Do you see what I see? Tips for Nonprofits to Increase Email Marketing Success.

Do you see what I see? Tips for Nonprofits to Increase Email Marketing Success.

Nonprofit organizations depend on supporters and volunteers to be successful.  Most of us have the desire to help in some way, but volunteering takes time; a more valuable commodity than money.  Since time is valuable to consider this –email marketing, is the best, quickest and most direct way to reach those potential supporters and volunteers without taking up too much of their time – but how do you connect to them?

Visual Aids!  Don’t just tell people what’s so great about your organization show them.

There a plethora of common visual aids available on the Internet, they can be added to your nonprofits’ mailings to emphasize your message and capture your reader’s attention.

Common Visual Aids for email include:

dog with kissesUsing Images

The adage “A picture’s worth a thousand words” still rings true in today’s high tech world.  Images not only catch the reader’s attention, they also humanize your organizations’ mission statement.

Keep in mind you can use your image in conjunction with a catchy Subject Line or a call to action to increase its impact.

Using Videos

What better way to introduce people to your nonprofit then showing them what it is you do? Videos are an excellent addition, they make your reader feel included in your organization before you even meet. Unlike images that can be interpreted in many ways, the use of video can inform the watcher of the current needs and goals specific to your latest project.

The types of videos you can add are endless, from current projects to a specific need.  Want to adopt out that adorable pup, showcase him in your latest email and add a video of his daily life.

Using GIFs

GIFs are relatively new to the scene, but they’re taking off rapidly:  what is it exactly? GIFs are animated images that repeat on a loop, every few seconds.  Be cautious using GIFs as they are subject to copyright laws.

Why not make your own organization-specific GIF. There are free tools you can use to make a GIF with the most common being GIPHY. Your only limitations are your own creativity.  Be funny, serious, or cheesy, whatever fits your nonprofits personality.

via GIPHY

Images (both static images and the more popular animated gif), as well as videos, capture your reader’s attention. No matter which media you intend to add to your mailings the goal is the same, to invoke an emotional response in the reader to either donate their money or better yet their time to your organization.  Demo our services today!

“Do I Want My ESP To Do Everything so I Always Have Successful Email Campaigns”

“Do I Want My ESP To Do Everything so I Always Have Successful Email Campaigns”

The foundation of successful email campaigns are made with the ESP you partner with.

You depend on your ESP to deliver, both for the email fundamentals you use and the performance you need.

Your ESP, one of the most critical parts of your marketing strategy is also one of the most critical parts of your marketing budget.

trying to do everything

trying to do everything

Just what is the core function of an Email Service Provider – the core functionality of an ESP is to send emails.  If your ESP integrates with other applications to do “everything” most likely you are connected to 3rd party software.  These partnerships have developed between companies to enhance the ESP experience, such as Magento, an e-commerce platform integrated with well know email providers.

Most of us use E-commerce, which seems to be the driving force for system integration.  E-commerce users want their customer to see account details, check what’s in stock, delivery dates, return policies and so forth. They want it convenient for the customer.  They want to receive and give correct information in a secure, safe environment.

Most businesses believe, to make the online shopping experience easier, the customer database should be accessible, right from the web; ideally a simple gateway to all and any customer information.  Not only Information, but mechanizes, that allows programs to capture customers buying habits, sales frequency and referrals, and in turn use this information to send an email when needed.  An integrated system.

For complete customer access using integrated software, databases need to be available to various systems, and each one must be secure.  Trusting that your vendor, such as an ESP that integrated with an e-commerce system, will have the necessary security in place, is risk businesses are taking.

E-commerce customer can be your email customers without integration:  the e-commerce software updates when needed and the ESP takes care of their own security.

  Easy, safe and secure without integration and just as seamless to the customer – and you are less vulnerable to breaches.

Software hackers normally attack the weakest point in your software. Vulnerabilities can hide anywhere: careless users, the software itself; networks, ISP’s partners, vendor systems, vendor access and so forth.  When you use an ESP with an integrated system, on their end their IT department probably needed to grow, which adds expenses that trickles down to the user. Security may seem good, but remember, a hacker only needs to get it right once.

