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Email Marketing and SEO: A Winning Duo for Charities

Charity newsletter content optimization and SEO enhancing one another to boost nonprofits online

Keeping up with the fast pace of digital marketing and trying to innovate novel ways to get your message across can leave some of the most basic tactics overlooked. In this blog, we’ll focus on the dynamic partnership between email marketing and SEO and how they can work together to elevate your charity’s online success.

How To Make SEO and Email Marketing Work Together

In its simplest form, SEO can be identified as a digital marketing strategy that focuses on optimising a website or online content to improve its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves sending emails to a targeted list of recipients with the goal of promoting products or services, or engaging with the audience.

When considered from that perspective, they seem pretty distant, right? SEO is considered more of a top of the funnel (TOFU) strategy, mostly covering awareness and consideration stages. On the other hand, email marketing is basically a pull channel, a bottom-of-the-funnel strategy, on the transaction and post-transaction stages of a sales funnel.

Top tips to keep up with the changing landscape of digital marketing and bring SEO and email marketing together.

So what is it we are trying to accomplish here and how do we keep up?

What’s important to us is where they meet and how they can work together; in other words, creating a holistic strategy where all channels are communicating and creating a 360-degree marketing strategy.

Let’s start by identifying how these two channels in the marketing mix support one another.

The Ways SEO Supports Email Marketing

  1. Improves Email Deliverability 
    Technical SEO practices such as improving your website’s performance, ensuring mobile-friendliness, and maintaining a clean and well-structured website, can contribute to a better sender reputation. A good sender reputation helps your emails avoid spam filters and reach the recipient’s inbox.
    Also, who wants to wait for ages for a page to load?
  2. Enhanced Landing Pages
    Once a page loads, users want to see a well-structured landing page, providing a smooth user experience. When your email campaigns direct recipients to well-optimised landing pages by the SEO team, you create a seamless transition and a positive user experience. That supports the ultimate goal of email marketing:  higher conversion rates.
  3. Helps Discover User Pain Points and FAQs
    An SEO team is able to find the most relevant questions to be covered in a given context – and cover multiple POVs. Be it a new donation campaign you are launching or a fundraiser, we are here to help identify the frequently asked questions coming from individual or corporate donors, NGOs, volunteers, and other organisations, so that you can create that wholesome content that generates  conversions and increases donations with SEO!
  4. Increases Reach and Engagement
    A well-optimised and resonating website enhances the overall user experience. This, in turn, leads to better email click-through rates and more interaction with your charity’s campaigns. SEO-driven improvements in your website can ensure that your emails have a better chance of being seen and acted upon.
  5. Local SEO for Geo-Targeted Campaigns
    If your email marketing includes local promotions, updates about your local charity shop or events, local SEO strategies can help ensure that your email content is optimised for the geographic location of your recipients. We love taking advantage of event schema markup and other structured data types to boost search performance. This can improve the relevance of your emails and increase engagement among local subscribers and volunteers.

Expand the content opportunities for the cause your charity stands for with email marketing.

The Ways Email Marketing Supports SEO

  1. Drives Traffic and Engagement
    It is obviously an exceptional tool for driving relevant and targeted traffic to your website. When your emails contain valuable content and intriguing CTAs, you’re not only fostering engagement but also sending positive signals to search engines through engagement metrics. This can boost your SEO efforts by increasing search signals.
  2. Promotes Website Content
    Every newsletter you send out is an opportunity to promote your website’s content. By sharing links to articles, blog posts, or landing pages, you’re driving traffic to your website, increasing your website’s authority, and expanding its reach.
    Feel free to include links to other campaigns, relevant opportunities and news about the charity where it is relevant. Plus, you can create interactive resources to increase engagement.
  3. Reinforces Brand Awareness
    Email marketing helps to reinforce your charity’s presence in the minds of your audience. When users are familiar with your cause, your logo and your name, they are more likely to click on your site in search results, improving click-through rates (CTRs).
  4. Distributes Fresh Content
    Email marketing allows you to distribute your latest blog posts, articles, or other content to your subscribers. Distributing fresh content is a crucial aspect of SEO, and regularly sending out email updates can ensure that your audience is aware of (and engages with) the most up -to-date content of your charity.
  5. Improves Social Signals
    It’s a great playfield to include social sharing buttons or links to your social media profiles. Social shares and further engagement with your content often influences the search results positively – and encourages more websites talking about your charity and more mentions and links coming your way.

Email marketing campaigns can be used to increase social shares for your charity.

What to Pay Attention to When Two Channels Are Working Together

Maximising the potential of combined SEO and email marketing requires careful consideration. Here are our top tips to ensure these channels work seamlessly in tandem:

Publish Newsletter Content

Always have your newsletter content on your website! It’s useful for your audience to have a library of ‘searchable’ newsletters, and it’s equally useful for you to showcase your expertise. When you publish newsletter content on your site, you’re creating valuable, indexable pages that can be optimised for search engines, adding value to your charity’s E-E-A-T signals.

