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This is a guest post from Gerard Tonti at Salsa Labs

Email continues to be one of the most prevalent communication methods used today. According to this Campaign Monitor article, there are 3.9 billion active email users, and almost half of these users check their email as often as every few hours.

Even though email campaigns are used by most organizations, about half of marketers feel that their email campaigns are poor to average.

It’s more important than ever to make sure that your email campaigns are optimized so that they reach inboxes and grab your reader’s attention.

If your organization is using Salesforce, you already have access to a very powerful tool to help with your email campaigns. We’ve compiled tips that users like you can use to maximize your email marketing potential. We discuss each of the following actions in more detail below (and they apply whether you’re using Salesforce or any other CRM system):

  1. Choose a specific campaign goal.
  2. Segment your email recipients.
  3. Brand your campaign emails.
  4. Ensure mobile-responsiveness.
  5. Call the reader to action.

Remember that Salesforce works differently for different organizations. If you’re in charge of a nonprofit’s marketing strategy, read through Salsa’s overview of Salesforce for nonprofits. This will help you get a better idea of how to customize the software to fit your particular needs.

How do your nonprofit benchmarks compare? Find out.

However, all organizations can benefit from the tips above, nonprofit and for-profit alike. With a few simple steps, you can be sure your email campaigns are set up for success, no matter how exactly you customize Salesforce for your organization’s needs.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.

1. Choose a specific goal for your email campaign.

Too many organizations send emails only to maintain a presence in the email inbox of their supporters and customers. With no specific goal or call to action, these emails are often ignored or trashed.

Instead of strengthening your relationship with your constituents, they may get frustrated by the influx of “generic” emails. Then, when you do send important emails, they’re less likely to open and read them.

Ensure that every email you send has a specific purpose and/or call to action in order to keep your recipients engaged and interested.

Start by creating automated email series specific to actions a supporter might take. For example:

  • When a website visitor first signs up to receive emails, the next action you may want them to take is to make a donation. Create an email series, triggered by the initial signup, to drive the new visitor to that goal. The first email is a welcome, the next introduces your organization’s mission, and the third asks for a donation to address a specific need or campaign, etc.
  • A one-time donor could be encouraged to become a recurring or sustaining donor. One-time donors can be sent automated emails once a week with stories about the impact their recurring donations could make.
  • If someone has attended an event, you may set up an email series for them encouraging their support of a related advocacy campaign. This email series could be set up to continue until they’ve signed the latest petition or called their representative.

When you work to design your emails with Salesforce, you can set up specific campaigns that show the success of your marketing initiatives toward each of your goals. Using these success markers, your organization can tweak and adjust your strategy to better appeal to your recipients.

2. Segment your organization’s email recipients.

The more specifically an email is targeted at the recipient, the more likely it is to be read and acted upon. Therefore, it’s important that you segment your supporters in order to design emails targeted to their specific interests..

Start changing the way you send emails by optimizing your recipient segmentation strategies.

  • Collect as much data as you can. Use information collected via online forms, event registrations, or personal conversations to group your supporters multiple ways. If you’re using one integrated software platform, such as Salesforce and Salsa Engage, any information you collect is available to use for segmenting purposes.
  • Choose your segmentation criteria. From the data you’ve collected, decide how you want to segment your constituents. You may consider creating segments such as donor levels, event participation, or age. Some organizations focused on animal welfare even have separate email series for cat owners and dog owners! The criteria you choose all depends on your organization’s goals.
  • Allow supporters to segment themselves. With the right software, your organization can set up an online portal that allows supporters or members to change settings and data points of their own. In this way, they’re segmenting themselves into groups that are most relevant to them.

One of the great things about CRM systems like Salesforce is that they’re completely customizable. This lack of limits provides the opportunity to collect the data most important to your organization’s mission and use it for segmentation.

Learn what donors said about nonprofits by reading our survey results.

3. Brand your campaign emails to your organization.

Visually representing your brand on everything is a vital step in spreading the word about your organization. Because humans process imagery so well, your organization’s brand image is incredibly important for all communications.

