How to Make Your Emails More Timely and Personal

If you are sending more emails to your supporters — and most colleges and universities across the country are — you must be sure that your messages are timely, relevant and personal.

This is one of several conclusions that came out of the recently released Blackbaud Luminate Online Benchmark Report 2017. The annual report, which looks at trends within nonprofit fundraising and engagement programs, includes insight into performance metrics from more than 700 nonprofits. The 2017 report includes aggregate data from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

One of the report’s most intriguing findings came in email performance.

“This year we saw big increases in the number of emails sent, along with many email-related stats,” the report states. “More people read and opened emails, and more people clicked and donated. Yay? Unfortunately, the news is not all good. Because while the volume of clicks and opens increased along with the number of emails, the rate of engagement (measured in click and open rates) took a steep dive in many cases.”

In higher education, the median percentage of total fundraising emails increased by 15 percent over the previous fiscal year, but the open rates decreased by almost 2 percent and the click rates decreased by more than 14 percent.

“In part, this reflects the email universe we live in, where we all get too many emails from too many sources and we tune them out,” the report states. “It may also speak to a deeper issue of increasing quantity without paying enough attention to differentiated messaging and selective targeting … One thing is for sure: if you increase the frequency you email supporters, you better make sure the messages are timely, relevant, and personal.”

This is where adding a marketing automation tool to your development strategy can make all the difference. Marketing automation is exactly how it sounds — automating the right marketing message to the right prospect at the right time based on individual interests.

At Capture, we believe in marketing automation based on individual interactions with your digital environment. The technology allows you to fashion your messaging based off a report that shows a prospect’s activity on your site. It gives you something specific and purposeful to communicate.

For example, you could automate a timely, custom follow-up from the music department when alumni read an article about your world renowned jazz band — a subject you know they are interested in now because they have been looking at it on your site.

Learn more about the Behavioral Intelligence Platform, Capture Higher Ed’s marketing automation for university advancement. See how your prospective donors’ browsing history can give you the “timely, relevant and personal” approach to communicate with them more effectively.

By Kevin Hyde, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed