As you grow your booster club and continue to look for different ways to communicate to supporters – don’t overlook the importance of email. A well designed booster club email marketing strategy can have a tremendously positive impact on your club visibility, participation and most importantly – fundraising!
What Is Email Marketing?
Briefly, email marketing is reaching out to potential and current supporters via email. Normally, as a booster club, you will gather emails from a variety of sources, but generally these are email addresses of your supporters and community members. With the right email marketing strategy and messaging you can regularly reach out to your list to in turn increase participation at events, fundraising or any other goals you might have with your list. At the end of the day, email marketing is simply a mass communication tool between management runnning the booster club and the community supporters.
Why Do These Emails Matter?
Email marketing is important because it allows you to reach thousands of people for very little cost (pennies or less per email) if you carefully collect emails. As long as you are collecting emails from people that sincerely want to stay on your email list, it is hard to find a more cost effective direct way to market to people than email marketing. When a qualified email list is paired with a solid email marketing strategy the results normally tend to positively grow the visiblity, bottom line and support for a booster club.
To help you get started, we are going to walk through a basic booster club email marketing strategy below!
A Basic Booster Club Email Marketing Strategy
The best way to approach your email marketing strategy is to create light-hearted, friendly, and easy-to-read emails. This can be a real art, but can be handled by a volunteer or two with a decent writing ability. Once they get into the swing of it, the copy shouldn’t be too time consuming as the pieces are shorter in nature – designed to be read via email.
In addition to writing email copy, you will want to study some basic strategies around subject lines and layouts to get you started. Even some basic research into different subject line strategies that increase email open rates as well as current trends with email layout can have a significant impact on your overall strategy. That being said, if you are not sure if your subject, copy and layout strategies are not working as well as they could be, you can always test different strategies to see if you are able to improve your email engagement rates.
Wait, what – Email Testing?
Don’t worry, testing sounds more complicated than it really is. When you get into testing email strategies, there are generally two ways to approach this, but the strategy is basically the same. One thing to note, as with any type of testing you always change only one aspect at a time so that you know what change was made that had a positive or negative effect.
Weekly Email Testing:
Weekly testing basically spreads your email tests out over a number of weeks. For instance you might try testing a different subject line strategy one week but keep your copy style / writing and your layout the same. The next week you might change your layout strategy but keep your subject line strategy to be the best performing of the test you previously ran, and then the last week test your copy changes while always keeping the better performing strategy from the previous tests. At the end of the weekly testing schedule you would have a better perfoming email – which you can then run with or try to continue to improve with further weekly tests.
Segmented Email List Testing:
The other way to approach this is to run multiple tests at once by segmenting your audience into even groups – with each segment receiving a test version of the email and then compare the results. Don’t worry, many email marketing systems have automated system for doing this as part of your email marketing creation flow :). If you go down this path, and you are testing subject line, copy, and layout you would need to set up 4 email list segments: one for the current email strategy, one for the subject line only change, another for the copy only change and the last for the copy only change. Once you have your segments and emails ready to go you would send it and then observe the results. From there you can see which tests made an impact and which did not.
Send Booster Club Email Updates Regularly
Part of your successful booster club email marketing strategy is also the rate at which you send emails. You don’t want to send too many emails too quickly as you can turn people off to receiving your emails. Also sending too many emails too quickly raises spam red flags and your emails could get permanenty blocked. How you schedule emails depends on the types of emails you are sending out, it could also depend on the time of year. For instance, you may increase your email sending (cadence) when your supported activity is in season – and lower your send rate when it is not in season. You may also increase your email send rate when a big booster event is happening and you need to ensure people are aware of it. Regardless of your schedule, make sure that you are consistent and regular with your emails and as a rule of thumb do not send more than one email per week (except on special occasions).
Why Use a Booster Club Email Marketing Strategy?
