10 Jul 2013 Should My Non-Profit Association Use Email Marketing Software?
Every association and non-profit organization needs an email presence. Being able to send and receive emails using a ‘email@example.com’ email extension adds legitimacy and professionalism to your organization. Getting one is easy and usually one or two email addresses will be provided with your domain hosting service. It’s so easy and inexpensive that even the smallest organizations can afford the time and money needed to avoid using something like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ for email correspondence.
Significantly less easy and a bit more expensive is email marketing. Aside from designing attractive and informative email templates there is the hurdle of overcoming SPAM filters. All of us think that the majority of our emails will be welcomed into the inboxes of our organizations members and volunteers with open arms. Unfortunately this is not always the case. SPAM filters exist on all levels, from the ISP (Internet Service Provider), to the local server to the target inbox. This is where email marketing software comes in handy.
Email marketing software programs allow for easy email template creation but more importantly they also help your organizations emails from being marked as SPAM. These companies make staying off of SPAM blacklists their top priority. The IP addresses they send all their emails from are clean and easily accepted. This helps them avoid being blocked by servers and ISP’s. Many of them even provide content ratings for your emails so that you may see if you are likely to be blocked or marked as potential SPAM at the inbox or email reading level.
A further benefit that email marketing software can provide is robust analytics. Some of these software solutions can track click through traffic for links in the email, bounce rates, open rates, forward rates and whether this email was blocked or marked as SPAM by the receiving party. So to fully ensure that your email is getting through it is important for someone to occasionally comb through the analytics to see who in your membership is not getting the emails.
You’ve probably seen emails from the various email marketing products out there (they usually put small print at the bottom ‘email powered by xyz’) and noticed that the ‘from’ address is ‘email@example.com’. Reply to this address and the message and it’s often just like any other email correspondence at that point. So should your association be using this? Yes and No.
Yes, yes and yes again for mass emailing your contact list, no for individual communication. You will want to keep that ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ for non marketing based emails. Email marketing software is not a replacement for your inbox but rather, it’s a great way to get your event invites, newsletters, member announcement and donor communications into the inboxes of your contacts.