Ep 70 | 4 Reasons NOT to use Email Marketing

Don't be scared to start email marketing. It's a powerful tool in your marketing toolbox and there is not better time than now to get started!

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Email marketing is one of my favorite things. But it's also something I get push back on quite a bit from all types of organizations. So in this episode, I'm breaking down the excuses I hear most commonly and giving you reasons why you should remove them from your brain and move forward with email in your organization.

In this episode you'll learn:

→ Excuse #1 – “I have nothing to say to my audience”
→ Excuse #2 – “People don't open them anyway so why do it?”
→ Excuse #3 – “Email is a waste of time”
→ Excuse #4 – “I haven't emailed in years, so why start now?”
→ Bonus Excuse – “Email is dead”

Want to skip ahead?  Here are some key takeaways:

[3:56] Think about how often you're sending to your list. When you really think about it you have all sorts of things from volunteer announcements, spotlighting board members, donors, the pets in your care, etc. And when you keep to my rule of one email one action it really helps to break it down even more. Even better, creating content on a blog helps to create even more reasons to reach out to your audience regularly.
[8:18] Open rates for non-profits are higher than the average, but they're still in the 20% range. Don't be discouraged by the open rate number. Check the study in the resources section below to learn more about some stats regarding your email campaigns.
[10:40] On average for ever $1 you spend on email marketing it generates $38 in revenue. This takes time to build up but with consistency and a strong strategy you can really start to make money off your email marketing campaigns. It's time to get started!
[13:10] Start off with a soft re-introduction email. Maybe segment your list by how long it's been since people have been involved and send 2-3 different versions so it makes sense.
[15:17] Think about how you access and use email. It's still the #1 way people in business communicate, and it's also the way people prefer to be contacted by brands. Email is definitely not dead!


[Guide] 9 Ways for Non-Profits to Raise More Money Online
EP 68 | Use Your Existing Audience to Promote For You
EP 66 | Using Social Media Fundraising Tools
EP 65 | 3 Ways to Jumpstart your Online Fundraising
Campaign Monitor's 2020 Email Stats

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Full Transcript

[INTRO] Hey everybody, Sami here with another episode of the Digital Marketing Therapy podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening. Today we're going to talk a little bit about email marketing. And I get a few reasons why email marketing won't work for people that I wanted to share with you and kind of refute to rebut whatever. So I'm giving you four reasons not to use email marketing, or so I hear from everyone else around me. So I hope that this is helpful. I hope this will spark some ideas for you, as far as how email marketing might be able to support your business. It is a very powerful tool when done effectively and can really increase sales can generate raving fans can just do all sorts of things. And so that's what we're going to talk about today I'm going to give you four of the common reasons why people say email marketing is not for them, and I'm going to tell you why they're wrong.

But before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by my new guide, “9 Ways for Non-Profits to Raise More Money Online”. As you're trying to navigate everything that's going on in the world around us these days, getting online seems to be something that is effective and important. We've got lots of great podcast episodes that we have done about this topic as well, which I will link up to in the show notes. But this guide also has nine ways that you can, you know, increase your online sales as well. Some of them will be super easy for you to jump in and get taken care of. So head on over to https://www.thefirstclick.net/fundraise. Check it out, download it, pick one or two that are going to give your organization the biggest bang for their buck immediately and go from there.

But for now, let's get into the episode.

[CANNED INTRODUCTION] You're listening to the Digital Marketing Therapy Podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.

[BODY] Okay, so before we jump into the four reasons why people say email marketing doesn't work for them, and there's more, but these are just kind of four that I hear most commonly, I just want to make sure that we kind of separate and talk about what email marketing is. So this is not the emails that you send individually to your donors or to your people. This is not the proposals that you send out. This is not you know, kind of the one on one conversations that you have with people via email. This is kind of like the broadcast that you send to your entire list. And maybe it's segmented, maybe it's the broadcast you send to your donors versus the broadcasts you send to your volunteers versus your just the people that you provide services to or the people that care about the service that you provide, you know, board members on and on and on. And so it's the way that you can use email to send messages about what you're doing, what your organization is up to, how you're making an impact all of those things. And typically there's a purchase or a purpose. And that is a purchase. So whether it's a donation, whether it's somebody buying tickets to an event or a product merge, maybe your organization cells merge, maybe it's adopting a pet, maybe it's contributing to a specific cause whatever it is, there's typically a call to action, it could even just be checking out the newest content that you've created. So I just want to make it clear that this is an email marketing going out broadcast, I mean, there's lots of ways to think about it, but this is not kind of the one on one conversations that you have with your donors and, and all that throughout the course of your daily work.

