Posts by: Olivia Faust

Let’s Tone Your eNews Muscles

Let’s Tone Your eNews Muscles


With the amount of content already available online, it is fair to question the utility of an online newsletter at all; however, according to the New York Times, (and the MediaDesk team agrees) “at a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters—some free, some not—help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to.”

By following these five rules, you can increase the effectiveness of your email newsletters.  

1.) Have one main goal that each eNews should accomplish

One of the most common—and most damaging—mistakes are providing too much content. The newsletter should feature one main point, event, or call to action in order to optimize its readability. By overloading on content, you run the risk of losing your viewer’s interest altogether. Blogspot Marketing points out that “part of what makes a newsletter a newsletter is that you’re featuring multiple pieces of content with multiple calls-to-action (CTAs). But, that doesn’t mean you should let those CTAs share equal prominence. Instead, let there be one head honcho CTA—just one main thing that you would like your subscribers to do…Whether it’s simply to click through to see a blog post or just to forward the email to a friend, make it super simple for your subscribers to know what you want them to do.” This adds simplicity and a sense of direction for your eNews, which makes it easier for your viewers to understand why it was sent to them in the first place. You also don’t want to overload them with text because the goal of an eNews should be to briefly inform, spark their interest in the topic, and direct them to your website (or whatever social media platform you use most) to learn more information. By enticing viewers to click on an embedded link (like your website), you will be able to track that information and be able to see that your eNews was successful in creating interest in what your organization is up to.  

2.) Use your subject line wisely

Your subject line is the first impression that your eNews will have on your clients—and what inspires them to open the email, or not—so it’s important to take advantage of its utility.  MailChimp, an email marketing platform, has found that a “successful campaign starts with a subject line that grabs the attention of your subscribers. Good subject lines are often personal or descriptive and give the recipient a reason to check out your content. Whatever your approach, it’s important to keep your audience in mind.” You have a lot of freedom to choose how you’d like your subject line to perform and what personality you’d like it to have (i.e. funny, informative, action-oriented, etc…), but you need to figure out what will work best for your audience while also achieving your organization’s goals.  For example when the Albuquerque Living Cities Integration Initiative recently launched their new name, City Alive, the email subject line read: “Goodbye Albuquerque Living Cities Integration Initiative”, implying that either the author or the organization was going away, when in fact saying goodbye to Living Cities was just a way to say hello to City Alive.  That month’s eNews had an open rate that was 10% higher than the average.

3.) Use alt text

Alt text: necessary to include, but easy to forget. Alternative text, or alt text, is the text you provide that coincides with an image. This is useful for people who are visually impaired and need to use a screen reader, but it’s also useful for when your image doesn’t fully load on your email.  In that case, the text will provide the viewer with the context of what the image would’ve provided. Blogspot Marketing addresses the fact that since “visual content is incredibly important to the rest of your marketing activities, it’d make sense that you’d want to include them in your emails…right? Right. But email’s a little bit trickier. Most of the time, people won’t have images enabled, so you’ve got to make sure your images have one essential component: alt text.” By the time someone clicks on your email, you’ve already done an incredible amount of strategic work to make that happen, and you don’t want to lose their attention or interest because the images won’t load! Capturing and maintaining the interest of your audience is vital, and providing alt text helps make sure that happens—even if the images aren’t loading on their browser or mobile device.  

4.) Keep track of what’s working

Most email platforms have a way for you to keep track of how many people are opening your emails, how many of those people click on the embedded links, what time of day they click on your email, etc, etc… With that information, you can test to see what works best for your viewers and what tends to be a waste of time. Marketing Land suggests that you take it a step further and “segment your database based on email engagement (highly engaged, limited engagement, no engagement). Test to understand what is optimal for each group, and define a threshold of emails that ensures engagement but leaves no money on the table. Monitor the number of emails sent at the prospect level. If the threshold is met (on a daily, weekly or monthly basis) stop sending more emails to that prospect.” Finding the different levels of engagement that people have, putting them into groups and finding their respective thresholds can have a lasting impact on your eNews campaigns. They also noted that “an Adobe case study found that by decreasing total emails sent by 16 percent (and including more relevant content), they realized a 60-percent improvement in open rates.”  So pay attention to who is engaging with your eNews, what content is working, what isn’t working and – most importantly – adapt your approach when necessary.

