Anatomy of an email

Earlier this fall, the Minnesota Orchestra moved from MailChimp to a new email marketing platform, Prospect2. The main attraction of Prospect2 is that it talks to Tessitura, our ticketing and data system.

This move has allowed us to launch customized content in email, and we are getting more complex with each weekly newsletter we send. Here’s a recent example of a newsletter to illustrate what I mean:

At the top, we have customized reminders. Each week, data is pulled into Prospect2 via an automation to tag accounts with data about how many banked tickets or easy passes a person might have on their account, what their account balance might be, and whether the last gift they made was a year ago this month.

If any of those conditions apply, we mention the person by name in the gray header at the top: “Jennifer, Don’t Forget.” Some of these things–like banked tickets–have expiration dates, so we want people to use them.

We also have events to which we invite certain patrons, such as the Annual Review. For invitations like that we send out an individualized “standalone” email but then also remind them for several weeks at the top of the newsletter. All of these reminders add a ton of value for the patrons who regularly open these emails, and they cost us nothing now that we’ve set them up as automations.

It looks like a lot of reminders when set up like this, but most patrons who have reminders see one or two at the most.

We’ve also started targeting content to people based on attributes. We want to thank our donors as often as possible, and remind non-donors of how important donations are to the orchestra. With custom content we can easily accomplish this.

We now target donors, non-donors, subscribers, and non-subscribers so often that we have the tags and automations built and ready to access at any time.

These strategies are helping keep our weekly newsletter fresh and our open rate strong.


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