The latest in our series of bi-monthly meetups for charity digital marketers met on Thursday 21st July. Joining us for this event were representatives from The Big Issue Foundation, The National Deaf Children’s Society, Cancer Research UK and many others from a spectrum of the third sector.

Supporting the debate as always was 4Ps’ Head of Third Sector, Nick Shread, with Account Director Rowan Chernin providing additional insight gained from his extensive experience in marketing.

The topic for this event was aligning email marketing and on-site content, with Lauren Dunbevand from The Army Cadet Force (ACF) leading the discussion. The ACF have undertaken a period of email distribution list cleansing, which has involved identifying warm leads through a change of application process. This has been coupled with multiple rounds of list cleansing, including double opt-in for re-joining the list. The result of this cleansing is a more effective, manageable and segmented list that is approximately 10% of the initial size.

Lauren explained that the content used in the newsletters consists of existing ACF magazine articles repurposed for the email. This focus is likely to be changing to incorporate on-site content intended to appeal to targeted personas, created in conjunction with 4Ps Marketing.

The ACF have been considering alternative email marketing packages, so attendees in the room were asked for their feedback on the systems their organisations use:

  • Pure360 – No frustrations using this package, but would be nice if it could link to the CRM
  • Dot Mailer – Gives good information on who clicked on what. Seems good for personalisation
  • Experian CCMP – Very complex, large scale package that works well
  • MailChimp – More in-depth statistics would be nice. Involves manual export and import of data. Whilst a cheaper option, delivers the basics well.

Note that these comments are provided by attendees, but are not endorsements for email marketing packages. You should undertake your own research to ensure it meets your own requirements.

Towards the end of the session the floor was opened to questions and discussion from the attendees.

Chris Barnes, representing Chatterback Communications, advised that effective emails often consist of a single large image with supporting text and dealing with a single issue. In his experience this brought better results for campaigns than having multiple messages within an email. In addition, Facebook provides an opportunity to drive effective lists for mailing.

Facebook lookalike lists are also useful for creating useful audiences, according to Grace Kokkinos from Cancer Research UK. Grace also mentioned Moveable Ink as a provider of code to do special email tricks such as emails with localised maps of events, local weather for the event and much more. Using a case study that is local to the email recipient is also a method for success, according to Grace.

Matthew Gardiner, an ambassador for Just A Drop, suggested that author generated content can help provide expert on-site content. Look for authors who have books to promote that share a common interest with your organisation. Perhaps a travel author has written about a location your charity operates in and can provide an informative article on the region for your site. Add yourself to press lists for publishers to stay informed of opportunities.

Linh Lieu, Digital Marketing Manager at JDRF UK, recommended trying non-donate wording for email buttons driving donations. Experience has found that these can help drive traffic. Rowan Chernin advised using A/B testing to check the effectiveness of tweaks like these.

As the breakfast was drawing to a close, we asked attendees for their key takeaways from the event:

  • Michelle Parfitt, Information Insight Analyst, The National Deaf Children’s Society:
    “Set up personas for target audience and implement segmenting in Google Analytics to track them”
  • Linh Lieu, Digital Marketing Manager at JDRF UK:
    “Investigate personalisation options for emails to increase effectiveness”
  • Emma Cheung, Head of Individual Giving and Donor Support, The Big Issue Foundation:
    “Review the data you have closely. Generate personas from that data and knowledge of supporters then segment in your analytics package for additional insight”
  • Matthew Gardiner, Ambassador, Just a Drop:
    “I feel inspired to delve deeper into our analytics data”
  • Melissa Adamou, Communications & Fundraising Assistant, Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity:
    “Personalise emails for greater impact and investigate changes to the wording on donation buttons”
  • Lauren Dunbevand, Marketing & Communications Officer, Army Cadet Force:
    “We will investigate Moveable Ink for greater personalisation”

We hold our Third Sector Digital Breakfast bi-monthly and new attendees are most welcome. If you work in a marketing role for a charity and have an interest in helping take them forward digitally, please get in touch with Nick Shread to reserve your place at our next breakfast.

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