Make sure every email you send looks good on both desktop and mobile devices. It won’t do your organization any good if your logo looks great on desktop, but is too large, too small and illegible, or otherwise unfit for a smaller screen.

Once you have the brand imagery set how you like it (for all screen sizes), you can go ahead and save it as a template on Salesforce.

Before you hit “send” on any emails, you also need to also make sure the content message is branded to your organization. This means you should have a consistent “voice” throughout all of your content, from your website to emails to social media posts.

This is especially important to keep in mind if you’re a nonprofit using templates (like those from Fundraising Letters) to communicate with supporters. These templates are great to start with so that you’re sure you don’t miss any vital information while writing an email. However, make sure you customize these templates to authentically reflect your organization’s brand and maintain consistent >

4. Ensure your emails are mobile responsive and optimized.

More and more internet access today is done via smartphone, especially email access. Remember when we said that over half of email users check their accounts every few hours? Do you think they’re logging on to their desktop to check it that frequently? A large percentage of these users are using their smartphones to read any new messages they get.

When your organization is designing emails for your Salesforce marketing campaign, make sure the integrated marketing tools you’re using offer mobile responsiveness.

Mobile responsiveness means that the content of your emails will automatically adjust to fit the size of the user’s screen. This article also explains how you might hide content on either mobile or desktops to best create a better user experience. By taking the extra step of ensuring that your email is not only sized correctly (i.e., responsive), but optimized for mobile can make a significant difference in engagement levels. Consider the following examples:

  • Let’s say your organization is hosting a gala with a set guest list, mobile auction, and merchandise sales. You’ll want to email that guest list with information about the event. If you’re using a mobile event app, you may want to create a smart link so that people can download the app when they view the email on their phones. However, you don’t want this option to appear if they view the email on their desktops because it could cause some unnecessary confusion.
  • Or let’s say your organization is recruiting new registrations for the annual gala. You want to entice people to register by showing a picture of the crowd having a great time at last year’s event. However, the best picture available doesn’t show up well on a mobile screen. The details are too fine. In this case, you may want to hide that image on mobile to keep the message more streamlined and easy to read.

Ensuring your email content looks attractive and legible, no matter the screen it’s viewed on, is important for effective supporter engagement.

5. Call your reader to action.

One of the most important parts of your email campaign strategy is to make sure you’re calling your email recipient to action within the email. As we said before, every email you send to your supporters should have a specific goal in mind that’s clear to the recipient.

Your call to action (or CTA) should be attractive and entice readers to click on it for higher conversion rates. When you design a CTA, include the following elements:

  • Actionable wording. Words like “donate now” or “check out the sale today” do well for CTA buttons because they’re actionable and direct. These types of words also create a sense of urgency in your reader.
  • Colorful buttons. CTAs frequently come in the form of buttons. This is because buttons stand out. Make sure to use bright colors and legible typeface to make them stand out even more.
  • Proper placement. The placement of your CTA must make sense in context. Consider writing a short paragraph or blurb leading up to the CTA in order to convince your reader that they should take action.

When you design CTAs through Salesforce email marketing campaigns, you can easily track the click-through rates and success of your CTA to make sure the design’s effective.

Also, track your email open rates and other important metrics to see what percentage of those who open your email also click the CTA. Correlating your design choices with click-through rates can give you excellent insights into the finer details that drive more value and engagement.

Wrap up

As your organization customizes your Salesforce solution, make sure your email campaigns are ready to roll out. This is the most effective tool you have to reach the majority of your supporters or customers. Make it the best it can be with these five tips:

  1. Choose a specific goal for your email campaign.
  2. Segment your organization’s email recipients.
  3. Brand your campaign emails to your organization.
  4. Ensure your emails are mobile responsive and optimized.
  5. Call your reader to action.

Gerard Tonti is the Senior Creative Developer at Salsa Labs, the premier fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits. Gerard’s marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization, and modern marketing technology helps him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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