Repurpose Email Content for Web Use

Adapt your email content for your website audience by ensuring it’s well-structured, enriched, and optimised further with additional keywords and context. This helps increase your website’s visibility in search results.

You can use the email campaigns as a test to prioritise SEO efforts, in order to see what resonates with most of your audiences, doubling down on that topic further in the future.

This can also be a good resource to refresh an outdated post. The content strategy for charities should always be a live document that’s fed with the most recent learnings of all teams, especially when working with causes.

Use the Power of Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are specific and less competitive, making them ideal for email marketing campaigns to target specific audiences. Incorporating various long-tail keywords into your email content can improve the relevance of your messages, leading to higher open and click-through rates. Here are our favourite keyword research tools for charities.

Target Niche Audiences

Long-tail keywords help you target niche audiences interested in your charity’s cause.  If you aren’t using the power of marketing personas on your content strategy yet, this is your sign to discover more about them. By aligning your email marketing with these specific keywords, you can engage more effectively with your target demographic.

Track Email Campaign Performance

Utilise UTM tags to track the performance of your email campaigns in GA4 – or your preferred analytics tool. Google does provide a helpful URL builder for this purpose which, given the desired UTM parameters, will provide the campaign URL to use. 

These tags provide valuable insights into how your emails are driving traffic and conversions, allowing you to fine-tune your email marketing strategies.

Next Steps

At Uprise Up, we love bringing together many diverse channels to create holistic digital marketing strategies for charities. 

Feeling inspired about how to combine these two channels in your own campaign? Go for it, and reach out in case you want to get the best tips, or research and implementation support from our team.

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    Be a Christmas Angel, not a Grinch – What Makes a Good Christmas Landing Page?

    Picture this: It’s Christmas Night, and Santa Claus is almost finished with his deliveries for the year. But he’s got a problem. 

    There are two houses left, but he only has enough presents for one. He looks over the side of this sleigh and takes a peek at the roofs of the two houses in question. One roof is clean, flat, and has a little runway of Christmas lights just big enough for him to land his sleigh on. It’s clearly been designed with Santa in mind. The other roof, however, is messy, covered in sharp rocks that might frustrate the reindeer, and the chimney looks so small Santa isn’t even sure he could make it down. 

    Which house do you think is waking up to presents on Christmas Day?  

    If Santa is potential donors or customers during the Christmas season, then your Christmas landing page is your roof. If you don’t put the effort in to making this page as effective as possible, then your customers may very well go elsewhere, and you may end up with nothing but a piece of coal for Christmas. 

    Don’t worry, however – in this blog I am going to put my roof-designing skills at your disposal and give you some pointers for how you can develop an effective Christmas landing page for your campaigns.  

     

    It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas – Landing Page Feel 

    Firstly, and maybe most importantly, Santa is never going to land on your roof unless you deck it out for the holidays. In reality, this means you must make sure your landing page feels Christmassy. The reason Christmas campaigns are often so effective is that the Christmas feeling is inherently tied to gift giving, charity, and loving thy neighbour. You want your landing page to engender that feeling in your users, because it is exactly the feeling that is going to encourage them to support your cause. 

    Take a look at Shelter’s Christmas Donation page: 

      

    Yes, the head copy mentions Christmas, but apart from that there is no other mention of the holidays, or any holiday themed imagery. More importantly, this page gives me no feeling of Christmas.  

    Now, Shelter’s page is supported by a huge media strategy that has this unified messaging, and the most important thing you must do is unify your voice across all of your advertising efforts. It’s also a well-known brand that is attempting some disruptive advertising, which may work for the Shelters and the Cancer Researches of the world, but may well fall down if a smaller organisation attempts the same trick.  

    Now take a look at Bowel Cancer UK’s Christmas appeal landing page: 

    Although the design is a little less appealing, the page is far more Christmas themed, a Christmas image is displayed, and the copy explains the appeal’s relation to Christmas.  

    Crisis has a yearly Christmas campaign as well. Their page for this year is not live yet, but we can cast our eyes back to the 2022 campaign:

    This is a great first screen for a Christmas campaign. The imagery is overtly Christmassy, showing both Crisis employees and the beneficiaries of the campaign. The headline is specific to Christmas, and the following copy further emphasises how Crisis helps its beneficiaries during the Christmas period. 

    But these examples have a second lesson to be learnt about Christmas landing pages. 

     

    Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Landing Page Tone 

    In the previous section we talked about the theme of the landing page, but what about tone? Imagine Santa arrives at your house, but you’ve forgotten to take down the Halloween decorations. Instead of the bright lights, elves, and reindeer that Santa is expecting, he finds skeletons, ghosts, and ghouls instead. The three examples above handle tone in different ways. 

    The image in Shelter’s landing page is quite negative – the people in the image don’t look happy and the environment they are in doesn’t look particularly nice. The copy is slightly more positive, asking for users to help people find a home. This could have been worded, “Stop people not having a home this Christmas,” which is decidedly more negative.  