5.) Optimize your eNews for mobile devices

Consumers are using mobile devices to view their emails more than ever before, so you need to make sure that your eNews is optimized to work on various mobile devices. According to Impact Marketing, “79% of people surveyed use their smartphone for reading email” and “70% of consumers delete emails immediately that don’t render well on a mobile device.” Even if your eNews looks beautiful and has perfect messaging, it might be useless on a mobile device if it’s not optimized for mobile. Accessing email on mobile devices is an unrelenting trend, and it is your organization’s best interest to get on board. MailChimp and Constant Contact are two straightforward and inexpensive platforms that send emails that can be optimized for mobile devices.  

5 Tips for Green Marketing

5 Tips for Green Marketing


We’ve all heard about ‘thinking green’, but have you ever thought to apply environmentally friendly practices at your organization? According to a study by Cone Communications, you should!  The study shows that when “companies support social or environmental issues…96% of global citizens will have a more positive image of that company” and “94% will be more likely to trust that company.” Becoming an eco-friendly organization can seem daunting, but one easy step is to transition to green marketing. Green marketing “focuses on the triple bottom line of profit, people, and planet. It takes into consideration the availability of resources, the environmental impact of manufacturing and packaging, and the consequences of consumption,” according to Florida Tech. By shifting your current outreach and fundraising strategies you can help save the environment and build your followers and supporters.

Here are 5 tips to shift to green marketing:

1.) Utilize Social Media

Not only is social media a great (free!) way to reach out to your community and potential clientele, but it is also a way to use less resources in your day-to-day business practices. One non-profit was able to decrease its paper use by a remarkable 22% by switching to online modes of communication!  MediaDesk recommends the use at least one form of social media, if not more, and it is important to update these outlets often. In a previous blog post, 5 Tips For Non-Profits on Instagram, we emphasized that it “is sometimes better to have no representation on a platform than a dated or poorly executed account. With a clear direction you can reasonably post a couple times a week, if not everyday.” This can seem like a daunting task, but it’s important to make your online presence a priority, especially if you want to use it as sustainable marketing strategy.

2.)  Ditch Direct Mailing

This is the most straightforward way for your organization to transition to green marketing. Switching to targeted email campaigns means that there’s less cost to create a connection to your potential client because you don’t have to pay for the physical flyer and mailing costs.  This low overhead cost is a financial beneficial to you, and the fact that that it creates less waste is a benefit for the environment. Unless you have a campaign that has a highly targeted audience or you are trying to feel out a new area to expand to, direct mailing can be a waste of time, paper, and resources. If your business currently relies on direct mailing, you should work on procuring more emails from current clients and potential future clients.

3.)  Eco-friendly Handouts

If you are giving out brochures, flyers, or gifts as a way to spread your brand image and take on new clients, it could be worthwhile to use a more environmentally friendly option. A couple of quick tips are to avoid putting gifts in plastic bags and instead use a biodegradable alternative and to use recycled paper whenever possible. Be sure to promote the fact that you’re using green alternatives in your marketing, as this will show the community and your future clientele where your priorities lie.

4.)  Use Local Vendors and Businesses

Shopping at local businesses is a movement that has gained substantial traction in the past few years.  This is an easy way to create community impact while also making an eco-friendly decision. If you shop local or use local vendors, you are cutting down on the amount of carbon emissions that it takes to run your organization. Additionally, according to the Huffington Post, “more than 40 percent of millennials preferred to buy from local businesses, even if the goods or services are more expensive than mass-market alternatives.”  So what does this mean for you?  It means that people care about where their goods and services are coming from, and you can use that trend to make informed decisions about what products and firms you decide to use for your organization.

5.) Donate to Nonprofits and Charities that Help the Environment

While this isn’t directly cutting down on paper use or carbon emissions, it does show that your organization cares about its community and the environment. Keep in mind that donating doesn’t necessarily mean giving money – it can also mean volunteering your time or services.  If you don’t have the resources to donate money, you can coordinate a volunteer day for you and your staff or donate goods or services to environmentally friendly organizations who need them. Volunteering can even be better for your image than donating money because it shows that you and your staff are willing to back up the fact that you care about the environment with positive action.

These are just a couple of tips to help you initiate green marketing into your organization, but there are countless other things you could do to achieve eco-friendly marketing.  If you’re interested in fully committing to eco-friendly work practices, you can have your organization federally certified as eco-friendly by following their rules and regulations. It is a tedious process to have your organization federally certified, but according to the Kellogg School of Management, eco-friendly business practices “over the long run can become a competitive advantage and generate more business,” so it’s important to start making the transition now.