Excuse #1
So let's get into number one, and this is the biggest one that I hear I have nothing to say like, what could I possibly say to my audience? And I understand. So the first thing we want to do is really figure out how often are we going to be sending email campaigns out to our list. And this could be varied based off of this segmentation. So definitely keep in mind the purpose behind the email.

And getting to I have nothing to say, I also really like to say one email, one action. So we don't want to send an email that gives them 15 different things to think about, like, hey, volunteer here at this event, volunteer at that event. Oh, we also want you to make a donation and could you please also reach out to any businesses that you know that might be sponsors and could you also reach out to five kids that you think could be good mentees for our organization, right, we don't want to have all of those messages. People are busy. People have a lot going on. They want to be able to digest your email quickly, know what action to take, if they choose to take it, get it done, and they're moving on with their day. So just me rattling off all of those things that sometimes people put in one email if you absolutely have plenty to say.

And I love reaching out to your list on a weekly basis, because it keeps you top of mind, it keeps you engaged with them. And maybe this week, you know, they're not really ready to make a donation or they didn't have any free time. And maybe in the next week, something changes and, you know, they suddenly have opportunity or whatever. And so if you're top of mind, you're most likely going to grab that attention. And we'll get to some of that a little bit later. But you absolutely have things to say.

You can talk about success stories of things that are happening in your organization. And when it's one email, one action, it's one success story. So think about all of the stories of the animals or the environmental causes that you've worked towards, or the kids that you've served. Or recitals if you're in like the arts and culture world like performances, and you know, you can even go back like it doesn't have to be things that have happened right now you can go back into your archives, pull things out, share stories from before, because they're still your stories, they're still super impactful.

And I would encourage you to repurpose and reuse content that you've already created. This is also where it comes into, which we've talked about in previous episodes. You know, having that regular and consistent content on your website. So whether you have a blog post that comes out we weekly or monthly or whatever, you can share that information with your audience. It's perfect to share in a newsletter, hey, we have any blog posts, this is what this is about. This is the information that it's about, you're really gonna want to check this out because blah, blah, blah, right? So content can help create the topics that you can talk about. You can also highlight your volunteers. Volunteers are kind of the lifeline of your organization, right? They help you with so many things. And giving them a shout out is such a nice easy way to make them feel loved and appreciated. Maybe you have members, maybe you want to share board members just it depends on your organization. If your school like a private school, maybe you have teachers that you want to feature once a month, which would showcase to the current potential parents that are on your email list. You know, these are the types of people that we have taken care of and teaching your kids and then on the flip side highlighting, you know, an achievement from a student at your school. Maybe you want to feature a pet each week. So just think about your organization what you're trying to do. And really think about your email like what I have to say, you might have a different topic from eat for each email maybe once focused on donations, once on donor donors ones just on brand awareness about what our organization is. I think I said donors twice. I mean, did I? Anyway, you get what I'm saying. So put a plan in place, figure it out. I bet if you challenged yourself, you would absolutely have something to say in a weekly email newsletter that you can get out to your audience.

Excuse #2
Number two, the next thing that I get is I've been doing emails, but nobody opens them. So it's a waste of time.

I'm here to tell you that open rates on emails are usually pretty low. So according to Campaign Monitor, and I can put this link in the show notes so you guys can check it out. Yes. And nonprofits and government and education, like they typically have pretty strong open rates. And they have seen nonprofit open rates go from 20.39% in 2019 to 25.2% this year. Now, there's a whole lot of things that can be a contributing factor to that, you know, with regards to COVID with regards to all the things But so if you just assume like a 20 to 22%, open rate, if you are higher than that, that's really strong. And that is really high.

Most consumer goods are like, you know, around 14%, and maybe even lower. So when you see those rates on your email list, don't be scared. Don't be sad about that. Like, that's average, that's good. And there's other things that are in control that are out of your control, that contribute to kind of the deliverability and open rates, which we won't get into. It has to do with, you know, all of the background, things that are happening, how clean lists are, if you're spamming people, all of that good stuff, but just understand that your list, the majority of your list is not going to open it and if you're at about a 20 to 22%, open rate or higher, you're doing a great job. So just keep at it. Keep moving forward, keep making things happen. And remember that consistency is key.

So kind of putting the two together. I mean, how many times have you gotten an email from an organization that you haven't heard from in a long time, and all of a sudden, they're pitching you on something, right? It feels yucky. It doesn't feel happy, it doesn't feel good. So I really encourage you to email them regularly. Don't be worried about the open rates. Don't be worried about those that unsubscribe so that when you are ready to make that big annual fun push or that big ask for money, people have been hearing from you on a regular basis. They know what you're about. And they are like, okay, yeah, I'm ready. I'm ready to make that contribution.

