By: Keisha Hartman
First impressions are EVERYTHING.
This is also true when it comes to your welcome series.
Whether your new supporter is a first time donor, volunteer, or newsletter subscriber – THIS is your chance to create a nurturing a long-lasting relationship.
WHAT IS AN EMAIL WELCOME SERIES?
An email welcome series is a series of email campaigns designed to give new subscribers or supporters the special attention they need. The first few emails should gently welcome them to your work and engage them more deeply in your mission. They consist of a series of messages, typically 2-4, delivered over a specific timeframe.
The welcome series is an important piece in your cultivation strategy, if your emails are weak – the relationship will likely fall short.
Here are five ways to make your emails stand out and to keep your supporters engaged:
Segmenting your message based on the action your supporter took with your organization is key to making them feel valued. Not every supporter has the same connection to your mission and their messaging should be reflected in a way that is engaging and interesting to them.
The three common email welcome series segmentations are first-time donors, third-party donors, and event attendees. Tailor your messaging to fit their supporter journey and don’t forget to use the supporter’s name!
The supporter likely knows your mission – do not waste this time to simply state your mission again.
Instead, share something deeper that creates a sense of trust and transparency with your audience, such as highlighting a specific program and the direct impact their action has made. Tell a story about your organization that makes them see the value in continuing to support your cause.
We all know one of the major goals of your organization is raise funds, however always focusing on the money will turn supporters off – fast. You have just gained the support of these people and the last thing you want to do is turn them off by asking for another donation. Consider suppressing donors from other communications and fundraising asks until they finish their welcome series.
There should be a good balance in your emails between asking for donations and providing other information about the organization or ways to get involved.
The emails should provide value and a next step in your follow-up emails.
For example, if your first email introduces your organization, let them know there are other great ways to stay in touch. Ask them to follow you on social media to give them a next step that further builds the relationship.
Another great way to learn more about your supporter is by offering a survey that asks what they are interested in and why they got involved with your organization in the first place – which can help you in tailoring future messages.
Whichever route you choose, be sure there is a goal to add value to both your organization and the supporter.
Continue to inspire and inform your supporters about the impact by using visual content like photos, infographics, or videos to share important facts about your work, what you’ve accomplished, and who you serve.
The way in which the information is presented can make a difference in what resonates with supporters. There’s nothing like a compelling visual to demonstrate your work, tell your organization’s story, and more importantly, touch your supporters in a way that can move them to take action.
Focus your communication on the donor instead of your organization. Your emails should have a donor-centric tone focusing on “you” more than “I” or “we.” The supporter wants to know the impact they are making through their donation, volunteer hours, or advocacy efforts. Try using one of these phrases below in your next campaign:
Once you’ve developed your welcome series strategy, it is important to test and track results. Often welcome series emails are considered a ‘set and forget’ campaign, but knowing what is working and resonating with your supporters will be beneficial in cultivation.
One of the ways you can track your progress is with A/B tests to optimize the performance of individual messages in your series. Try different subject lines to see which perform better. You might also want to try playing with the lag time between when they subscribe and the first email they receive. Analyze the results and make the appropriate changes.
Hopefully, with these tips, you will feel more comfortable with either starting your first welcome series or making a few tweaks to wow your supporters. If you’d like help evaluating your campaign please reach out to us here at Doing Good Digital – we can re-write, edit or help launch your welcome series with automation.