Email marketing is an effective way to stay connected with your audience, offer them opportunities for engagement, secure donations, and show them the impact your organization is making. But before you start sending out targeted emails, you need to grow your nonprofit’s email list.
Your nonprofit can gather email addresses in a variety of ways, including through your website, social media, direct mail, and in-person. With a little planning and creativity, you can easily grow your nonprofit’s email list. Here are some effective techniques to help bulk up your email contacts.
How To Grow Your Nonprofit’s Email List
In an ideal world, as soon as your visitor comes to your website, you’d collect their email address and other contact information. The key is to have the right website tools in place to make this easy for your visitors.
Optimize your website for email collection using these features:
- Landing Page: The landing page is one of the most important parts of your website. This feature can be set up to capture your visitor’s contact information. You can also customize the landing page based on how your visitor arrives at your website and promote personalized offers (newsletter subscription, donation form) in exchange for an email address.
- Popups: Popups are surprisingly effective in collecting emails. Your nonprofit can use them in a variety of ways. Most often, a popup has a very straightforward message that includes a headline and a call to action. For example, your nonprofit can encourage visitors to sign up for your newsletter.
Here are two types of popups that you can place on your website:
- Timed Popup: Your analytics tool (ie. Google Analytics) can tell you how long visitors stay on your website. With this information, you can set a timer so that a popup appears before your visitors leave your site.
- Page Read Popup: Popups can be set to appear once a visitor scrolls a certain percentage down your page. Since we know that most visitors don’t make it all the way to the bottom of a site, the percentage should be set to reach a maximum audience.
There are many free and affordable popup services available online for those new to this marketing technique.
- Popup Domination offers both a WordPress plugin and a standalone service that connects right to your website.
- LeadIn by HubSpot is a free email capture form that is easy to implement on your website and provides other insights into who visitors are to your website.
- Screen Popper provides an simple format for websites and offers customizable plans for virtually any sized organization.
Exclusive content is often used to entice a first-time visitor to your website, thereby giving you an opportunity to capture their email address.
While there are dozens of ways to amp up your content, here are 3 things that you can incorporate into your marketing plans right away.
- Subscriber-Only Content: Some website visitors aren’t likely to share their information unless they receive something in return, and that’s one of the reasons why subscriber-only content works. Offer ebooks, whitepapers, and other resources to your readers in exchange for an email address.
- Create Evergreen Content: One of the best ways to attract visitors time and again to your website, thus collecting their email in the process, is to write valuable evergreen content. A focus on expert, timeless content will build your credibility and ensure that you bring visitors, new and old, to your website. For a some great tips for writing evergreen content, browse this blog post.
- Host Webinars: Is your nonprofit breaking the mold? Do you have stellar staff doing amazing work and you want to share your expertise around a specific subject? You may want to think about hosting a webinar. Not only will you be adding emails to your list, you’ll have the added bonus of engaging and educating people about your work.
Social media in and of itself is a very engaging marketing tool because it often inspires action. Encourage your social media audience to visit your website with incentives, good content, and links back to your website.
Collect email addresses via social media using these 3 techniques:
- Update Your Bios: Aside from your nonprofit’s name and mission, your social media bios should include a link to a landing page on your website.
- Make Your Posts Count: Try adding a call to action in the occasional social media post to give your visitors a chance to engage. Ask your viewers to head to your website to “learn more” or “get involved”, where they’ll be prompted to input their contact information.
- Take Advantage of Facebook’s Features: Facebook has a handy email signup tab that your nonprofit can use to acquire email addresses. Enable this setting using the email tab application.
In Person Networking and Events
It’s easy to forget that you aren’t limited to capturing emails online. Before technology ruled our lives, we gathered contact information the old-fashioned way– in person!
Gather emails at events like your campaign kickoff, fundraisers, and other networking functions. And don’t feel limited to your own events. Try talking to your local Chamber of Commerce or Young Professionals Association about hosting a gathering to expand your audience and grow your email list.
In many cases, your nonprofit may send correspondence through direct mail. This is especially common with established nonprofits and those that have built a donor base offline.
But just because you connect with these folks through snail mail doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask for an email address.
Encourage your direct mail contacts to opt-in to emails by sending them an insert with information about how to connect in your next round of direct mail, with a thank you, or included with a donation receipt.
Building an email list takes time, but the benefits of growing your nonprofit’s email list are worth it. Nonprofits that connect with their contacts via email oftentimes notice that their donors are more engaged and informed because the information they receive is regular and relevant.