July 7, 2016
Categories: Marketing, PR, and Social Media

What’s wrong with how your animal organization is using email?

Even in the age of social media, email is the most effective way to communicate with your supporters online. But  email marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5 percent every year, because people have unsubscribed or because they’ve changed email addresses. How can you fight that trend and grow your list instead of seeing it shrink?

First, only send people things they want to read. Don’t waste your supporters’ trust and interest on content they won’t find interesting or relevant. Never send an email just to tick it off your to-do list.

Not sure what they want to read? You can use analytics from your email software to see what type of emails get the most opens and click-throughs.

Second, when asking people to subscribe, explain what they’re going to get. Why should they sign up? How often should they expect emails? What type of content will they receive? After all, in a world where we are inundated with emails, why should they sign up for one more?

Once you have great content to share and your readers know what to expect, it’s time to grow your list. Here’s how:

  1. Have a subscribe button visible on the homepage of your website. In fact, have it on as many pages as you can, if not all of them. Make it above the fold and include why they should sign up. If you have the software and capability to do so, create a form that allows the person to tell you a little more about themselves and what type of content they are interested in.
  2. Include social sharing on your emails. Encourage your audience to share your valuable content with their friends, so you reach more people and get new fans. This means you’ll want to include a link to subscribe to emails in your email, even though it may seem counter-intuitive. You never know who this will get forwarded to! Make sure they have an easy way to opt-in.
  3. Use social media. Don’t ask every day, but be sure to sprinkle in posts reminding people to sign up for your mailings (and why they should). Did you just launch an adoption special? Consider announcing it to your email subscribers before the public, giving them an “insider” advantage. Then, let your followers know on social that they can be the first to know about cool news like that if they sign up!
  4. Contests! Contests are a great way to reach new audiences. Have them register with their email address, and allow them to opt in to hearing from you about other topics they’ll be interested in. Most will!
  5. Have a blog? Don’t forget to use it! Always end each post with a call-to-action. Signing up to get more awesome content like they just read about is a great way to end a post.
  6. Remember to utilize your community partners. Are there other organizations or media that feature a pet of yours each week? Tell people to sign up to get more information on adoption events and available pets . The same goes for any guest blog on another website, if appropriate.

One more way? Give it a fun name and make it feel inclusive! For example, make sure you’re part of the Maddie Network! Why? Because you don’t want to miss more innovative ideas for pet fostering, adoption, shelter medicine and stories about how pets make our lives better and happier. Thanks for asking.