As a nonprofit organization, you probably send hundreds, if not thousands of emails every year. You also may use a software that helps you understand the data and results of all that emailing.
Email campaigns, or newsletters, are a huge part of a nonprofit's online communication. If you are looking for tips on how to improve your nonprofit's newsletter, check out this article!
Using a software (like AssoConnect!) is a great way to help you understand the results of your emailing.
For example, here is a test example of what an administrator using AssoConnect would see after sending out an email campaign to their contacts:
We want everyone to know the important work you are doing, and emailing can be a big part of that. It is always a good idea to analyze your statistics to improve your future emailing campaigns and to help you achieve the most effective communication for your nonprofit!
In this article we will talk about how to get the most out of your statistics by:
- Explaining how to understand and interpret your data
- Improving your open and click rates while decreasing your bounce and spam rates
How to Understand and Interpret Your Data
The Opening Rate
First things first, a little recap on an important term: the opening rate! It is a simple but important part of your data. The opening rate is the number of recipients who opened your email compared to how many emails were sent.
For example, if you send out 10 emails and 8 people opened your email, your opening rate is 80 percent.
You may be wondering how we collect that information? To collect this data, our software puts a tiny (invisible!) image in each email you send and then counts the number of times this image is uploaded.
Don’t worry! It is totally invisible to your recipients.
While we are talking about the opening rate, why not delve into...
How to improve your opening rate?
What is considered a good opening rate depends on the type of nonprofit and the type of recipient. Relevancy is key!
If you send out an email with important information to your contacts, a good opening rate would be at least 50 percent. However, an email that is asking for donations will probably have a lower opening rate.
A study by Mailchimp, one of the largest emailing service companies in the U.S., was conducted based on email data from nonprofits. The data presented is based upon campaigns that were sent to at least 1,000 contacts.
The average opening rate for the nonprofit sector is about 25 percent. (http://mailchimp.com/resources/research/email-marketing-benchmarks/).
Seems low, right?
A low opening rate is usually a consequence of one of these mistakes:
- An email subject that is not relevant enough
- Emails are sent either too frequently or too infrequently
- The email is not targeted enough to the audience.
Even though this information may seem a little daunting, don’t stress! We know all about email campaigns at AssoConnect and we want to share our knowledge to help you get the most out of your emails.
Here are some of our tips to help you bump up your opening rate:
Focus on the subject of your email. Keep it simple!
Often times, the subject line of your email will decide its opening rate. Stay classic: simply describe what is in your email, and maybe add the name of your nonprofit to reassure your recipient. Our best advice is to stay clear and concise!
Divide your contacts into groups
You want to keep your emails as relevant as possible to the people you are sending them to. If you are sending the exact same message to your volunteers, donors, partners, etc. they may not feel that the content is specifically related to them.
Keep your emails targeted to your audience! By sending non targeted emails, you can negatively impact your opening rate.
We suggest dividing your contacts into groups to keep the information you send them relevant!
Optimize your timing
The success of your emails can also depend on the day and time you send them! Studies suggest that it is better to send your email on a Thursday rather than on a Sunday, and at 8am rather than 10pm. (https://mailchimp.com/resources/insights-from-mailchimps-send-time-optimization-system/)
The golden rule here is to test sending times with your personal contact base. You may find what works best for you is not what works for someone else!
Tips to Improve Your Open and Click Through Rates and Decrease Your Bounce and Spam Rates
The Click Through Rate
First off, let's discuss the click through rate. The click through rate is the number of clicks in comparison to the number of emails sent.
When we talk about click through rate, we are referring to the number of recipients who have clicked on a link that you have included in your email.
This link can be anything from a link to download a document, a link to a page of your site, a link to another website, etc.
The clickable content in your emails is the name of the game for the click through rate!
According to a study on nonprofit emailing in the U.S., the average click through rate is 2.82 percent.
We of course want to give you as much information as we can to help you soar above the average percentage!
How can I increase that number?
Your click through rate is a good indicator of how relevant your recipients find your content. To improve your click through rate, create content that targets your audience as much as possible.
Some of our tips to help you target your audience:
Make your links relevant!
Try to avoid the phrase “click here” if you can. Your audience may not click because they are not sure what the link is referring to.
Using a short but descriptive language for your link will help improve your click through rate. For example, instead of “click here” we would use “our latest article on what’s new at AssoConnect!”.
Using more specific links and language is a great way to fine tune your content.
Use the same link in multiple locations
We find that using multiple links that point to the same content helps boost the probability of your contacts clicking on your link. Your content is important, so maximizing its visibility is key!
This can be super helpful when sending out things like donation campaigns and membership renewals. If you place your link throughout the email (in the body of your text, in the title, on an image) your click rate is sure to increase.
Another helpful tip is to make sure you are analyzing the statistics after an email campaign to make the most of your next one.
