When talking about starting a fundraising program with a small (or non-existent) budget, email marketing can be your rescue group’s best friend.
It’s not enough to just sign up for a Profits for Pets shop for your organization. You’ll also need to have a plan in place to let people know about it and get them excited about it.
That’s where email marketing comes in handy.
Are you wondering what “email marketing” is? If you have an email address, chances are you already know. Email marketing refers to those newsletter signups on websites and the “enter your email address here for 20% off your next order” coupons. Once companies have your email address, they send you emails to market their products. It’s that simple!
To send out emails like this you’ll need to start an account with an email service provider. A great place to start is MailChimp which is FREE if you have fewer than 500 email addresses. But there are lots of good companies out there and some of them even have special rates for registered nonprofits.
Using email marketing is quite possibly the best tool at your disposal for promoting your Profits for Pets shop and your organization. Statistics show that someone has to be advertised or marketed to 7 times before they decide to make a purchase.
If someone is introduced to your organization at an event, receives a flyer and visits your shop, that’s only one time they have “advertised to”. Statistically you need to ask them 6 more times to purchase an item from your shop.
That’s where email marketing becomes your most useful tool. You don’t need to be “salesy” and send out loads of emails. Rather, use the tips below to build relationships and engage your shoppers, adoptive families and other supporters.
Have a call-to-action on your website. If you don’t provide visitors to your website with a place to sign up for emails from you, then they can’t sign up! So, have a clear and obvious newsletter sign-up form on your website. Let people know what they are signing up for and be sure to follow through with it, such as letting them know they’re signing up to receive a monthly newsletter, and then sending a monthly newsletter.
Create an email template that is “on brand”. Having a recognizable look and feel to your marketing materials and website is extremely important.
According to Classy.org, branded donation pages generate 38% more revenue than generic pages. There are lots of statistics out there like this one and here is the take home message: People are more likely to interact with you online if they know a communication is from you. In email marketing terms this translates to using an email template that has the same look and feel of your website and marketing materials.
Think about this: if someone takes a flyer from you at an event advertising your Profits for Pets shop and go to your website, if your website looks similar to the flyer then they know they’re in the right place.
The same thing applies to your email communications. If your email template looks similar to your website (same color scheme, fonts and logo), people will know that email is from you and be excited to read it!
Segment your lists. This is certainly one of the fancier aspects of getting started with email marketing. But as you start building your email lists, it’s a good idea to segment your lists into different groups. For example, you might have one list of people who have adopted pets from you, another for people who have purchased items from your shop and another of people who have donated items or money.
Having these lists can come in very handy if you want to target a certain group of people with an email. For example, maybe you’re looking for adoptive families to follow up with and highlight in your newsletter or you are in desperate need of emergency funds for a litter that just showed up on your doorstep.
Knowing who on your contact list has helped you out of a pinch before or who has adopted from you in the past 2 years, and easily being able to reach out to those people is invaluable to both parties.
Setting lists like these up is easy once you have an account with an email service provider (ESP). And every ESP has lots of resources on their website to show you the ins-and-outs of how their software works.
Communicate consistently and regularly. Remember that people who give you their email address WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU, so don’t be shy. For example, for your monthly newsletter you could have a section for updates on adoptions, highlight a few adoptable pets, a give list of upcoming adoption events and have “product of the month” to showcase.
Sending regular emails will allow you to build a relationship with the people who are invested in your work and will give you a chance to show them what you’re accomplishing.
Think about how many adoptive moms and dads are out there that you haven’t had a way to stay in touch with. The people that have adopted from you have a special place in their hearts for what you do and are your biggest advocates. These are the people you can call on when you are in need of food, supplies, foster homes, emergency funds, etc.
If you’re staying in regular contact with the people who love the work you’re doing, they will be happy to help you out when the time comes.
And having these regular communications also keeps your subscribers interested and engaged with your Profits for Pets shop. The more you can encourage people to visit your shop, the more items they will buy and the more your organization will earn. It’s a win-win!