Remember these breeches?  Did integrated systems play a part?

If your ESP, is part of an online integrated system, what would you do when something happens along the way – (misconfiguration, exposed passwords, hacker, glitch) that could have a domino effect on your entire business?  And then you have your innocent user, the one who is a victim of phishing email – who inevitability gives away their password, downloads ransomware and sends you a legit email with that attached as part of a comment to an order they placed. How many systems are affected then?

Realizing that not every customer will need every element you offer, using one platform for all services may also increase your licensing per user expense. Those additional costs don’t always translate into a better overall system.  You may find limited email list features, features you may like and use more often are no longer available.

Reduced features are only one of the biggest drawbacks of integrated software.  Integrated software pages are shown to be less powerful when compared to stand alone applications.  And yes they characteristically have fewer features compared to their specialized feature rich counterparts.

Integrated software usually has weak areas: you may have an excellent e-commerce solution but a mediocre list management program.

When integrating different programs and applications, software developers do not tend to specialize in one area. For example, there may be a company working on an upgrade in e-commerce shopping cart, while the other, shopping cart abandonment will be upgraded and tested at a later date.  And then there’s patches and continual security issues that are a concern in the overall product offering.

If you are using an ESP integrated with your favorite e-commerce package ask yourself, how do the cost analysis of functionally compare to using a traditional ESP to manage your email lists and the integrated platform?

As stated, the core functionality of ESPs is to send emails. With every function beyond that, brands have third-party options. And the majority of brands take advantage of supplemental software to improve their email creation process without integration.

Expecting your ESP to deliver all the functionality you need to plan, create, test, send and analyze the performance of your emails is realistic with Dundee Internet.  Expecting your ESP to integrate and work smoothly with your accounting software, e-commerce, ordering system and website, is not.

Trust your ESP and find the one that works for you that does their job well.

Dundee Internet offers exceptional email management tools: not new, they were always there –

5 Easy Ways To Make Email List Segments

5 Easy Ways To Make Email List Segments

Benefits of creating email list segments – Its a fact, general email campaigns, sent to your entire subscriber base, will not always be as successful as you want them to be. Subscribers prefer a unique tailored email that speaks directly to them.

Research shows taking the time to personalize your email messages, not only increase open rates, but also clickthroughs which ultimately results in higher ROI.

Personalize and sending the right message at the right time starts with segmenting your email list.

5 easy ways to segment your mailing list, so your email finds the proper inbox.

1. Demographics:

puzzle pieces

Puzzle Pieces

With Lyris ListManager there are hundreds of ways to use demographics to segment your list.

New to using demographics? – we recommend you start slowly, with some of the more common demographics such as age, gender, location and birth date. Collect this information about each subscriber on their profile form by simply adding the demographic field you want to collect to your subscribe form. Once the information is collected you can use it as needed to choose the targeted audience for your email campaigns.

2. Location, Location, Location:

They say home is where the heart is. Knowing where your subscribers call home can give you a clear advantage with an email campaign. Using their location, you can tailor your subject line to include local information or include information for your nearest local store instead of a corporate office. Knowing the location of your subscriber is as easy as adding a ZIP code line onto your subscription form!

3. Previously Purchased Items:

If you know where someone has been, it may just help you figure out where they are going next. Shopping is the same premise, if you know what they bought in the past, send offers that correspond to their interest. Personalizing the sale experience for your subscribers will keep them coming back for more.

4. Subscriber Engagement:

It’s important to keep track of your subscriber’s interest on your mailing list. It takes time and effort to generate an email marketing campaign, and you want to get the most for your time. Therefore, sending a mailing to your whole list may seem like you are getting a big bang for your buck, however, if you look closer you may notice that some subscribers haven’t been interacting with your emails for days, weeks or even months.

