November 1st marked the beginning of Movember, and men and women everywhere are celebrating the moustache in support of men’s health. We interviewed Meaghan Bilinski, Content Marketing Manager for the Movember Foundation, to find out what makes the Movember movement successful, and how email helps the organization reach and engage its audience.
What’s the story of Movember? What makes the organization special?
Movember started in Australia back in 2003, originally just as a joke between friends trying to bring the moustache back in fashion for fun. They were shocked by how much of a conversation starter growing a moustache was, and were inspired to use this for good to bring attention to important men’s health causes. They started by raising money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and it grew from there. Now Movember runs campaigns in 21 countries around the world and has raised over $650 million for vital men’s health programs — focusing on not only prostate cancer but testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.
The viral nature of Movember and the fact that it was started by friends who wanted to have fun while doing good is really key to everything we do. We challenge ourselves to have fun with a serious subject, and always think differently. We treat our community of Mo Bros, Mo Sistas and their generous donors as the rock stars, while we work tirelessly behind the scenes to set the stage for them every Movember.
We challenge ourselves to constantly innovate and distinguish ourselves from other charities, whether it be with our Movember & Co. Barber Shop at our US HQ, to our new mobile game Run Mo Run, we’re always looking for new ways to engage our community.
What role does email marketing play for Movember? What have you found to be most effective?
Email marketing is our most important communication channel and our most effective direct line to our community. It plays a huge part in our campaign each year, from recruiting past participants to come back again, to engaging and inspiring this year’s Mo Bros and Sistas, and letting our community know how their funds are being put to use in world class programs throughout the rest of the year.
People participate or support Movember for two main reasons – because it’s fun, and because of the important work we do for men’s health. Because of this, we use our emails to inspire, entertain and recognize our community and their efforts. One of Movember’s values is to deliver remarkable experiences, and email marketing allows us to do this. Our Mo Bros and Sistas love being integrated into the Movember brand, which we do through Movable Ink’s image personalization. It’s always great to see the reception of this across social platforms such as Twitter/Instagram where people screenshot and share their personalized image.
In your opinion, what makes an email campaign successful – what are your best practices?
No matter what type of email campaign we’re running, we make sure it always responds nicely and works across all devices, looks awesome and feels like our brand, and it engages the audience.
Great design, even in its most simple form, is crucial, as well as making it clear what you want people to do. We never mislead our audience or “clickbait” them, as we pride ourselves on being authentic and transparent across all our interactions. We perform subject line tests on nearly every email we send, to ensure it’s optimized for each campaign, market and audience.
How we measure success depends on the time of year. During the Movember campaign it’s important that emails are driving participation, donations and information that motivates men to take action for their health. At other times of the year when we are sharing important research break-throughs, challenging the status quo of men’s health, or entertaining, success becomes about how many people open and read the emails. The challenge is in getting the right tempo and the right content for our community.
In the age of social media, why do you think email marketing is still an effective way for a non-profit to reach their audience?
Each social media channel has its value, but given the changes to Facebook’s model over the years, it really is a digital advertising platform now where you have to pay to be seen.
Despite the increasingly competitive and crowded inbox, we still see far more effective conversions and click throughs from our email marketing. It also drives traffic to our site exponentially and is the only channel where we can really tailor the message to our community.
Do you have any advice for other non-profit email marketers?
Look for ways to stand out in the inbox. Ask yourself, would I open/read/act on this if I was a member of the community? If you can’t objectively look at your email and find it important, inspiring or engaging, then your community won’t either.
It’s not too late to support Movember 2015 – sign up at Movember.com, or follow the Movember Foundation on: