Email Marketing: What’s working, what isn’t and why

With the fall season quickly approaching, there are some great opportunities on the horizon when it comes to digital marketing. To help you determine how to best leverage your Mission’s digital presence among all generations and audiences, we reached out to our Email Marketing Manager, Rachel Feinberg, with a few questions.

What are some of One&All’s highest performing Missions fall email campaigns, and what are the elements that make them stand out?

The Missions’ 2017 Year End emails raised over $220K in revenue during the month of December and had engagement rates that were above industry benchmarks. Compelling imagery and language that conveyed a sense of urgency contributed to these campaigns’ success. To build on this success going forward, we can move toward clean email templates with subject lines and concise copy that enable the donor to give easily and generously.

What are the best ways to optimize the impact of email marketing across generations?

Email creative that is succinct and engaging with a clear call-to-action will be the most effective way to communicate across generations. We often hear that the average person has an eight-second attention span, meaning we have very little time to draw a donor in with a compelling message and inspire them to act. For a Mission with a larger list size, we could explore segmentation by age group and measuring the success of our emails across those segments. If we find that certain messages are or aren’t resonating, we can test a different strategy.

Which audiences tend to be most responsive to email marketing? Why?

We’re starting to see that older audiences are becoming more engaged with email marketing as younger audiences are more invested in social media. Gen X and older are the most responsive to email, while Gen Z is most responsive on social media. Millennials are split between the two. Inboxes are more crowded than ever, so overall email engagement is decreasing while email revenue is increasing—meaning that those who are opening emails are donating at higher rates. It’s critical that we work toward compelling email communications that are integrated with other fundraising channels (both online and offline).

What new discoveries have we made about how donors from different generations interact with email marketing?

We’re seeing that about half of all email opens are on mobile devices now, with younger people being more likely to use email on their mobile devices. It’s more important than ever for emails to be mobile-optimized with succinct, engaging content. We need to make the donation process via mobile device as frictionless as possible–a clear call-to-action that drives to a mobile-optimized donation page that’s enabled to accept mobile payments.

How does email marketing engage certain generations of donors in different ways than direct mail?

Traditional thought is that older donors are more drawn to direct mail appeals while younger donors respond to email and other digital marketing. However, we’ve found that campaigns are most successful when different acquisition channels all work together with integrated messaging and design elements. Ultimately, we need to simplify the donation process as much as possible. For example, let direct mail recipients know how to donate online or via mobile payment. It’s estimated that there will be more than 3.8 billion email users by the end of 2018 (that’s about half our planet’s population), with each person having an average of 1.75 email addresses. Email marketing is and will continue to be an important marketing tool that reaches people wherever they are.

Rachel brings a wealth of digital marketing expertise to One&All’s Digital Engagement and Activation team. Most recently, she was a part of E*TRADE’s Investor Marketing Strategy team, where she worked on integrated campaigns that increased managed account enrollments and brand awareness.  Prior to that, she worked at American Express, managing the company’s online Refer a Friend program and growing it to over 40K new accounts.