If this is the case, you can target these individuals with a re-engagement campaign. Let them know what they’re missing. Offer them an incentive to come back. When running a re-engagement campaign, it is often effective to ask for feedback as to why they are no longer interacting with your emails. For

example, maybe they feel overwhelmed with daily emails and would prefer to be contacted once a week instead. Bringing your unengaged subscriber back into the fold by making them feel appreciated, is as simple as listening to their needs and acting on them.

5. Asked and Answered:

Personalized emails require personal information, but you don’t want to scare away potential subscribers with an opt-in form a mile long. Instead, send out a survey to your new subscribers asking them about their interests and opinions. Extending an incentive for their answers will help to gather the information you need. For example, each submission may enter them into a drawing for a coveted item. With a survey, you must give a little to get a lot.

As a final point, always test your messages before you send them out.

Nonprofits, Decrease The Cost of New Recruitment and Grow Your Donor Base

Nonprofits, Decrease The Cost of New Recruitment and Grow Your Donor Base

Donor attrition is a fact of life, donor retention can be a challenge.

Just like any business, it is always costlier to obtain a new customer, or in this case a new donor, than it does to keep one.

The cost of obtaining a donation boxnew interest can really degrade your budget.

It is possible to decrease the cost of new recruitment and grow your donor base with supporter engagement driven by email marketing.

Nonprofits always have a base of loyal enthusiasts.  As you know not all supporters have made monetary donations to your cause.  These people need to be motivated to do so.  When a donor is totally engaged in your cause, this, as stats have shown, moves them to gift.  Engaged supporters who already donate are noted making greater cash contributions more often.  This motivation can be achieved by marketing to your donor base.

Using marketing strategies, such as an email marketing campaign, cost-effective and will boost those donations in no time.  Use what you know about your donors to create an engagement operation that will inspire donations.

  1. Analyze your existing database, categorize them into groups, for example, people who: never donated, donate once a year, donates several times a year.
  2. Consider creative ways to attract new recruitments. Google AdWords is an excellent way to advertise your nonprofit: include a landing page for those interests, to sign up to your mailing list.  Apply for the Google AdWords grant which will allow you to run your ads at a steep discount. https://www.google.com/grants/
  3. Review your donor base, keep it fresh. If you send to stale addresses you may be marked as a SPAMMER.
  4. With Profile Pages, you can build email campaigns that target your audience, using specific demographics. Are they female, male, older, younger, pet owners, homeowners…
  5. Make sure you include a CTA (call-to-action) in your email campaign. Don’t cover too much material at once, keep it simple and to the point.
  6. Incorporate parts of your blog post into your mailings. Offer just enough to whet their appetite so they will click on the link to read the rest of your blog.  Make sure you place a donate button on that page too.

There are always several email tools available to personalize your messages.  Use conditional content, triggered messages: and test before you send to get a sense of what produces the best opens. (Dundee offers all these and so much more!)

Donor retention is challenging, donor engagement does not need to be.  Listen to what your followers are saying.  They don’t understand how difficult and time consuming it is for the average nonprofit to raise money. They want results; show them results in what you say with email marketing along with available social networks.

How to be an Effective Email Marketer with call-to-action

How to be an Effective Email Marketer with call-to-action

The success of a call-to-action email campaign depends on your subscriber following through with that action.

When they click on that link where will it take them?

To your homepage?

Linking subscribers to your homepage may not be as effective as you would like: once there, the subscriber is faced with choices that may distract him from your main goal.  You may want him to click on the “Sales” link, but he clicks the “About” link instead: as there are so many more menu items to choose from.

The goal of your email: create a subscriber who is attentive on the one task that brought them there from your email. You want their focused attention.

How do you get a subscriber’s undivided attention?  –   Use a Landing Page.

To decide between a webpage or a landing page consider the difference between the two. Web pages are often large with many pages, links, with many call-to-actions; conversely, landing pages are normally one page and may have one call-to-action.

Landing pages are often clear, brief with a defined call-to-action.  These pages often show up on a google search.  When designing for a google option a typical Google search layout is shown here:

  1. This section is for paid search advertisements: such as Google adwords

2. This is also a paid search result: These are shopping advertisement

3. Featured Google Pages

4. Organic Search Pages

Because a landing page ranks high on google search they are often one of the first items that the google search engine will display. By the way, studies have shown that landing pages with as few as one link increases the conversion rate with paid advertisements.

