we really want to drive home that they are giving to the right organization so that we can already set the stage for a repeat gift. We You're not asking them for another gift. But just setting the stage for this is the impact that you're making. And also, here's what you can expect from us in the future, right? So that you can really set the stage for how you're going to be communicating with them, what they can expect to hear and see from you how they can engage with you on other channels, whether it's YouTube, Facebook, whatever. So it's really just right away, they get that immediate value add from you to say, okay, yeah, these guys are really, they're really doing it. And they're sharing, and they're giving us this information. And that's fantastic. You know, if it's for a very particular campaign, for example, like a urine giving, or whatever, you might also really want to include celebration about what this particular campaign is all about. And also educate them on who you are as an organization, because they might not know they might come in on this campaign, because they're excited about the particular part of the project that you do. But maybe they don't know everything that you do. So you don't need to tell them everything right away, right, like that's what the monthly or weekly emails newsletters are doing. But you can kind of give them a high level view of we also, this is how we really impact our community. So that is kind of your general like first time donors like they get that email automation. That is not the extent to which you think them though, right, we want to make that clear, that is not the extent to which you think that it's a part of the process, right, so that you know that it's automated, and you know that people are getting that information, you're still going to be doing phone calls, you're still gonna be sending cards, you're still going to be sending tax receipts, all of those things, this is just an addition. And because it set up an automated, it's not a heavy lift, right? It's just the one time I'm getting them written.

So then when it comes to your monthly donors, here's where we now add on another layer. Your monthly donors are kind of your VIPs, like they collectively are really going to help you with the sustainability of your organization go listen to the episodes from last month, they're all about monthly giving. But we want to be really encouraging and, and keeping them excited and engaged so that they don't drop off so that they don't choose to stop giving. And in fact, hopefully we can get them to increase that monthly gift, right? So for our monthly donors, we really want to create ways that we can make them feel special and make them feel excited. And one of those is also a separate monthly newsletter. So now you're thinking, Okay, well, I've got all these different newsletters that are going out, how am I going to create content that's separate for each of those. And the way that you can think about it is however your organization operates like, what are some perks that you can share. So it could be a monthly email to your monthly donors that says, hey, here's like a behind the scenes, something you haven't shared yet doesn't mean you won't share it in the future. But just something exciting that's coming up that you haven't shared yet. It could be early access to tickets. So let's say you are a theater, or an orchestra hall or dance company, maybe they get to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the public. So again, it's a benefit to them, that they get to have these perks, as part of it could be early access to your fundraising gala, or upgraded access, right, maybe they get to buy tickets, VIP tickets for less, or whatever discounts early access, you know, whatever that might be, maybe they get to bring a guest who knows. Inside those emails could be more detailed stories from the community that you serve, that you're not sharing for a while, it could be access to some of your resources and things that you provide. So they can kind of get behind the scenes access whatever is going to engage them. But that email is just a great way to kind of set the stage and here's here's how you can kind of help create this in your mind. If you're sending out 12 emails, I would challenge you to sit down at your desk and just write out 12 different programs or parts of your program that you provide. I bet you have more than 12 and just map it out and maybe even map it out based off of this calendar cycle that you operate. Right. So maybe in June, you have a big push for education on drowning in pools, right? I don't know if that's part of your program. And that's seasonal in June. So we're going to put that there. You know, maybe in August, you have back to school registration for kids. Maybe in February, you have like a big recycling. I don't know, whatever it is that you're doing. I always come up with the worst examples when I'm recording these podcasts. But you get the idea, right? So put all of those down, just write them down. Because then you're really going to take a look at it. You're gonna be like, Oh, I don't when you when you try to come up with something on the fly, it feels overwhelming. But when you write down these programs, it's really going to become much more simple and easy. And then you can just recycle them every single year. And you say well, what if I Have donors that are with me for multiple years, you're not going to completely repurpose the exact same language, because in the course of the year, your impact will have changed your experience, the way that you deliver that particular program or whatnot might change. So you can revisit it, but at least you kind of have this roadmap every single year that, you know, this is how and what we're going to talk to our monthly donors about. So now you have the framework for that email, you're locked and loaded, ready to go.

Okay, so we've got our general newsletters, we've broken it down by donors and our programs and services, eventually, now we've got a monthly donor campaign email that we're sending out, right. So now people are getting these messages on a regular basis. From us giving us information, we've got our welcome sequences that are ready to go for those big things. Eventually, you could create a welcome sequence when people sign up for your programs as well. So that when they register for something, they get the emails automatically with the information, right, we're automating, so that we don't have to do that as a manual process, which saves us time to go do more of the work that we need to do with regards to one on one conversations, customer service, XYZ. So you've got those in place.

And so now kind of the last thing that you want to think about are your promotional emails, your campaigns, your fundraising events, things like that are going to be shorter chunks of time, but are also going to be really impactful. And again, we've got podcast episodes about that. So I will link those up, I'm not going to go in depth here on what that looks like with regards to that. You could also download our freebie which has your event email checklist in it. But you can start to see now when you kind of think about painting this picture for our email campaigns, all of the different groupings of people that we're going to want to be speaking to, and how can we get that organized? And that's what I find removes a lot of the overwhelm when we plan ahead of time for how are we going to want to be talking to people, what are the buckets that we want to put them in, and that we can kind of set the system up to be able to easily pull that information. Now I know all my database people out there love it when we as marketers hit them up last minute and say, Hey, I need this list of people that attended this event, but not that event. But then I don't want sponsors. And I want to make sure we include people that haven't given before. And you have this whole list of criteria and it can be overwhelming. So let's get organized. Now with the types of emails we're going to be sending in the future, start sending our general newsletters and start building and growing our email communication from there. Okay. I hope that you'll start doing this and take this challenge.

And if you have any questions, you can always email us hello@thefirstclick.net. But so many, so many email episodes that we've done. So again, I will link all of those up in the show notes at https://thefirstclick.net/247. You have a general newsletter, I would love to see it. Again. We're going to be talking more about the content you can put in those newsletters in the next episode, I believe. So I'm excited for you to dive deeper into that. But for now, start making a list of all the types of things that you can do and communicate within your email marketing and start to take action. Okay, again, https://thefirstclick.net/247 is where you can find all the show notes. For now make sure you subscribe wherever you listen, we have so many amazing episodes planned and order recorded for this year. And I have to tell you, there's some pretty fantastic ones coming. Um, you can always watch us on YouTube at Digital Marketing therapy. For now. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen, share it with a friend subscribe, leave me a review and thank you so much. I'll see you in the next one.

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