Excuse #3
And so I kind of teased this in number two, but number three is, email is a waste of time. We don't get anything from it. Now, I would challenge you because, you know, for years, right email has shown that for every dollar you invest in email marketing, it averages out to about $38 in revenue. Now that's a really good return. on investment, bigger than social media bigger than, you know advertising most things that you can do. So it's not a waste of time. But it does require you to get started and do you know, do things and, and just get started and try it. And you know, there's a whole lot of sophistication you can do with email marketing that you don't need to worry about right now, we can maybe talk about some of those things in future episodes. But for now, just get started so that your audience is used to hearing from you.

And like I just mentioned, when you make that ask I say this twice, because it's just so important. When you finally go to make that big ask, they're used to hearing from you and they don't just feel like they're being sold to. So what are the kinds of things that you could ask for in an email, I mean, obviously, donations, you can tap your list for services that they can provide. So it might not be dollars, you know, cash, but maybe you haven't asked for people to come and paint the interior of your building or for somebody to design a mural or for volunteers to come in and do a mailer. For maybe you, you know, you do need donations, but maybe you want to ask if they have any other businesses that might be sponsoring, or if your employer has a matching donation matching program, and I want to encourage you to kind of figure out your cycle, and make these asks more than once. And the reason I say this is because, um, think about, think about when you've been scrolling through Facebook, and you've seen an ad and you're like, Oh, yeah, I really want to check that product out. But you're busy. So you just move on. And then at one point, you're like, Oh, wait, I saw this ad for like this really cool backpack, or I saw this ad for organization that I think would be cool to kind of get involved in and you don't see it again. And then that's a missed opportunity, right? Because you just you're like, Okay, well, I guess I can't find it. So I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna move on. So having those messages hit your donors in a timely, regular basis is super important as well. And we'll help to maximize the dollars that you generate from your email marketing campaigns.

Excuse #4
Okay, so then the last one, the last excuse that I hear for why people don't want to start email marketing. And again, there's so many more. But this is the fourth one that I'm going to share with you here today is I haven't done it for years. So why would I start doing email marketing now?

And I mean, I guess I get that, but I'm assuming if you're a nonprofit, that you probably have a pretty good list of people because you've been collecting all of your donors. You've been collecting data and your CRM about all of your volunteers and your board members and the kids and the dog owners and blah, blah, blah, right? It's time to start. Now, why waste time? Why not start getting in front of people, especially now when more people are working from home, there's less people going out and who knows what's happening. I know in every part of the country, it's kind of a different situation. But just start in your first email might be something that's like, Hey, you know, we haven't been reaching out to you for a while. We're so sorry. But we would love to start sending you information about how our organization is doing how we're being fiscally responsible, the people that we're serving on and on and on and on how you can support us.

Start off with a soft email that just reintroduces them, they may have donated to you a couple of years ago and kind of forgotten and depending on the length and history of your organization, you might want to send a different email to people from like five years and older, you know, one to five years people that are recent, and say, you know, we realized that we haven't talked to you in a while but we want to stay in touch, would that be okay? And give them the option to stay connected with you or not? And then just jump right into weekly emails that are just talking about all of the things that we've kind of shared in this episode so far.

So the excuses that I hear are number one, I've got nothing to say number two, nobody opens my emails anyway. So what's the point? Number three is a waste of time, we don't generate any revenue from them. And number four, I haven't gotten, I haven't emailed my list for years. So why start now?

Bonus Excuse
Now I'm going to give you a little bit of a bonus one. The other one that I hear all the time is email is dead. And I want to encourage you to think about your own behavior. People are on email all the time. It's still the number one way that we communicate in our businesses. So why would you not also do that? And research has shown for years that people prefer to connect with brands via email. It's not as obtrusive as a phone call, or text message, and I can deal with it when I want to deal with it. And so really, if you feel like email marketing is a dead thing. If people aren't using it or you're scared off by the 20% open rate, you think that's not worth it? Totally. I get it, but I would encourage you to try it out because email is definitely not dead and there are people making a lot of money off their email lists and their email marketing in a non salesy, genuine, authentic leader, like leaning into the mission, the vision of their brand sort of way.

[CONCLUSION] So, I'm gonna leave you there, you've got four excuses that I, you know, told you were wrong, you know, I'm not usually just going to come out and call it that way, but we're going to call it out that way. And a bonus reason being email is dead. So head on over to https://www.thefirstclick.net/podcast, check out the show notes from this episode, I will include some resources and tips and other areas where you can get more information about email marketing, and I hope that you'll subscribe wherever you listen and let me know if there's something we haven't talked about yet on this podcast that would be helpful for you to learn more about, but for now, I'll see you in the next one.

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