As animal organizations struggle with Facebook’s increasingly restrictive algorithm, the need to make sure all your eggs aren’t in Facebook’s basket becomes more obvious. One of the often-neglected but best ways to accomplish that is by building and growing your own direct email capability — but how can you do that?
While it’s been easy in recent years to shift the majority of your communications strategy to social media, email actually offers a more powerful and direct way to contact your supporters. After all, the simple act of giving you their email address creates a bond of trust that can result in a deeper, more open, and more direct line of communication.
Not only that, but the return on investment of email marketing is four times higher than snail mail, and three times higher than social media. In fact, the chance someone will click an email link is six times higher than the chance they’ll click a link in a Tweet.
So you’re sold, but not sure where to begin to build or revitalize your own email list? Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Create an email list signup page on your website. There are several ways to do this, and ideally you’ll do them all. First, you need a dedicated page for mailing list signups, and it should be optimized for Google and for social sharing. You should also have a simple form on your landing page, or at least a very visible link to the dedicated sign-up page.
2. Social media. Your dedicated signup page needs to be a regular part of your social media content — weekly on Twitter, monthly on Facebook.
3. Ask for help. If you already have a mailing list, don’t hesitate to ask your subscribers to forward the email to their friends who might be interested in your content and your cause, with a handy signup link in an obvious spot. Ask your staff and volunteers to do the same!
4. Get signatures at events. Whether you go old-school and put out a signup sheet, or you have a tablet where people can register digitally to receive your communications, never miss an opportunity to grow your list!
5. Embed an email signup request into all your communications. That can mean sgnatures on official emails, adoption forms, fundraising pleas, thank you letters and pages, signage in the shelter — whenever you communicate with your community, consider asking them to take that relationship to the next level.
Looking for other ideas on growing or using an email list? Visit Maddie’s Pet Forum, where your colleagues are having animal welfare conversations 24/7!