Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just ask people via email to donate funds, click send and then watch the money pour in to our virtual accounts? Unfortunately in 2016, it just isn’t this easy and launching a successful email fundraising campaign requires you take some proactive steps before you even write up that email.
Tim Sather, senior director of research at Return Path, in an article for Direct Marketing Magazine says that spam filters are an email fundraiser’s worst enemy. Because worldwide deliverability rates are on the decline due to many emails being blocked or filtered, it doesn’t matter how worthy your cause is or how amazing the content in your email is, there is a large chance that it won’t ever reach your intended’s inbox.
Keep Your Rep Out Of The Gutter
Even Donald Trump has had the misfortune (or the fortune, however you want to look at that one) of having his emails blocked while fundraising for his presidential campaign. What was the reason The Donald couldn’t get his emails through? You may not believe it, but it was his lack of reputation. While almost everyone in the free world regrettably knows who Trump is, with a brand new domain name, IP address and email address, the spam filters couldn’t detect that the email’s were his and decided not to send them to the inbox. You could say that his email reputation was basically, unknown and illegitimate.
Sather says that “reputation is everything” when it comes to keeping your emails out of the spam box. Over time, senders will develop a reputation score, as their sending characteristics are tracked. As the email IP address and domain become more well-known, more emails are diverted from spam and into the inbox. But, if a sender has a history of spam complaints or of sending to invalid addresses, that can sully your reputation and you’ll be back sitting with The Donald, wondering what it was that you did wrong.
Do Things Organically
In other news, you also don’t want to take Trump’s approach to growing your subscriber list. You want your list to grow organically, or again, you risk being relegated to the dreaded spam box. Buying your list is the best way to ensure you get singled out as “the bad kid” as Trump did when he bought his, and it’s off to detention you go. Spam complaints will roll in and your addresses will get put on the naughty list, while you watch your carefully-crafted emails end up in inbox purgatory.
Subscriber Behavior Matters
So, you’ve taken steps to grow your reputation and your list and you think you are out of the spam filter woods. Wrong. Because email providers are now looking at subscriber behaviors and engagement, some spam filters are making personal decisions. If your emails are consistently deleted without being opened, even if that person is a loyal subscriber, those emails will eventually just end up going in the spam box. That’s a total kick in the pants for email marketers, because it really just adds another step in taking care of your lists. Sather suggests pruning your lists on a regular basis, getting rid of those subscribers who are inactive and unengaged. The good thing about this practice is that emails that are consistently opened end up in the inbox more often, so if you’ve got a subscriber who cares about your cause and may be a regular donator, it is more likely that they’ll get your emails into their inbox.
The moral of the story here is to do the exact opposite of Donald Trump and you’ll do fine. Take care of your subscribers, get rid of the ones who don’t seem to care and keep your reputation intact and only then will you see those donations pour in.