The inspiration for these Marketing Matters comes from an article that was available several years ago at titled “10 Ways to Market Your Non-Profit Online.” (The page is no longer available.)  Since your school is a non-profit, I’ve tweaked them a bit so that these items relate directly to your school and what you need to do to market it effectively in today’s technology-rich environment.

5) Send out consistent email blasts, but don’t overwhelm subscribers

It’s important to consistently update your email subscribers about your school’s successes because that’s what they signed up for.  Conversely, it’s also important not to send too many updates; doing so transforms people who want to learn about the organization into people who view your communication as spam.  It may not even be the recipients who think it’s spam…it might be their email program that considers your messages to be spam and therefore blocks them (especially if recipients don’t open those first few messages).

A monthly email newsletter in addition to sporadic major event announcements is a good starting point for gauging the interest of your email subscriber list.  You could try sending out two emails, each to half of your total list, with the same content but with different subject lines.  Seeing which mailing subject line generates higher open and click-through rates will determine what kind of language best engages your subscriber – or allows it to pass through spam filters.

It’s important to do this through an eNewsletter service, like Constant Contact, MailChimp or Outstand.  Don’t just send an email to everyone, with tons of email addresses in the “To:” line.  That’s one good way to make sure your communication ends up in everyone’s spam filter.

Also, don’t put your email address, nor words and phrases like “free,” “act now” or “time’s running out,” in the subject line.  Also, don’t overuse the words “click” and “click here” in body of the message.  Those are all ways to ensure your communication gets caught in a spam filter.

Notice how this article has been written.  There are no more than three sentences per paragraph.  If there are more sentences or thoughts, consider rewriting or use bullet points to make your point.  Lots of white space draws attention.

But is monthly communication enough?  Some experts recommend a weekly publication, while others recommend daily communication.  The correct maximum effectiveness answer is really dependent on two things:  your target audience’s mindset, and the email client they’re using.

6) Donating to your school online should be straightforward and easy to share on Facebook and Twitter

The donation process should take as few steps as possible. Every additional step is just one more opportunity for a visitor to change his or her mind and click away from your school’s Web site. Best practice – your “Donate Now” link should be prominent on your main Web site page, and not buried as a third level navigation, followed by a scroll to the bottom of the page.

Once a user donates to your school online, the confirmation or thank you page should provide the ability for that user to share on Facebook or Tweet that he or she just made a gift to your school, and link back to your school’s Web site’s homepage or donation page to encourage others to do the same.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2011-2021 (Original Publication Date: 20110314)