Why Segmenting Emails Is Important And How The Heck To Do It Before #GivingTuesday

In 2016, 40,000 nonprofits participated in #GivingTuesday with more planning to join the movement this year. Email marketing has the highest ROI for nonprofits so it’s important your nonprofit is heard over everyone else. Taking the time to segment your #givingtuesday email list can drastically improve the results of your campaign. Segmenting your audience will not only get people to open the email but also click on the link and donate! Don’t believe us? Check out these stats:

Now, do you believe us? Ok, great! Another thing we know is most nonprofits have little time, a small staff, and microscopic budgets. Even though the statistics show how beneficial segmenting your email list can be, it can seem like a daunting task. Before you get overwhelmed, take a look at our five easy steps for segmenting your email audience so you can increase your donations on #GivingTuesday.

1. What’s Working?

Even though your list isn’t segmented yet, you’re probably having some success with your email campaigns. Analyze your email marketing statistics and see where you’ve had success. Are there more opens on Tuesday’s at 7PM than Friday’s at 9AM? Was there a particular email that had amazing results because your team put a lot of effort into the message of the email? Are your emails falling into the dreaded spam filter? Whatever it is, make notes of where there have been successes.

2. Remove Inactive Participants

There is nothing more annoying than receiving a piece of junk mail in the mailbox. Unfortunately, marketers who send direct mailers can’t see who kept the piece of mail and who didn’t. Luckily, marketers using email have the ability to see who is opening their email and who is deleting it right away. Instead of continuously emailing these people in hopes that this email will be the one they open, remove them from the list. Receiving junk mail can leave a bad taste in donors mouths which can hurt their chances of donating in the future.

3. Define Your Purpose

Defining what will make a successful campaign and what data will help is important to figure out before segmentation. Do parents tend to donate more than people without kids? Are students in college volunteering more than they donate? Figuring out different metrics and understanding how they affect your overall goal can help with segmentation. At this point, you can use the data you have on hand but moving forward, start thinking about other metrics that will help and start asking for them when collecting information.

4. Segment Your List

Now that you’ve made note of successful email campaigns, cleaned up your list, and defined your metrics, it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty. No matter the size of the list, each recipient has a different reason for being included. Some are past donors who made a one-time donation a year ago. Others are active volunteers. A good majority could be people who have never donated but have shown interest in the cause. Whatever their reason for being on the list, breaking them into smaller groups and sending a more personalized email addressing their needs can increase your open rate by 14.32%! Some ideas for segmenting are:

  1. Donor vs. Non-Donor
  2. Donation Frequency
  3. Corporate Sponsor vs. Individual Donor
  4. Email Engagement History
  5. Organizational Interest
  6. Age
  7. Gender
  8. Location

5. Create Your Content

Constant Contact found that 56% of people unsubscribe when the content isn’t relevant so segmenting and creating highly targeted and personalized content will help avoid this problem. If one list includes people who have never donated before, does it make sense to send an email immediately asking for a donation? Probably not. Instead, ease them in by telling them about your nonprofit and how it’s benefiting their community. Share a story of a dog who was rescued from a tough situation and now they’re in a happy, fur-ever home. Take a look at our post on effective storytelling for nonprofits for more ideas on creating relevant and powerful content.

Segmenting emails will:

  • Increase open rates
  • Provide relevant content to subscribers
  • Decrease unsubscribe rates
  • Increase donor leads
  • Increase donations
  • Decrease mail going to spam

Taking the time to segment email lists can seem daunting at first but it is important for nonprofits to do to increase the overall success #GivingTuesday. Using these simple steps will get you started to a bigger, better, and more impactful#GivingTuesday.

Has your nonprofit seen success with email segmentation? Share your experience with us in the comments!