How to Develop Your Email Lists

When making email lists many people fall into the trap of creating lists that are based on a specific audience, like donors, board members, or program participants. While some of the time those audience-focused lists are appropriate, you likely have experienced times when your communications need to span across multiple audiences. What do you do then? If you have been sending the same email campaign to multiple lists to reach different audiences, that's a sign that your email lists could use some revision.

To develop your email lists use a table like the one below and follow these steps:

1. Identify Your Audiences

Create a list of the audiences that your organization communicates with, whether that is every day or only once each year. Your audiences can be dynamic and change over time. For example students can complete a program and become alumni, or a customer can also become a donor. In MonkeyPod you can label each of your relationships with one or more Roles to help keep your audiences organized.

2. Identify Your Communication Goals

Every time you communicate with one of your audiences, you should have a goal in mind. You may want to solicit donations from your audiences by sharing fundraising opportunities. Or you may want to inform your program participants about scheduling and logistics changes. You should never send an email campaign and not know why. Always know what you are trying to accomplish through that communication. If you find your list of communication goals getting too long, review your goals and see if any of them can be grouped together. 

In MonkeyPod you can have unlimited email lists and send unlimited campaigns. Identifying clear communication goals will help you get organized and be ready for future growth.

3. Identify Types of Engagements

For each communication goal, list types of engagements that naturally align. If one of your goals is to share opportunities to support your organization, a specific type of engagement may be sharing your end of year fundraising appeal. Or you may want to announce a fundraising event, like an annual gala. Types of engagement are how you plan to accomplish each of your communication goals. 

4. Identify Your Desired Outcomes

For each communication goal, with its associated types of engagements, identify a desired outcome. If your communication goal is to share opportunities to support your organization, a desired outcome could be increased donations. Alternatively, a desired outcome could be more first-time donors. Identifying a desired outcome for each communication goal will allow you to evaluate your performance over time. 

5. Map Your Audiences to Communication Goals

Once you have identified your communication goals, types of engagements, and desired outcomes, map your audiences to each goal. Audiences can be aligned with multiple communication goals. If you find that you have an audience that does not align with any of your communication goals, think about why you communicate with that audience. What information do you share with them? What is the nature of that relationship? You may need to add a new communication goal to your list. 

6. Name Your Lists

You're almost done! You have connected your audiences with communication goals. Now you need to create names for each of those lists. Remember that when someone unsubscribes from an email list, they may see the name of that email list. So keep it professional.

7. Add Subscribers to Your Lists

Once you have created your email lists, it's time to add subscribers. In MonkeyPod your email lists may contain unlimited subscribers. And because your email marketing is integrated with MonkeyPod Relationships CRM, your contact data will always be organized and in sync.

Example: Education Nonprofit

To help illustrate these concepts, let's look at an example of a nonprofit that runs an annual educational program for students. The organization communicates with several different audiences: donors, board members, program participants, program alumni, instructors, staff, community partners, volunteers, and their grant funder.

The organization identified five discrete communication goals, although there could likely be several more depending on the complexity of the program(s) offered. Each communication goal has a few different engagement types listed as specific examples. And each communication goal has a desired outcome to make it clear what should be measured to gauge success.

Each audience is mapped to the relevant communication goals. Some audiences align with multiple communication goals. Other audiences only align with one communication goal. And finally, the organization created professional list names.