With over 15 years of experience working in animal rescue, Laura Carlock knows how important people can be in saving the lives of animals.
“I founded Rescued Pets Movement in 2013, after working with different rescue groups around Houston,” Laura explains. “We are an all-volunteer organization that transports animals from Houston and Greater Houston area shelters, to other nonprofit animal welfare organizations that have demand for adoptable pets.”
Since opening their doors in November 2013, Laura and her team have helped more than 2,400 at-risk dogs and cats — all through the contributions and involvement of individual donors and volunteers.
From the beginning, Laura has relied on a powerful marketing channel to communicate with the people who matter most to her organization.
“Our email database has been a critical part of our communication strategy,” says Laura. “Whether we’re announcing a fundraiser or just trying to get the word out about an upcoming event, we like being able to log in and send out a professional email to our entire list.”
In addition to regular updates from Rescued Pets Movement, Laura says that there have also been special circumstances when she’s needed immediate help from her audience.
“We’re careful not to inundate our audience with too many emails. When they do see an email from us, I want it to be something that they’re interested in and want to read about,” Laura explains. “But there are also times when we’re dealing with an emergency and need funds right away.”
In March, Laura and her team were faced with one of those situations.
A dog that had been rescued by her organization was faced with a life-threatening medical condition and needed emergency treatment. Knowing that the cost of the surgery would require immediate funding, Laura sent an email asking for help.
“We sent a plea out to our database, explaining the situation and asking for help. Our audience knows that we only send these types of emails when we really need to, which is why these always get the most clicks and shares,” Laura explains. “The response was amazing; we raised over $10,000 from individual donors and were able to get her the help she needed.”
For Rescued Pets Movement, having an email strategy has been a critical part of her organization’s success.
But raising $10,000 from an email campaign isn’t something that happens over night.
Here’s a look at how Rescued Pets Movement created an email strategy to drive action.
1. Value your audience
Since getting started with Constant Contact in December 2013, Rescued Pets Movement has grown its email list to over 3,000 contacts.
For Laura, these aren’t just names on a list — they are the people who make achieving her organization’s mission a possibility.
“These relationships are so important to us, so we are very careful not to overwhelm people,” Laura explains. “We keep an eye on what type of emails are getting the most attention from our audience — which are getting the most opens, clicks, and shares — and only send stuff they are interested in.”
In addition to monitoring her campaign results, Laura has created a feedback campaign to get input from volunteers.
With an average open rate of over 34 percent, it’s clear that her strategy is working.
2. Be consistent
As a new organization, Laura has worked hard to develop a look and feel that is unique to the Rescued Pets Movement brand.
“It’s important that we have a certain, unified way that we reach our audience,” Laura explains. “Having a tool like Constant Contact makes it easy, because we can choose and customize our emails before they go out, and add the language that’s right for us.”
Maintaining a consistent look has made it easy for supporters to recognize Laura’s emails, and has also helped make a positive impression on new donors, as well.
“We have a lot of people who share our emails, which is how we attract a lot of our new foster families and volunteers,” Laura explains. “Having a professional-looking email is important for helping us.”
3. Show your work
In addition to announcing upcoming projects, fundraisers, and events; Laura also uses email to keep her audience up-to-date on all the work her organization is currently involved in.
“When we reach a milestone like our first 1,000 dogs saved, we’ll send an email letting people know, or if we have a special case where we are asking for donations, we’ll make sure to send a follow up with updates on their condition,” Laura explains. “We want to make sure people can see the difference their contributions are making.”
In the case of Cindy, the dog whose story helped Rescued Pets Movement raise $10,000, Laura uses a combination of text and photos so donors can see her progress.
4. Use a clear call to action
When Rescued Pets Movement is ready to ask their audience to get involved, they make sure to be clear about the action that needs to be taken.
“We get the best response when we are direct with people — telling them what we are doing, what we need, and how they can help,” says Laura.
For Rescued Pets Movement, this has resulted to more people donating, volunteering, and clicking to learn more about this important organization.
Put your strategy into action!
Using Constant Contact, Laura has created an email strategy that drives action, and helps Rescued Pets Movement achieve its goals. You can too!