Crawl, Walk, Run: Email Strategies for Every Stage of Marketing

by TJ Warfield and Vivian Reed, Communications Specialist at Save The Bay

At the last Nonprofit Technology Conference we were honored to share seven years of lessons learned from running Save The Bay’s email marketing campaigns at our session: “Crawl, Walk, Run: Email Strategies for Every Stage of Marketing”.

We received amazing feedback on how we defined each phase of email marketing in depth and gave attendees practical takeaways for their own organizations. We have also had folks express the wish that the rest of their staff could have attended our session!

Read on to understand the unique phases of email marketing, and what to focus on to move to the next stage of the journey. Our full slide deck is posted here. You can watch the entire Crawl/Walk/Run Email Marketing Presentation with audio via this link [one hour].

Crawl: Information Sharing, aka “Throw spaghetti at the wall phase”

You’re in this phase if:

  • sending full list email blasts
  • limited email platform (Vertical Response is usually a key indicator of this phase)
  • limited internal resources (budget, staff time, staff expertise)
  • nearly impossible to track useful data

What to focus on to start walking:

  • Research industry standards – M+R Benchmarks is a great place to start
  • Start thinking about goals – grow list? communicate with important few?  same message and frequency to major donors than email subscribers?
  • Get list in order – deduping, email append, email clean

Walk: Don’t Work Hard, Work Smart

You’re in this phase if:

  • figuring out who your audience is
  • testing everything
  • playing around with metrics and analytics

What to focus on to start running:

  • create benchmarks based on your goals and constituents
  • define success – come up with a handful of KPIs that are actionable
  • segmentation – the folks you DO want to talk to
  • list suppression – the folks you DON’T want to talk to
  • subscriber management and list preferences – what THEY want to hear about
  • A/B testing – test ONE thing at a time, with intent, and apply leanings to future mailings

Run: Automation and Journey Building

You’re in this phase if:

  • walking constituents through a path of engagement
  • automating the conversation – let the robots take over!

What to focus on to keep the journey going:

  • score constituent activity – i.e. three points a newsletter click, ten points a donation, etc
  • welcome series
  • drip campaigns
  • analyze, reassess update/rebuild the journey – org goals, content, targeted constituents
Posted in Best Practice, Email Marketing, Strategy

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