Strategic Web Communication Principle #2 of 5 Part 1

Develop your email fundraising and communication tools.

Despite negative press about spamming and phishing, email is still the most prevalent method of communicating with people online. It can become your chief method for delivering your messages, to both old friends and new. And email fundraising is one of the most proven ways to monetize your email marketing assets.

The key to building a permission-based opt-in email list is to figure out what you can provide in exchange for names and email addresses. Once you have your strategy devised, you’ll begin to establish a list that nurtures your current relationships while developing new ones. Some examples of potential incentives that people might sign up for include daily devotionals, weekly sermons, topical e-newsletters, special premiums, prayer, discount coupons, downloads, welcome kits, and so on.

Usually in email fundraising, your primary e-newsletter can be the vehicle for getting this process started. The goal is to build your email list by providing a way for people to begin interacting with you while you minister to them. The e-newsletter can be your core ingredient, to be complemented by other ideas that enhance the offer. In either case, this whole process must be incentive based. People need some kind of compelling reason for reading your e-newsletter, whether it’s unique content or discount coupons for your products.

Here are some examples of ministry newsletters:

Hungry Souls
Sermon-Coach

Inside Scoop: If you send your e-newsletter via email, publish it online also. Many people can’t read email on their systems, but if you provide a quick link they can click to reach your site, they can read your newsletter there.

Something worth mentioning here: It’s important to never send emails to people who haven’t opted in. If you do, you’ll most likely be identified as a spammer-and may even lose your ability to email at all. You need to post your privacy policy on your website and stick to it. Avoid selling or renting your list to others, no matter how great the offer.
(Quick aside: Instead of sharing your lists, consider taking advertisers in your e-newsletters.)

Practical Tip #1: Develop an incentive-based email offer page.
Identify what you’re already doing that can become an e-newsletter opportunity. The key is a good landing page-a page that people click to from the email. The landing page should repeat the offer, go into more detail, and convince people to do whatever it is you’re asking. It should answer the visitor’s question: What’s in it for me?

Salem provides an excellent example of getting people to sign up for newsletters:

Crosswalk.com

Look at all the e-newsletters to which you could opt in — they’re currently offering 67 different newsletters! Each time someone opts in to one of them, Salem collects an email address, which they then use to provide online ministry that enhances their existing relationships while establishing new ones. In addition, they can communicate with these e-newsletter names on additional matters.

Here’s other examples of good landing page with an incentive-based offer from the Presidential Prayer Team:
Jewish Voice:
Villages at Country Club:

The Presidential Prayer Team wants people to join their prayer team for free. This landing page conveys all the benefits of being a member, including prayers that can be used immediately. Once people become members, then PPT emails them a newsletter every week, complete with content to help in praying. PPT also sends regular online fundraising appeals. But their first step was to figure out why people would want to become members and then making the case to convince them to join.

If you have a sales-based or online email fundraising newsletter, at the very least you need to offer discount coupons, or free gifts. Research shows that discount offers are the #1 reason why many women sign up for e-newsletters. This could be a very effective non profit marketing tool for your organization.

If you need help in this area, contact Pathmaker and we can assist you in getting your incentive-based email offer page setup.

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