- Mon, March 23 2009
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
I wanted to call attention to a recent commenter’s question and the answer, provided by my savvy nonprofit marketing colleague here at Network for Good, Rebecca Higman.
Sally wrote: We just e mailed invitations to an event to 700 of our donors and got 250+ (!) kicked back to us- not a good result!! How can we collect accurate, home email addresses?
As you know, having a lot of names isn’t the key to a strong list—it’s having a lot of qualified, accurate names. Here are a few tips for building and maintaining a clean email marketing list:
1) Consider using a double opt-in email capture. This simply means that whenever someone new joins your email list or when you add someone (with their permission!), an email goes to that email address with a confirmation link. As soon as the new subscriber confirms their opt-in, you can begin sending messages to that address. This will ensure you’re not getting spam-bots or misspellings—as you would not get a follow-up from either type.
2) Make sure you’re capturing email addresses everywhere possible. Whether it’s at special events, on your direct-mail pieces or via a link in the email signature of your possible correspondence, always drive people to subscribe to your list. As you continue to add people to your database and people manage their subscription preferences, hopefully many users will correctly enter their contact information.
3) Try segmenting your list for future mailings. Send an email campaign with the sole call-to-action for people to update their information. Obviously this will not work for the folks whose emails “hard-bounced,” but the soft bounces and less active members of your email audience will have the chance to follow-up.
4) Keep an eye on those email that are bouncing back. If these are all donors, you certainly want to make sure you’ve got their correct information. Try to reach out to them via other means—perhaps a phone call, small direct-mail campaign or an individual email directly from you—if/when time and budget allows.
5) Make sure you’re using an email marketing tool that has strong relationships with ISPs. If the tool you’re using is highly SPAM-y, say Outlook or another, consider upgrading to an email marketing service with a good reputation likely to get past firewalls and other blockers.