So you’ve got that perfect donation page, you’ve grouped your nonprofit’s audience into three neat segments, and you’re announcing your latest fundraising campaign via your social media channels.
But do you have the perfect automated email marketing system to keep in touch with your new donors and reach out to prospective contributors? Here’s what you need to know about CiviCRM to help you ace the email marketing campaign you’re dreaming of.
CiviMail grants you a lot of versatility, because you can send an email to any individual or organization via their contact record, choose specific contacts from a report you’ve run, or send out mass mailings to your total contact base or select groups. And here’s where you start to feel the power, because segmented groups can be created as “smart” groups that periodically update themselves based on criteria you set (such as “any contact that has given X dollars in the last month”).
One of the key advantages of CiviMail is that it’s built for CiviCRM. That means that basically all the fields you use in Civi, including custom fields you’ve created, are available as mail-merge token inserts. Even a large mass mailing will be automatically individually personalized, based on the data you use. No other mass mailing program out there (that I know of) integrates hand-in-glove with Civi, so it just makes sense to use CiviMail for CiviCRM.
Scheduling your mass mailings is easy with CiviMail, though you may choose to send immediately as well. Just select a date and time for sending. But keep in mind that mailings sent to large numbers of recipients are sent in batches of about 400 to reduce the likelihood of the emails being caught in spam filters. Depending on how massive your mailing is, you might need to plan several extra hours for this, or choose an overnight mailing.
Scheduling reminders is a thing as well. For those contacts who opted to attend an event or whose membership is running out, this comes in handy. You certainly don’t want to run a search every week just to email everyone whose membership is about to expire or everyone who just gave a contribution.
Automated responses are also customizable in CiviMail. You can decide where/to whom replies to your mailing will be sent. An autoresponder can be set up if you want to send a specific, quick response to anyone who replies. And of course responses to Opt-out, Unsubscribe, and Resubscribe can be triggered appropriately as well.
Since Gena just wrote an excellent article on How to Improve Your Ask with A/B Testing, I’m not going to say much. But I will mention that CiviMail’s tracking tab is very useful in monitoring the response rate on such tests. Using this feature, you can track which links have been clicked and which emails were even opened.
By navigating to Mailings > Scheduled and Sent Mailings, you can view a delivery summary that includes the number and percentage of successful deliveries, the number of opens, link clicks, forwards, replies, bounces, and unsubscribe requests. And any of these items can be drilled into for more detailed information.
We’ve just summarized the power of CiviMail and the importance of its working hand-in-glove with your Civi database. But I have to tell you that there’s a lot of the formatting preparation that was tedious. Which is why Marisa got so excited when the CiviMail extension Mosaico came out last year.
Mosaico offers what I call “Lego technology” in that it gives you all the right pieces, and you just drag them where you want them to make something that looks like the picture on the box or something totally You. It’s intuitive and allows you to be just as creative (or not) as you wish.
What I really like about it is that it’s fully integrated with and native to CiviCRM. You don’t lose any of the great features, like tokens, we listed above. You actually build the body of your email there in Mosaico and then insert it when you create your new mass mailing.
We spend our days implementing, supporting, hosting, customizing, and training CiviCRM. So feel free to reach out about your needs. Also, I’ve included a list of other helpful articles below.