Nonprofit organizations have a lot of competition in the email inboxes.

In addition to competing with businesses and brands, more nonprofits are ramping up their email marketing and other digital marketing efforts.

In fact, 71 percent of nonprofits have reported that they’re doing more marketing now than two years ago. As a nonprofit, your emails need to stand out and grab your audience’s attention.

Here are 5 tips nonprofits can use to harness the power of the inbox:

1. Grow a healthy email list

The key to growing a healthy email list is simple: You have to ask people to sign up, and you have to ask everywhere.

Include a link to your sign-up form on your website, your social media profiles, and your blog. Paper promotions work, too — try using a clipboard at your front desk, or post flyers with a scan-to-join QR code and instructions.

Need more ideas? Here’s our ultimate guide to growing a massive email list.

2. Create great content

If you want your messages to get read, they need to be relevant to your audience. Make sure that you know what your audience values. Do the research by asking or surveying your audience.

What type of information would they like to receive in their inbox? If you don’t get any interest in routine newsletters from your board of trustees, you might want to stay away from that content.

Stick to what your audience wants to know, not what you want to push out.

Next, figure out how much content is enough. You don’t want to create long, detailed emails that take too much time to scroll through.

We did a study of our nonprofit customers and found that around 25 lines of text resulted in the best click-through rate.

Nonprofit data image 2

This is a great time-saver for your organization! You don’t need to worry about spending a lot of time creating tons information every time you communicate.

3. Build a beautiful email

Create the best visual first impression by making sure your emails look great in the inbox. Start off right by choosing a mobile-friendly, one-column template so it can be easily read by people viewing your email on their smartphones.

Make sure that you’re using your logo and the colors that you use in the rest of your marketing, so that you’re immediately recognizable. Use great images of your organization and your supporters so that your audience can easily connect what your organization does with who you are.

4. Increase your open rate

Your subject line and your timing have an impact on your email open rate. Keep your subject lines short, between four to seven words, to avoid getting cut off by smartphones. Tell your audience what’s the most important information in your email and why your email matters to them.

Check out this infographic for 12 ideas for super subject lines.

Your email has a better chance of being opened if it lands in your subscribers’ inbox on the day and time that works best for them. Once you start sending emails, you’ll have enough data for a suggested best day and time to send to your audience, based on their behavior.

If you’re looking for a good place to start, try our general trends by industry chart and find your nonprofit type.

5. Track your results

If you’re using an email service provider, you have access to reports and data that tell you what’s working and what’s not.

Your open rate will tell you how many people were interested in your message, but your click-through rate is often the best measure of success. Click-throughs mean you have nurtured your audience through opening and reading of the email, and they have taken additional action by clicking on the links you’ve included.

Measuring action is critical because it helps you understand what your audience is interested in and allows you to identify who is most engaged with you.

Want more tips on email marketing for nonprofits?

Join us for our webinar, The Power of the Inbox for Nonprofits. This session reveals why regular email doesn’t work, offers insider tips and techniques like automated list-building tools and the design elements that work (and those that don’t!), and provides you with the keys to the most effective marketing you can do: email marketing.