In the landscape of digital fundraising, email is a central figure. The success of your email fundraising program is a classic case of nature versus nurture. If you nurture your email program, giving it attention and care, i.e. email hygiene, then you’ll watch it flourish. If you let nature take its course without the nurture piece, then you’re sitting on a ticking time bomb that will completely destroy your email marketing and fundraising program. Sound extreme? It’s not. Let’s take a look at how email can be a ticking time bomb, then examine how to keep this from happening by making email your hero.
How Email Becomes A Ticking Time Bomb
Let’s break down what it means for email to be a ticking time bomb and how it can literally destroy your email marketing and fundraising. Google (Gmail), Yahoo, and other internet service providers (ISPs) have become quite sophisticated over the years. Though SPAM can still get through, the job of the ISP is to put the emails in your inbox that 1) appear to be something you are interested in, 2) are from senders you agreed to receive email from, and 3) come from reputable senders.
Every email that your organization sends out is designed to hit the inbox of your subscribers, many of which may be donors. Let’s say you send an email to 10,000 subscribers.
(TICK) With no data hygiene, you will likely notice a decrease in your email open and click rates over time.
(TICK) As your open rates decrease, ISP algorithms will begin to identify your emails as not one that your subscribers are interested in. After all, if your subscribers were interested, wouldn’t open rates increase or remain steady?
(TICK) As a result, more of your emails may start landing in the Bulk Items, SPAM, or Promotions folder instead of the Inbox.
(TICK) In addition, the IP address from which your emails are sent, which you may or may not have control over, will begin to appear as less credible to ISPs and risk becoming blacklisted.
(TICK) This is what I call landing in “email jail.” It’s easy to get into and hard to get out of.
(BOOM) As ISPs start to put your emails in other folders instead of the Inbox, or if you get blacklisted as a sender, email fundraising can come to a screeching halt.
Real-life scenario: Using our example, let’s assume your email list size of 10,000 normally returns $2,500 in donations each time you send an email to your subscriber base. If you do this each month, then that’s $30,000 a year. As your emails start landing outside of the Inbox, your open rates take a nosedive. In a short period of time, your $30,000 a year can dwindle to $0 per year….even though you’re expending the same effort to write, design, and send emails.
Here’s what you need to understand: this is not a hypothetical scenario, I’ve seen it happen first hand with an organization. The lack of email hygiene literally wiped out email fundraising and it took over a year to re-establish. Even the best email program can become a time bomb if left unattended.
Let’s not let this happen to your organization. Instead, let’s create a Hero out of your email efforts.
How to Create Email as Your Hero
Why This Is Important
Let’s look at some “math” behind why this is important:
High Quality Email List = Higher Open Rates = More Clicks = Better Reputation = Landing in the Inbox = More Revenue for Your Organization
It all starts with the quality of your email list. But what if it’s too late for your organization? What if you’re already in “email jail?” I’ll address that topic in my next post.
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