    Bowel Cancer UK’s page has a more neutral tone – the image is graphical, which has little tonal effect. However, it should be noted that they chose to use the more negative wording we just talked about – “Help stop people dying of bowel cancer” – rather than the positive possible version “Support people with bowel cancer” or similar. 

    Finally, Crisis has very positive imagery and copy. We’ve already talked about how the image shows the act of beneficiaries being helped – and the copy focusses on the benefits those beneficiaries receive at Crisis.  

    So – which tone is best? Well, it may be more complicated than that. In general, research has shown that we humans have an inbuilt negative bias. We feel and remember negative things far more strongly, and this often means that we are more motivated to avoid a negative result than to cause a positive one.  

    However, we must remember that we are not running a regular campaign here, but a Christmas one. For most people, this is the one period of the year where this psychological effect inverts. We give gifts, not because people will be sad or angry if we don’t, but because we want to please and delight them. Donating to charity at this time is a natural extension of this gift giving mentality, and we want to see the people our donation supports pleased and delighted as well.  

    For this reason, I would suggest focusing on the benefits your user’s donations will give to your beneficiaries, and how their Christmas will be made better.  

    Either way, you should always commit to one tone. If you have positive imagery and negative copy, or vice versa, you will cause tonal dissonance that will not help you convince your users to convert.  

     

    All I want for Christmas is you – What to ask for 

    All this talk of tone and theme is fine, but let’s get down to the nuts and bolts – what should we be asking for? If you put a big sign on your roof asking Santa for a present he doesn’t have, he may end up not giving you anything at all! 

    We are going to assume that you are asking for a monetary donation here; this is often what most Christmas campaigns boil down to. The single biggest suggestion I can give here is to change your mindset for what your users are doing. At some level, most users are going to be seeing this donation as giving a gift, in exactly the same way that you present your Mum or Dad with a pair of new socks. This seems obvious, but it can have some important implications when you examine it closely.  

    The first point that can be learned comes from Shelter’s page. They give the default option on the Christmas appeal page to donate monthly. This is a noble aim (we would all love to generate monthly revenue through our Christmas campaigns) and this is best practice for regular, always-on donation pages. 

    However, while a dog is not just for Christmas, a donation normally is. Remember: users are viewing this on some level as giving a gift. Generally, when I give my family Christmas presents, I don’t tend to want to continue giving them a gift every month till next Christmas. The same is likely true of your users’ donations. So, we would recommend at least defaulting to single donations here, and maybe even removing the monthly option entirely.  

    The second lesson can be learnt from Bowel Cancer UK’s page. The donation that you give to Bowel Cancer UK is tied to a Christmas themed digital product. Here, you are allowed to place a signed card on a digital Christmas tree. This is a great way to not only add to the Christmas feel of your page, but also to strengthen the gift like feeling of the donation.  

    Whether it be a star on a tree, a present wrapped and presented, or a stocking over the fire, adding some simple digital product that can be displayed on your page is an excellent design choice.  

    Finally, Crisis has gone a step further still. The gift that you give in the crisis campaign is real and tangible. You are buying a seat at a free Christmas meal for a homeless person in a Crisis shelter. In this way, this gift giving mentality is embraced fully, turning a simple “Donate £20 at Christmas” into a “Give someone in need a Christmas meal.” I know which I would prefer to do.  

     

    The Basics – Make Sure Your Landing Page Works 

    All the advice in the world on how to decorate your roof for Christmas is not going to help if there are holes in it, or the front is falling off. Make sure that the basics of your landing page are also as good as they can be. 

    What do I mean by basics? 

    For a start, make sure your page loads as fast as possible, this is a critical aspect of both user experience and technical performance; both Google and your users will be unhappy if a page is taking multiple seconds to load. If you are experiencing long load times, you can use tools like pagespeed insights to discover what is slowing your page load speeds. 

    Secondly, ensure that the call to action is prominently displayed on the first screen of the page. A screen is the visible window that appears on the user’s monitor. In this way, you can break a page up into multiple screens. Not only should your call to action be on the first screen but it should be repeated on longer pages as you scroll down. A good rule to use here is one screen off, one screen on. This will ensure the user is never more than one screen away from a relevant action on the page. 

    Lastly, the page should not have many separate calls to action present, especially if the page is intended to be used for marketing purposes. Too many options on a page can lead to a form of choice paralysis where the user ends up choosing none of the options, or the wrong one for them, leading to a failed journey and frustration.  

    So that’s it. If you follow this advice, your roof should be Santa-ready by the time he comes around. Remember, however, that a good landing page is only one part of the strategy for an effective Christmas campaign. A nice roof is good, but you also need to put up signs to let Santa know that you’re accepting presents! Lucky for you, we at Uprise Up are expert Santa attractors. If you’re running a Christmas campaign and want help with your advertising, or advice on how to improve your landing page, then contact us and we’ll discuss how we can help. 

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