I’m riding the tide of energized learning and conversations at the recent Nonprofit Technology Conference (#16ntc), and thrilled to share my takeways with you.
Use these insights from The Future of Email: From 2016 to 2026 to shape campaigns that motivate action despite the clamor of our multi-channel world:
Email Still Important but Can’t Stand Alone
— Jamie Maloney (@JamieSMaloney) March 23, 2016
Email remains the ultimate push notification. It’s also tied to everything you do on social.
— Bethany Lang, MPA (@bethany_lang) March 23, 2016
Debra Cohen, an online organizer with the Sierra Club, shared her success in using email to engage social media action teams of volunteers. Debra recommends emailing volunteers to request they spread the word on a specific campaign or ask. Include sample tweets and Facebook posts to make it easy for them to do it right.
There are countless ways to segment your email list but—whatever your approach—segmentation ups the probability of a good return on your email investment. “Let audiences tell you how to segment them via their actions,” says Debra.
Sarah Driscoll, email director at 270 Strategies, suggests focusing on those most likely to take the actions required to get you to goal. “Recency of action is the best predictor there is of taking action again,” says Julie Rosen, Director of Marketing at Act Blue.
Personalize to Boost Relevance & Response
As good as your segmentation may be, it’s grouping your people at a gross level. Get as specific and personal to create the most relevant email conversation, most likely to motivate action. Go as far as tools, budget, and time allow.
— Kivi Leroux Miller (@kivilm) March 23, 2016
Optimize for Mobile, Optimize for Mobile, Optimize for Mobile!
Mobile IS the present and the future—for email and actions from fundraising to advocacy—so optimize your emails!
— Mark Hrywna (@mhrywna) March 23, 2016
We tend to focus on format when optimizing, but Julia emphasizes the importance of loading speed. Make a prospect wait too long to complete a donation form and you’ve lost them. Aim for a load time max of three seconds—most forms take 10-15 seconds.
She suggests these ways to speed form loading and completion on mobile:
- Remove as many non-crucial elements, such as images, as possible. Many times large images load first.
- Test how a page cascades in, its load time, and how it looks and works in different browsers via the free Web Page Test tool.
- Further reduce completion time by enabling users to save credit card info.
Invest in Growing Your Email Lists
With an average email churn rate of 10% to 20% annually, growing our lists is a perennial priority. “Invest. You have to spend money to make money,” says Sarah.
She recommends these proven list building techniques:
- Purchasing names of online action takers via Change.org and Care2
- Swapping names with similar organizations
- Harvesting names through quizzes or other creative campaigns that go “viral,” such as the Texas Children’s Hospital Valentine’s Day Campaign.
It’s great to have so many concrete steps to take to improve email results. Go to it!