Archives for November 2008

Are you monetizing your email lists?

Randall MainsOf all the eMarketing channels you can leverage to develop online fundraising sources for your not-for-profit organization, email fundraising has proven to be one of the best.  You can monetize your email list.  A good qualified internal email list should generate substantial gifts toward your annual fund, add to your monthly donor groups, and even raise funds for special projects. I will show you how to monetize your email list laterbut for now I want to focus on how to begin building your lists, since many charities are literally at ground zero when it comes to their email lists.

Most companies don’t know how to start building their email lists. While there are numerous methods you can use, both online and offline, you’re best to grow your email lists by addressing your website traffic conversion plan first, which is generally an overlooked subject.  I personally prefer incentive-based email sign-up offers, which I’ll explain later.

Much of the focus I hear about is on generating visitors to your website, rather than converting the visitors you’ll get.  (Many charities have channels to generate traffic — namely broadcast television, radio, magazines, events, direct mail).  Generating traffic to your website without having a plan to convert the traffic into non profit marketing assets is the equivalent of having a billboard on the highway–you do get brand awareness because of the traffic that sees your ad, but you don’t get many tangible assets to work with after your ad ends.

Alternatively, a non profit website design strategy that concentrates on traffic conversion, will add people onto your email list with whom you can later communicate.  Using this method you collect as many names as possible that you can convert into gifts or sales today, plus names that are likely to convert in the weeks and months to come through online fundraising.

Most companies will dedicate zero real estate, or very little online real estate, to traffic conversion efforts. In my next blog I’ll feature websites that illustrate good traffic conversion systems as well as those that don’t.  Installing a good one will increase the size of your email lists, and eventually lead to the significant results many companies are getting out of email fundraising.

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