Email Marketing from the Heart at the American Red Cross

Posted on January 11, 2011

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The American Red Cross is one of the premier emergency response organizations in the US. The Triangle Red Cross (TRC) serves as a regional hub in North Carolina area for the American Red Cross, delivering support to their local community. In addition to the domestic disaster relief services, it provides services for collection, processing and distribution of blood and blood products, and educational programs promoting health and safety programs. The organization is frequently assessing how it can better reach current and potential donors to communicate its messages to drive awareness and support life saving initiatives.

“Over the past few years, online donations have almost doubled in percentage. Our audience profile is becoming more online oriented, and as a result we decided to focus on email marketing as a key part of our overall marketing strategy,” says Lu Esposito, Director of Marketing and Communications at the American Red Cross. 

The organization is utilizing its email marketing solution in numerous ways based on its marketing needs. One of the ways it’s optimized is by segmenting prospects (potential donors) by their likelihood to become actual donors. By doing so, the TRC can launch targeted marketing campaigns and personalize content to convert potential donors to actually donate or improve the likelihood the prospect will donate in the future by keeping the individual informed and engaged. Esposito emphasized, “Our new solution allows us to understand the likelihood of a response to an email campaign by actual and/or potential donors, and thereby improve the effectiveness of each email campaign.” Another key capability that Triangle Red Cross recently added to its email marketing campaign strategy is landing page optimization. It’s instrumental in providing the organization with visibility into what donors are doing, so the audience can be served better.

“It’s great to use email to get individuals on your website but if your website doesn’t provide an easy platform for visitors to donate, the worst action you can take is to launch an email marketing campaign when users can’t really can’t take action,” states Esposito.

To this point the Triangle Red Cross streamlined its web content in order to make ease of donation a key part of its email marketing strategy.  The use of analytics tools is yet another key technology ingredient of the organization’s email marketing initiatives – it supports their efforts to analyze the results of all the email campaigns.

Utilizing its new email marketing solution enabled Triangle Red Cross to achieve important performance improvements. The new email marketing solution helped the organization almost double its conversion ratio from email campaigns (percentage of potential donors converted into actual donors) over the past year. “When an individual moves from non-donor status to donor status it’s really crucial for us, and email marketing is a key factor in attaining strong conversion rates for our organization,” Esposito concluded.

Source: Email Marketing: Customers Take It Personally (registration required)

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