Marketing strategies and systems get more sophisticated every year. Yet, the main idea remains simple: to connect and engage with your supporters via targeted content and media as they browse the internet. Email marketing is no different, except one or two steps more personal than advertising since the person gave you their email to send them more information moving forward. While setting up a proper email marketing strategy takes time, the payoffs are immense once it is up and running. The main reason you should have a booster club email marketing strategy are:
- Its cost effective promotion (costs pennies or even free) per email sent
- You are able to have a more personalized approach with people on your list
- An effective email strategy can increase attendance at events, increase funds raised, raise club visibility
Collect Email Addresses For Your Email Marketing Strategy
Acquiring the email addresses is one of the more daunting tasks in marketing. Mainly this is because you want to ensure the emails that you add to your list are from people that are actually interested in your organization. Maintaining a higher bar of entry means your email list building will take several years to grow exponentially. So don’t be discouraged if initially your email list growth rate stays pretty small
Keeping in mind that the quality of the email list is more important than the quantity, you should now start to think about the ways you can collect email addresses. Some of the more obvious ways :
- Add a newsletter sign up to your booster club website – something like Google Forms is free and can or the most part handle
- Collect emails at booster club events / fundraisers
- Collect emails at school events (ie football games)
- Run a giveaway with a local community partner / supporter
- Utilize your volunteers to collect emails from people
Implement one or all of the strategies above and you will see your list continue to grow. The key is to never stop putting at least some energy into growing your list. Not only will a growing email list grow your club, but by continually expanding your email list you will always have new people to send your newsletters to!
Types of Useful Emails for a Booster Club Email Marketing Strategy
A booster club email marketing strategy depends on sending out a variety of well-written emails. Your booster club needs to connect with a diverse range of supporters to build the visibility of the organization in the community. Here are some of the types of emails you may want to send out as part of your well-rounded booster club email marketing strategy.
Every booster club email marketing strategy needs promotional emails. These emails directly promote the sale of goods, online and offline fundraisers, upcoming events, help needed or any other type of item that needs to be promoted to ensure success.
No booster club email marketing strategy would be complete without the nurture email. This is a type of email that keeps relationships going. Generally these emails are less promotion focused (if at all) and instead might offer some information or updates about the club or team/activity. These are really just designed to keep conversation going over email and maintain visibility with supporters.
Lead generating emails overalap promotional emails but are generally different in that they are much more salesy. You typically utilize a lead generating email to generate some sort of return, monetary or otherwise. A strong lead-generating email captures people’s attention by speaking to their current engagement with your club. These types of emails benefit from market segmentation as well as targeted copy and layout per segment.
Subject Lines Improve Email Open Rates
We previously noted the importance of subject lines in relation to testing email effectiveness. Your subject line is extremely critical as it is what entices people to make the next step of reading your email. In general, subject lines should be descriptive of the content and written in an engaging way. They don’t need to b e overly promotional, but they can promote if needed.
One thing to be aware of, spam filters have some pretty long lists of banned words and phrases from subject lines these days. Always check an updated spam filter phrase list when you craft your subject lines. You will be surprised what is on them.
Segmenting and Targeting Your Emails
As you grow your email list you will want to begin to segment out specific groups within your email list. By grouping portions of your list you can create emails that will better target and thus engage members of that group.
Weekly or Monthly Regular Newsletter
Nearly everyone utilizes a weekly or monthly regular newsletter and would generally be sent to everyone on your main list – regardless of grouping within that list. This type of email is a convenient way to regularly talk to your booster club supporters as well as keep them in the loop on upcoming events, fundraisers, and projects. Everyone can read the information at their convenience.
Fundraising Announcement Emails
Fundraising announcement emails are a set of emails sent out pre-launch, at the launch, for updates on the fundraiser, and after the launch. These emails are essential for success, so they should be edited heavily for clarity and tone.
Student Activity Emails
Student activity emails focus on the next events and anything important that has happened (injuries, awards, etc) or is going to happen (travel, banquets, etc). Everyone needs these to keep their calendar in order, so a consistent mailing schedule is a must!
Call for Volunteer Support
Calls for volunteer support do not need to be sent out on a regular schedule but instead should be sent as needed. They can be a request for help at an event, general assistance with team affairs, and possibly a call for donations.
Local Business Outreach Emails
Local business outreach emails are emails that request support and share information on how local businesses can help the booster club. Booster club marketing can have a lot of success when these businesses are approached with enough time and the right offer.
Special Holiday Emails
No email marketing strategy would be complete without special holiday emails. They can be as simple as a “Happy (Holiday Name)” with a greeting. They can be related to booster club events or sent out independently of them.
Building Support for Your Team
You’ve got great fundraisers, a dedicated group of athletes, and a solid booster club. Even though a booster club email marketing strategy is alot of work, the results will be incredible if you take the time to do it right. Keep it lighthearted, interesting, consistent and useful, and you will reap the rewards!