In summary Landing Pages:

  1. Maintain continuity between your email message and the response your list member will take from your call-to-action by:
  2. Connect the message to the page, both in colors, style, and offer.
  3. Make it simple to read and understand, uncrowded by graphics and verbiage
  4. Allow you to expound on the offer and encourage visitor action with a free demo (for example)
  5. Keep them focused on one point, one action.

Email and specialized campaign landing pages go hand in hand.  If you need assistance with your landing page and ListManager.  Just drop us a note and we’ll be happy to assist.

Should You Decide Between Social Media and Email Marketing

Should You Decide Between Social Media and Email Marketing

The Nonprofit Advantage with Social Media

Free Social Media Sites for Nonprofits – When running a nonprofit organization, don’t you agree that free is always attractive. Especially when you are working with a tight budget.  First of all Social Media, as part of your marketing mix, should complement your virtual ads, website and Facebook presence.  Social Media essentially gives all nonprofit organizations no-cost marketing potential without limits.

Here is an article you might consider reading, How to Increase Sales Using Social Media,   However, Social Media does not get the job done alone –  complement your Social presence with email marketing.

Statistically, email continues to be the most cost-effective marketing vehicle for acquiring new interest and maintaining ongoing relationships.  When you compare email marketing with social marketing channels; you find that most of these social applications require work on the readers’ part. Email lists ( Discussion Lists, Announcements, and Newsletters) place the message directly in the inbox. No work is involved other than opening the message. The email goes to the list member, the list member doesn’t have to look for it.  And email, when archived, can be searchable.

Email over Social Media has proven to:man bursting through wall

  • Attract more volunteer participation
  • Reach out to people who are supporters and not social media followers
  • Help organize big fundraisers
  • Maintain employee interest
  • Keeps lines of communication open with all facets of your organization

How do you create a good solid email campaign?

Consider:

  • Including a story, something that promotes your brand and the heart of your organization
  • Showing the results of donor dollars, what you accomplished, what you are working toward
  • Using a call-to-action that will inspire your readers to:  pick up the phone – click on a link – make that donation
  • Offering white papers, downloads
  • Sending a form to capture their interests and availability – keep them engaged with your organization
  • Create emails you can analyze with email management tools

Dundee Internet offers a multitude of email management tools including:

  • Transactional emails and automated emails. These type of emails are automatically sent in reaction to an event or a transaction. Someone makes a donation
  • Triggered email, are set up to send in response to a specific event. An event can include a simple act such as filling out a form on your website which triggers a personalized thank you email.
  • Triggered Clauses, where one or more clauses define the terms for the creation of a specific segment.  This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Dates
    • Interests
    • Purchases
    • Text
    • Survey
    • Numeric
  • List segmentation sends email to specific demographics or classifications (volunteer, donors, constituents.)

As with any business or organization, to maintain a good relationship with customers and volunteers. It is always smart to follow up with them.  This is especially true if they spent time or money with your organization.  With email marketing. you can follow-up and keep track of all email activities to measure the success of your call-to-action. Your goal may include open rates and click-throughs or how many times your email is shared with a friend. All valuable information for future campaigns.

The bottom line doesn’t overlook the best and cost-effective tool around, Email.  And at Dundee, you can set up a list for as little as $10 a month: unlimited email sends for up to 500 subscribers.

Easy Way to Stop Your Mailings: Blacklisted

Easy Way to Stop Your Mailings: Blacklisted

Your list is Blacklisted! Your legitimate email is blocked by several ISP’s because you picked up a “Spam Trap” address – That address is now part of your subscriber list.

spam trapWhat should you do, what can you do?  Where did this Spam Trap come from?

Spam traps are used by many different organizations and can originate from anywhere.  They can be created or designed as needed: frequently made from a no longer used email account or an inactive domain.  To be effective, the address in question must be inactive for a considerable amount of time.

