Kickstart your digital marketing with an email newsletter

Kickstart your digital marketing with an email newsletter

Virgin Money Giving finds a world of opportunity in the inbox

Digital marketing promises the world to smaller charities, connecting you with a virtual army of fundraisers and a huge new audience of potential donors. However, the term ‘digital marketing’ is the widest of umbrellas – covering everything from display advertising and search engine optimisation to influencer marketing and social media promotion. “People can feel a little overwhelmed,” admits Katie Hart from digital marketing specialists Mapp. “There’s a lot that you could be doing, but when faced with that much choice it’s difficult to know where to begin and you can grind to a halt.”

Katie’s advice is to start with something all of us are very familiar with – email. “Some people think email is a dying art,” she says. “But if you look at the performance and the return on investment, the rewards you can reap are amazing.” Here’s Katie’s nine-step plan to the perfect newsletter.

1  Remember why you are doing this

“A well-crafted newsletter will pay dividends, reminding your donors of the good work you are doing and encouraging past fundraisers to engage in a new campaign. If you keep those messages in mind, your email will keep its focus.”

2  Stick to what you know

“The best way to encourage people is with true stories from those that have been there and done it. So I’d look for experiences from previous fundraisers – why they did the fundraising, what it did for them as an individual, and what it did for the person or group who benefited.”

3  Your followers are the best place to start

“People love to share. So if you are looking for content for your email your donors are a good place to start. You could ask for stories across your social channels or directly from previous fundraisers and use these stories in your email. That’s powerful content that you do not need to pay for.”

4  Pick a frequency

“People are creatures of habit, so it’s best to work around people’s rhythms – ideally weekly or monthly. Fortnightly can work too.”

5 Experiment with times

“Think about when you read most of your emails and start there. If you can email them first thing in the morning or in the evening, they may well read it on the way to or from work. If your email arrives around lunchtime they may well read it while they are having a sandwich. Ongoing testing is the only way to really understand the best time to send your emails, but there are plenty of benchmark reports online that can get you started.”

6  Say hello

“It’s good practice, and good manners, to send anyone that signs up a welcome email introducing them to the charity. Spell out what they’re going to receive and when”.

7  Keep those promises

“The difficult part is often sticking to a schedule, especially if you have a small team – but if you’re saying ‘we will write to you monthly and tell you how we are spending your money’ then you need to deliver on that.”

8  Stay legal

“I would make a huge recommendation to read up around the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) because all of the data marketing permissions are going to be changing in 2018. It’s important for all organisations of any size to understand what the implications are for them, and the shape that their data is currently in. It’s really important to make sure that you’ve got the right marketing permissions, unsubscribe pages and so on.”

9  Email is only the beginning

“The beauty of email is that it provides a lot of content for you to use elsewhere. If you want to do other things, like display advertising or social marketing, then you’ve got that content good to go.”


Further reading: A good overview of the General Data Protection Regulation can be found here.

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