How to Avoid 4 Common Nonprofit Email Marketing Mistakes

Nonprofits new to email marketing may need some time to work out the kinks in their campaigns.

Along the way, some mistakes may be made, but the great part about marketing? You can always learn from mistakes and iterate.

Unfortunately, some email marketing mistakes may be more costly than others for your nonprofit.

In other words, if you’re still refining your email marketing strategy, you’ll want to avoid certain flubs to keep your nonprofit ahead of schedule.

Below we’ve listed four nonprofit email marketing mistakes that could hurt your deliverability and open rates.

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4 Nonprofit email marketing mistakes

1) Using too many visual elements

As tempting as a beautifully designed email message can be, there is such a thing as “too much,” when it comes to your design elements.

An email with multiple images, text colors, and font styles may be overwhelming for the reader.

Usually, when emails are too busy, that’s a symptom of either a disconnect between marketing and graphics teams or lack of clarity about campaign goals.

When you define the purpose of each marketing email, it will guide your design.

When designing your email campaign, yes, you want to include varying text options and imagery; however, you want to make sure it all plays a role. Defining your design hierarchy is an essential first step to take. Begin with your text and define which fonts and sizes you’ll use for your headers, body text and your calls-to-action. They need to be clean and legible.

From there, you’ll add in imagery where appropriate. Keep in mind, the point of imagery is to enhance your nonprofit’s storytelling ability.

Here is an excellent example of a properly designed nonprofit email by We.

This email from WE uses a good amount of visual elements: Using too many visual elements can be a classic nonprofit email marketing mistake

Source: Really Good Emails

In this message, there are very clearly defined fonts for the headers, subleaders, body text, and CTAs. They then go ahead and add a few images in to help supplement the brand’s storytelling throughout the email.

2) Failing to segment

Segmenting your audience helps you send relevant messages.

Basic segmentation could include grouping subscribers by age, profession, and household size.

More advanced segmentation includes factors such as social media preferences, frequency of mobile website visits, and long-term buying behavior.

A new subscriber who’s just becoming familiar with your brand shouldn’t be receiving the same email as a longtime customer who has purchased several of your products.

Blanket, generic emails seem impersonal and unsympathetic to subscriber preferences. Get to know you subscribes better by segmenting them into various categories.

Doing so will then enable you to send more relevant, personalized content to each one, ensuring that their personal needs are met.

Personalization no longer means simply adding a subscriber’s name to an email subject line.

Nowadays, personalization means truly understanding your reader, their activities and their needs. Prove that your brand is paying careful attention to the little details.

For instance, take this email message from Uber.

In order to celebrate this user’s three-year anniversary driving with the company, Uber went ahead and compiled some useful information regarding people the user has helped, comments they have left for the driver and more to highlight all that has happened during their time with the company.

This personalized email from Uber is a great example of what to do: Use personalization to avoid common nonprofit email marketing mistakes

Source: Really Good Emails

3) Continuing to send to inactive subscribers

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) protect their users from spammers by monitoring whether users are interacting with emails in their inbox.

Here’s why this is important:

If you keep sending emails to people who never open them, an ISP could flag messages from your IP address as spam.

Inactivity may be a result of people subscribing to your list in error or with an email address they rarely use.

When people sign up, always provide them with a secondary opt-in email to confirm the subscription.

Also, if subscribers who were previously active become inactive, target them with a re-engagement campaign.

While it’s essential to cleanse your list of inactive subscribers, you should always try to re-engage them before completely removing them from your list.

After all, it costs less to send a re-engagement campaign than it does to find someone new to add to your list.

In this example from Framebridge, they acknowledge that the subscriber is unhappy with their emails and they will be more than happy to remove them from their emailing list.

However, they give the subscriber the option of remaining on the list, which is essential to the re-engagement process.

This re-engagement email from Framebridge shows that simplicity and automation is a good way to avoid losing subscribers--one of the top nonprofit email marketing mistakes.

Source: Really Good Emails

Now, if your re-engagement efforts go unheard, then it’s simply time to make a clean break and remove that subscriber from your list.

4) Not formatting for mobile

According to Statista, in the first few months of 2019 alone, mobile internet traffic made up a total of 40.61% of all traffic online.

What does that mean for email marketers? Your messages need to be designed with mobile in mind.

While some marketing teams are already implementing responsive email designs that alter the message’s appearance depending on the screen size it is opened up on, a genuinely mobile design will function the exact same way no matter what device it is viewed on.

Subscribers aren’t going to be spurred to action if they can’t read the email without squinting, or if the images are too large to load.

You have to think mobile:

Design emails that display correctly across all devices and platforms, so you won’t have to worry about missing opens on mobile.

Wrap up

Tired of making nonprofit email marketing mistakes?

Do you need help finding the right email marketing and marketing automation platform for your nonprofit?

We work with many nonprofits and can help you achieve your goals too.

Contact us to find out what our platform can do for you.

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