Frequently spam traps are emails that have been abandoned by the original user and recycled just for this purpose.  Another source comes from email addresses that had once functioned as a role account that is no longer in use, such as webmaster@ and president@.  In other cases, they are created specifically as spam traps, by an ISP, Blacklist provider or other organizations.

Essentially a spam trap is an email address that is not opted-in to receive mail, used to trap malicious senders.  It could be an unused older email address or one that’s newly created just for this purpose.  A spam trap is not created to function as a communication tool.

Who Uses Spam Traps?

Many organizations use spam traps, including large ISP’s like AOL, industries that offer spam filters and organizations that specialize in email reputation.   For instance, SpamCop  ( an email spam reporting service) has spam trap creation rules for these entities:

Traps must consist of email addresses which have never been used for legitimate email. They should not be “recycled user accounts. They should not be well-known email addresses, however fake. Spammers and other users should not be aware what the addresses are and you should try to keep them as confidential as is reasonably possible.  SpamCop will also keep them secret. We never reveal trap messages. Web-poison addresses and the like are acceptable sources.”

Void of rules or regulations, organizations interpret spam trap information with charts, formulas and WAGs to block incoming emails based on their own understanding and methodology.

Creating a Spam Trap (simple example)

Your company purchased a list, one address on your newly acquired list has been inactive for a year.  When your company emails to the list, the inactive address can’t be delivered to, as the in-inbox no longer exists.  In this case, your company, the sender, receives a hard bounce notification basically signaling the sender to remove that address from their member’s lists.  Most senders do remove these addresses, but those that do not will continue to send to this inactive account.

Eventually, this abandoned email address will cease returning a hard bounce to the sender becoming ripe for the ISP to turn it into a Spam Trap as a response to the irresponsible sender, in this case, your company.

Spam Traps – The Blacklist Guaranty

The Blacklist Guaranty – send an email campaign with a “Spam Trap” and you will be blocked or blacklisted in no time.  This block may take the form of a permanent block on your sending IP Address; your future messages will not be delivered until you remove the spam trap address.  With your tarnished reputation and spammer label, no doubt you will become familiar with Blacklist reporting agencies like Spamhaus and the Passive Spam Block List who will continue to keep you on their Blacklist until you resolve the spam trap issue.

Who put a Spam Trap in My Permission Based Email List?

A spam trap added to your list unknowingly by:

  1. Not using confirmed opted-in and other permission-based maintenance
  2. Harvesting addresses
  3. Purchasing email addresses
  4. Renting email addresses
  5. Using an email Append service
  6. Deliberately added to your list
  7. Using an old list

How to Remove Spam Traps

Avoid spam traps.  Not too long ago, spam traps were near to impossible to remove and the reporting ISP, unlikely to tell you which address to remove to get yourself off their Blacklist.  

You could reconfirm your list of subscribers and once again.  require all list members to confirm their subscription to your email newsletter.  You will lose subscribers because the process required action they must take.

If reconfirming all your subscribers seems a little daunting, you may be able to identify clean, spam trap free addresses by mailing in segments. Start with small groups, (i.e. join date for example) until the entire list is used. Eventually, if everything goes right you may be able to isolate the offending email address and avoid most of the reconfirm process.

You may possibly avoid spam traps altogether by using a verification service.  Email verification is one way to make sure the addresses on your list are associated with an actual inbox.  In other words, it’s making sure that the messages you’re sending have somewhere to go.

How to Prevent Spam Traps

Review the age of your lists.  How often was it used?  Email lists are considered stale when they are over 3 months old without use.   Lists with several stale addresses can lead to high rates of bounces, spam complaints, and unsubscribes.

Do not buy a list, know how your list member email addresses are collected.

Manage your list sign-up the process: confirm, validate all new sign-ups.

In summary, removing a spam trap is a challenging task, and you may not be successful unless you reconfirm your list.  The better solution: make sure these offending addresses stay off your mailing lists altogether by following Safe Mailing Practices and not following the Worse Email Practices for List Management.

