We are constantly asked by causes about the status of email in this fast-paced, ever-changing world of communications. We’ve spoken with a lot of cause leaders about the continuous decline in success with their email newsletters and campaigns and many assume it’s because email is no longer an effective way to communicate and engage constituents.
However, our research indicates that email is still a valuable part of your communication and fundraising strategies, especially with Millennials. More than 65% of Millennials receive email communication from nonprofits. In addition, email is the preferred way to engage with nonprofits on their smartphones over Facebook, Twitter, text, video and many other mediums.
So, what’s the problem? It seems like we should just send more and more emails then, right? Wrong. And here’s why.
According to Mashable, 294 billion emails were sent each day in 2012 and a whopping 78% of them were spam. And according to our research, most Millennials (65%) max out at following five nonprofits by email. And their biggest email pet peeve? Too many of them stating, “I always have something in my inbox from them.”
So how can you engage your Millennial audience through email campaigns without overwhelming them? How can your emails stand out and be “chosen” as one of the few they read on a regular basis?
There is no magic formula, but there are some simple things your organization should be focusing on that could help tremendously.
Millennials prefer short, concise emails that give a clear call-to-action. Please, please put an end to long emails full of copy and no action to take at the end! Keep it short and tell your readers what you want them to do next whether it’s sign a petition or pledge, make a donation or just simply read the rest of a blog article.
Optimize Your Design and Layout
It’s no surprise that more and more people are reading email on their mobile devices. Make sure you are using a one-column layout so your emails are readable on phones. Don’t bury headlines and calls-to-action and again, keep the copy short!
Provide Content that Millennials Want
The top content Millennials want from general emails like newsletters are upcoming events, short, timely updates with links to full articles and success stories related to your organization. So, give them want they want! Keep in mind that this may look different for your organization so if you can, test out a few approaches to see what content your audience wants the most by tracking clicks and shares in your email.
Follow Up on Big Calls-to-Action
You’ve sent a beautiful, easy-to-follow email with the content your readers crave followed by a clear call-to-action or two. Now it’s time to follow-up on the action you asked them to take. If you asked for a donation or to sign a pledge, let them know how their action made a difference by sending a brief follow-up email detailing the success.
We’d love to hear about the success you’ve had with your email campaigns in the comments. Also, for more on how to inspire Millennials to connect, involve and give check our the 2013 MIllennial Impact Report.