When we think of email marketing, we usually think about promotions, discounts, sales of goods and services. Or perhaps to send new blog posts, for content creation and brand positioning.
The email marketing is usually associated with sales, but there are companies that don’t sell anything and rely on email marketing to survive.
This is the case of Wikipedia.
They don’t sell products or services, but rely on donations to but they have to maintain an infrastructure comparable to that of a large company. Therefore, Wikipedia needs to invest in advertising, because to survive, they need to attract users willing to donate.
But as we know advertising is expensive, or at least is not cheap.
How Wikipedia is using email marketing to survive?
From what I found, Wikipedia works with 3 forms of online marketing:
1) Banners on their own website
2) Remarketing campaigns using AdWords
3) email marketing campaigns to contact with donors
Among these options, the main option would be the email campaigns.
The banners they add on the website, I’m sure almost all users usually ignore the images, although the advantage is that it is an economic advertising option, which will be seen by all visitors on the Wikipedia website.
The problem is that many visitors usually ignore the banners, their marketing department is aware of that fact, because they create remarketing campaigns, banner ads that appear on other websites for users who previously donated to Wikipedia, asking to help them again.
The problem is that remarketing, although effective, is also more expensive.
Can you imagine Wikipedia having to invest in advertising to contact and remind the same donors that they need help?
Investing money each year to create the same campaigns, money that actually they would need to maintain the company, which would be spent on advertising.
Why email marketing is vital to wikipedia?
And other non-profit associations (did you know that Save the Children works with Mailrelay?)
This is the system that allows them to contact directly with more people likely to donate money:
Those who have donated in the past!
Have a look at this e-mail:
As you can see, they are contacting me because of a donation I have made last year, with a call to action, which is visible when opening the email.
The call to action will be repeated on another link in the message body.
And what they will do if the user ignored this email?
There are many reasons for that, you cannot open the email at this time, you don’t have time to complete the payment process, you decide to pay later, etc.
A banner can’t be seen later, if you don’t return to the website.
An email can be left in the inbox to be read later.
It is quite possible that the users are willing to donate, but they may not have time right now.
If they don’t donate, the marketing department can always try to send another email:
In this case, they can get back in touch with people who donated on previous occasions.
And try to send another message that shows the urgency, another design, etc.
The main factor is that the email marketing allows Wikipedia to have a direct contact channel with people predisposed to donate
Instead of using a more expensive form of advertising, for people least receptive to this propaganda.
That is why Wikipedia needs to work with email marketing. Other types of advertising would not be as effective. In addition, email marketing allows them to recognize the donation and thank the users in a personal and direct way:
Much better than a generic message of thanks in a website.
Don’t you think so?