Always Use These 5 Emails For a New List Subscriber

Always Use These 5 Emails For a New List Subscriber

The hardest part is over. You have a new list subscriber. Now what?

A new list subscriber should feel their membership is important to you and worthwhile for them.  It’s essential to keep this person engaged with your emails: Targeted emails sent on a regular basis does just that.  Besides all the future emails your new member will enjoy, there are at least 5 email types that your list member may receive from you, one time or another, essential emails that keep list members engaged. They are the:

1. The Welcome Letter: Once a new member is added to your mailing list it is important to greet them and to show gratitude for taking the effort to follow your content. The content sent,  should be personalized for the new subscriber, i.e. address them by their name. The welcome letter sets their expectations; what information can they expect from their subscription, how often will you be mailing, and so forth.  AND always include an unsubscribe link or create a “no response to this email will remove you from this list” option, in case they were added by mistake. Make sure you ask your new subscribers to whitelist your email address with their ISP so future mailings won’t end up as marked as SPAM.  Keep a warm and sincere tone, as with any interaction with people you may never get another chance to make a good first impression and loyal list member.

2. Birthday Emails: These emails are self-explanatory. With Dundee Email, you can enter your list members birth date into the system for future automatic mailings.  The Birthday Greeting you create will arrive in their inbox at the right date on the time you designate.  This is a perfect way to make them feel special, and don’t forget to add a sale coupon just for them.

3. Re-engagement Letter: Have you noticed that your open rates are suffering? Your subscriber rate might be up, but are they interacting with your content and generating sales? Maybe it’s time to ramp up user enthusiasm. An emailed discount for products/ services may not be enough. When designing a reengagement email, think outside the box.  Make eye-catching subject lines and unusual proposals to bring your users back into the fold.  Consider including a brief survey, to find out what they are thinking.  Ask when they want to hear from you, what really interests them.  Note their likes and dislikes and use this information to tailor future email campaigns – deliver the content they want at the time they want it.

4. Reminders: We all get busy and use reminders to make sure all our tasks get completed. Personally, I find myself making lists and using a ridiculous amount of post-its to stay on track of things I need or should do, your customers are no different. Everyone has a list of some sort to remind them to pick up their dry cleaning or buy milk at the grocery store.  However when shopping, most likely they wouldn’t leave their shopping cart sitting in the middle of the store and walk out, but when they shop online, it’s easy to leave that cart.  This brings me to the 4th letter,  the  Shopping cart abandonment email reminder.

Email list members are just like us; Fill up a virtual shopping cart,  pretend to check out, just to view the shipping costs. Or they select that blue scarf, then buy it at different VS (virtual store).   They didn’t finish the transaction because they simply do not want to give out all that personal information – OR-  they are worried about site security.

In all shopping cart abandonment situations,  a reminder email about their unfinished purchase maybe the nudge they need to close that sale.

A reminder email for shopping carts has three general components, an eye-catching subject line, the abandoned items and a call to action. The subject line should entice the recipient to open your email one that evokes an emotional response.  Once the email is opened, showcase the items they left behind and highlight any special features they may have missed, like a 30-day return policy.  Design the email for a one-click purchase: automatically take them to their account to pick up where they left off.

5. Goodbye letter: Sometimes no matter what you do your member still unsubscribe. Goodbyes are the hardest in real life and goodbyes to a list member, well not as hard to write.  Goodbye emails are not widely used; Most people do not want to pester their newly unsubscribed members. However, it is important to send a final email to your previous subscriber thanking them for their loyalty, and,  trying to once again make them an offer to stay. Some of the most successful goodbyes are simple,  to the point with little or no images.  The goal of your letter is to get them to stay, then allow them to alter their email preferences – too much mail turns readers off too.  Remember use tools, a survey, profile page or both.

For mailing lists, the goals are always the same. We want an active, engaged subscriber, it’s not just enough to have many subscribers we want them to open their emails, forward them to friends and become customers of our products or services. The key to reaching your goal is to keep the lines of communication open with our members by interacting with them at all stages whether they are new, haven’t opened an email in a month, or are unsubscribing.