Why you need an email strategy
PR, social media, and other forms of one-to-many outreach can drive visitors, but these visits don’t always translate into funds. We’ve found that email outreach is the most effective way to raise money: the conversion rate from email is 34% higher than other forms of outreach. Email works because it’s personal, it’s highly targeted, and it’s easy to track and replicate. It’s also easier to plan around email. You know how many email addresses you have, whereas your reach through social media and PR can be unclear.
Conversion rates from email are 34% higher than other forms of outreach
How to build an email list
How many email addresses should I have before launch?
We recommend that you try to raise 30% of your goal in the first 48 hours of your campaign. Most campaigns that eventually hit their goal have strong launches, and the best way to launch with momentum is by sharing your campaign with a strong email list. You can use your goal and average contribution to get a rough estimate of a desirable list size. First, figure out what your average contribution will be (probably your product price) and what your goal is. I recommend you estimate a conversion rate of 5%. This may be high or low, depending on how qualified the emails on your list are. Once you have these numbers, you can use this very rough calculator. While this will likely be a high number, if you hit these numbers you can be very confident in your launch. If not, you may want to supplement these efforts with other forms of outreach as well.
How do I build a list if I’m not at my target size?
Start with a landing page that allows people to give you their email address and start to send any interested parties there. We suggest creating a “Coming Soon” page on Indiegogo or using services like Squarespace to build your own. Once you have your landing page built, you need to drive traffic.
A few simple ways to start:
- Include it in your email signature
- Encourage friends and family to share it with their networks
- Start sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and on Reddit
- Attend events and ask people to sign up in person
To more actively build your list, plan out an email gathering campaign. You could use Thunderclap to coordinate a social push towards your landing page, which will help you gather emails from your extended network. If you have something else you can offer as an incentive, you could also use Gleam to run a competition to capture email addresses.
There are many more resources online that can help you build out a list.
Here are a few guides on the topic:
How to turn an email list into contributions
While I’ve included specific content below, some general best practices:
- Each email should have one clear action item: Share, Contribute, etc. (Multiple action items may confuse your email list)
- Include nice images, especially if you have a product
- Check out PRO TIPS below for advanced tactics
As you near your launch date, there are four emails that you should plan on sending to get the biggest impact on and soon after launch.
1. One Week Out
Send an email letting your audience know that you’re planning on launching soon and they’re eligible for a secret deal. They can even send friends to your landing page to share this deal, Include links to social media and pre-written messages (maybe use Click to Tweet to embed one) to drive social sharing.
2. Three Days Out
Share the specifics of your special deal. We recommend a discount for anyone that contributes in the first 48 hours. You can replace it with a similar perk at full price (or at an early-bird discount, if you have more than one tiered discount).
3. Launch Day
Notify your list that you’re launched, and they have a limited time to claim their perk. Make sure to include an image of your product as well as a call to action button (Contribute Now! Pre-Order, etc) front and center, above the fold.
4. Week 2 of campaign
Email everyone on this list who hasn’t contributed and offer them one final special deal (though not as good as the original) to try and persuade them. Check the list of contributors to avoid email people who have contributed. You can download this on the Contributions tab of your campaign.
In this email, you can let them know that they have 48 hours (ideally on a Monday or Tuesday) to claim a discounted, secret perk
PRO TIP: How to test ideas about your campaign while gathering email addresses
You can use Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or any other type of paid placement to test out assumptions you have about your campaign. Unsure if your fitness wearable appeals more to urban twenty-somethings or suburban moms? Run ads targeting each, direct them to your landing page, and see which type of ad converts the best. This will give you an idea of what messaging works. Don’t know the best price point for a perk? Run ads with the same copy but different price points and direct them to your landing page. If there’s no difference in conversion, the higher price point might not be a problem.
Up-selling with email during your campaign
Do you have a deluxe version of your product you’d like users to upgrade to? Does having multiple units give them a better experience? Is there any new or additional perk that you’d like people to make another contribution for? If you have some natural up-sell for your campaign, like those I mentioned above, an up-selling email campaign can be a powerful tool to raise funds. In this campaign, you’ll use the Secret Perk tactic I mentioned above to offer previous contributors special deals. To do this, you can pull your list of contributors (you can download this on the Contributions tab of your campaign dashboard) and try to decide what you’d like to offer different groups. If I’ve bought one widget, maybe you’d like to offer me 25% off of a second widget. If they bought a basic widget, I may want to offer them 25% off on an upgrade to a deluxe widget. Regardless of what you offer, it’s a great way to get new contributions from existing contributors and can delight them in the process.
PRO TIPS for the very savvy
If you have extra resources to put into running an email campaign. If you have a big email list, use a mailing platform that lets you run A/B Testing If you have a large email list, even a small change in your conversion rate can have a very large impact on the amount you raise. A/B testing allows you to increase your email open rates by running variant emails. Does your list prefer “Our campaign is live!” or “Get your secret perk now!” as a subject line? It’s not hard to find out — you can send an email to 5% of your list, and then use the open rates from this to decide which variant you’ll email to the other 95%. That’s a basic strategy, and much more is possible. This article by MailChimp goes into further detail on the subject, but we recommend that you explore a wide variety of services and options to see what the best option if for you.