Email List Swaps: How to be Happy After the Fact
Below is a cross-post from Connectivity editorial advisor Colin Delany’s Epolitics.com blog, originally published on Sept. 10, 2014. This post was written by Allyson Goldsmith, the online communication manager with the National Organization for Women.
Drawing from work done by NOW, Goldsmith runs through the logistical steps of running an email swap with another advocacy organization, from deciding with whom to partner to constructing the email signup blast.
Just about all Digital Strategists want bigger email lists: who wouldn’t want more supporters to talk to, mobilize and fundraise from? But list growth is expensive and hence sometimes out of reach for small nonprofits. Never fear, you can still find ways to grow your list that don’t cost money…only time!
A number of ways to grow your email list are available, but if I covered them all, this blog post would seem like a novel. So today, we’re going to focus on list swaps –- “trading” supporters with a like-minded organization.
Let’s start with the features of the two most common ways of doing a list swap. A critical aspect of both methods? They’re opt-in, meaning that the people taking action know whom they are taking action with and are consciously signing up for a new list.
Method 1: Separate Petitions
Each organization sends a different action request to its own list of supporters. However, each organization asks its supporters to engage in an action from the other organization. When individuals take the action, they join the list for the organization they were not previously associated with. Thus, each organization can expand its email list.
Method 2: The Joint Campaign
Each organization sends out the same action request to their email list, although the narrative in the emails can differ. In this joint campaign, any person who takes the desired action will now be a member of both organizations’ email list.
With Whom should You Swap?
Now that you know what a list swap is, how do you decide whom to swap with? When deciding whom to approach about a swap, think about your goals. Do you want to connect with a new group of people who are already linked to related organizations and who might be passionate about your core issue? Alternatively, are you a multi-issue organization seeking to build up a segment of your list that is concerned about a particular issue of the many that you aim to influence?
You should always chose a partner whose mission you agree with and support. Otherwise, the new group of supporters won’t be the right people for your organization. Thus, when I start brainstorming a list of potential partners, I think about organizations who work on similar issues and issue areas where my organization wants to grow. If you’re stuck for ideas you can also use Wisdom App, which analyzes your Facebook likes and gives you a list of other pages your community likes.
One consideration about whether to swap lists at all: if your hope is to expand your email list to allow your organization to more effectively address new issues or non-core issues, you’ll need to spend time and other resources to accomplish these ends. This can draw energy and attention away from your traditional activities, and is that trade-off worth it?
Continue reading: Email List Swaps: How to be Happy After the Fact