For example, if the click through rate for one of your documents is very low, maybe do not include it in your next email. Or, try and present it in a different way! It's all in the numbers!
Personalize your emails
Keep it personal! Using personalized fields in your emails can help make your contacts feel more cared for.
A personalized field is specific information that changes depending on your recipient. The best example of this is of course, a name!
Using your contact’s first name is a great way to give your email a more personal feel.
For example, instead of receiving a universal "Hello", your recipients will receive "Hello Peter", "Hello Sophie", "Hello Luke", etc.
We find this is a great tip to keep your contacts interested in your content.
Now let’s discuss bounce and spam rates...
The Bounce Rate
So, what is the bounce rate? An email bounces when it does not reach your recipient. A bounce message is a message that is not delivered.
You have probably seen this when you accidentally type the wrong email address and receive an automated message saying your message could not be sent.
Bouncing is a tricky and harmful aspect of emailing, and there are multiple reasons why an email bounced. Don’t fret! We want to help you keep that rate as low as possible.
To understand the bounce rate, we need to take a bit of a deeper look.
There are 2 types of bounces that can occur:
First is the soft bounce. A soft bounce is a temporary error that usually occurs when the email address exists, but the recipient has a full mailbox, or when a technical problem has occurred.
The average soft bounce rate for non-profit organizations is 0.5%. Not too high!
Second, we have the hard bounce. As you may be able to tell from the name, the hard bounce is a bit tougher. It is a definitive rejection of your email to a specific inbox.
The hard bounce groups together all of the email addresses your message did not reach. It will never arrive either because the email address is incorrect or the email address does not exist.
Why is the bounce rate important and how do we bring it down?
Unfortunately, the bounce rate can be harmful. It is an important component to look out for when you are sending out your emails.
It is generally understood that a bounce rate above 10% will negatively impact your reputation and reduce your ability to send emails.
A high bounce rate is usually the result of a CRM that is not up to date.
Eva wondering how she can
decrease her bounce rate
Here are our tips to decrease your bounce rate and maintain your awesome reputation!
Communicate with your contacts
People change email addresses all the time! No worries, just communicate to your contacts the importance of updating their contact information. Communication is key :)
Be careful when collecting information
Our biggest advice here is to always double-check! When taking email addresses from your contacts, double-check (even triple-check!) the email address is correct.
Having your contacts register online can help make sure your information is correct! No illegible handwriting to decipher.
Try to directly contact a person whose address is rejected (if you have other contact information from them), so that they can give you their correct email address. In the meantime, remove any incorrect email addresses from your CRM to decrease your bounce rate.
Last but not least…
The Spam Rate
Nobody likes spam in their inboxes! We all know what spam looks like, but it can be simply defined as unsolicited and irrelevant emails sent in bulk. Yuck!
The spam rate can become tricky.
For example, let's imagine that you buy an email database to increase the amount of contacts you have. It is fair to assume that this database contains potential donors that could be interested in your email campaigns.
While that is absolutely correct, these people have not given you explicit permission to contact them.
Your email will be considered as spam. The spam rate, like the hard bounce rate, can have negative effects.
It is important to dive a little deeper to understand how it works.
It is a bit complicated, so bear with us! Spam filters exist to try to reduce the amount of spam in your inbox. The filters are based on a number of criteria, each criteria having its own “weight”. A “spam score” is then applied to your email.
If the spam score of the email is too high, your email is considered spam and will be sent to the recipients spam folder.
Each anti-spam works differently, that's why an email can be well-received by one contact and be put in the spam folder for another.
This seems all a bit daunting, so you may be wondering how to avoid this problem. We have some great tips to share with you!
How do you reduce your spam rate?
Communicate only with contacts who have agreed to be contacted!
This one is pretty easy- make sure that your contacts agree to receive your emails! An easy way to go about this, for example, is with a checkbox saying something along the lines of “I agree to receive emails with upcoming events, information, etc..” when collecting your contacts info.
Under no circumstances should you buy email databases! This is important as it is a sure way to increase your spam rate.
Clearly identify yourself in your email
Make sure your recipients know who you are by always clearly identifying yourself! This will help avoid your email being placed in a spam folder in the case a contact is unsure of who you are.
Make sure the name of your nonprofit is visible and easy to find in your email to avoid any confusion. We recommend including your name in the subject of your email.
Personalize your messages
We chatted about this earlier, but it deserves a revisit! Personalizing emails is another great way to avoid being placed in a spam folder.
Always be transparent with your audience.
Transparency and trust are important! Let your contacts know right off the bat about how often you send emails and what they tend to be about.
This way, your contacts can subscribe to your emails with full knowledge of how you operate.
Eva's email campaigns
are now a success!
Using any or all of these tips for your emailing should quickly improve your statistics!
Don’t hesitate to share your experiences with us!
Try AssoConnect's emailing feature
free for 30 days!