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Donor Engagement with Pardot: Part 2 – Using Dynamic Content to Personalise your Nonprofit Newsletter

By September 26, 2017

In part one of this blog series, ‘The Welcome Email’, we highlighted how donors would give 67% more money annually if they received tailored communications from the nonprofits they donated to. So, we showed you how, using Pardot Engagement Studio you can send a series of personalised welcome emails to new donors based on their interests. But that’s only the first step. If you want to provide even more value, personalisation needs to extend past the welcome email – it’s time to deliver regular engaging tailored content!

Let’s get started with personalising the monthly newsletter. In this blog I will show you how to create a dynamic personalised newsletter for your donors using Pardot.

Personalise your Newsletter with Dynamic Content

With Salesforce, it’s easy to get a clear view of your data and segment your audiences; whether that’s by demographics, personas or giving patterns. Hopefully you have already captured some of your audience’s interests or have categorised them into different types of contacts in your Salesforce org – you’ll be using these fields to personalise your newsletter content.

Pardot makes it easy to send different messages to different groups of people, helping you get the maximum ROI from each email send. For example, if you know a group of your donors are also interested in volunteering, you could send them volunteering opportunities, or you could input events relevant to different locations as your dynamic content. The Pardot Email Builder Tool supports Dynamic Email Content meaning you can personalise your message based on any default or custom fields you specify such as score, last activity, geography and much more!

Let’s see how it works:

Step 1 – Setup you dynamic content.

Setting up your dynamic content is quick and easy to do but you need a clear idea of which content will be dynamic and the fields that it will depend on. Navigate to dynamic content and setup the default content. This will appear for contacts that don’t have those fields populated. Now, set the criteria that will decide the variation of your content your donor receives. And lastly enter the content of each variation and save!

Marketing>Content> Dynamic Content> +Add Dynamic Content.

Step 2 Add your dynamic content

In your email template click into the area you would like dynamic content to appear. Select the dynamic content button (looks like lightning) and select the content you just created!

Simple as that, personalised content in an email can improve CTR by 14% and conversion by 10% (source Aberdeen) so try it out!

Nonprofit Newsletter Checklist

Newsletters are a great asset to add to your marketing mix, providing value to your donors and helping create a deeper donor engagement. Here are a few things to consider before starting your newsletter…

Have you defined your overall goal?

Your overall goal should inform the content and structure of your newsletter. Do you want to encourage your donors to give more, or to new causes, or are you trying to recruit more donors as volunteers or campaigners? Write your aim somewhere visible and ask yourself if you met this goal before each newsletter send. If your goals are clear you should be able to easily measure the results – have more donors become volunteers?/ Have you boosted funds raised for particular programs?

Setting up for success

Pardot provides extensive reporting functionality. Make sure to define the metrics that will help you measure your goal. Newsletters can provide a deeper donor relationship so think the long term value of the engagement. You may want one metric based on qualitative feedback, such as a survey and one for email performance. The ‘email report and click report’ allow you to take a detailed look at what content donors did and did not interact with.

Consistency is key

Nonprofits often work in small teams meaning it’s all hand on deck but if you commit to a monthly newsletter it really should go out every month. If someone is away, make sure there’s another person available to send on your behalf. Pardot allows you to create a template that can be used for every newsletter so that there is a consistent look and feel. The drag and drop email builder means anyone can be an email genius and the donor gets a consistent message. We like the ‘Multi-Column: Variant 6’ for building newsletters.

A great list makes or breaks your email performance!

  • Attracting subscribers: Having a banner on your website promoting your newsletter is a great way to get sign ups! No one signs up for newsletter twice, so if you have a pop up banner asking donors to ‘sign up for our newsletter’, you can use dynamic content to show different content for those who have already signed up! See more on using dynamic content on landing pages here.
  • Housekeeping: Newsletters aren’t for everyone, why not create a public list that sits on your email preferences page so donors can opt out of the monthly newsletter list. This should reduce the amount of people opting out of your emails all together! Find out more about the email preference center page here.

So thats a wrap for now, hopefully you’ll see the value of a tailored newsletter. Dynamic content can be used to personalise nearly any piece of email or website content, it’s a powerful tool so make sure you use it!

See you in the next post about re engaging your donors, using lead scoring and keeping clean data.