parkrun uses email marketing to get more people running
How the nonprofit’s team uses Campaign Monitor to build communities through running and increase engagement long-term while leaving time in the workday for other to-dos.
Offering free, timed 5ks weekly to people of all ages, parkrun fosters safe and friendly environments where health and wellness are at the forefront of their overall mission. Using the Campaign Monitor platform, parkrun reaches dozens of countries in multiple languages to motivate parkrunners to keep moving forward.
The parkrun team uses Campaign Monitor to keep their email production process simple so they can stay focused on nurturing their community and encouraging newcomers to their 2,000+ events.
“It’s so easy to explain how the email builder works, which is really big for us, especially in the last year. When we needed to ask a couple of extra staff members to help us when we were really busy, it only took an hour, tops, to teach them how to use it,” Gilby explains.
As part of their email strategy, parkrun heavily relies on beautiful imagery in its emails to showcase community through people running and being together in parks. To do this, parkrun works with photography ambassadors who take pictures at its weekly events. But, when a global pandemic shut down in-person events, parkrun found itself without new images to use.
And one of the main challenges was that parkrun wanted to be careful to not display images from before pandemic restrictions, for example, images not displaying social distancing and mask-wearing. With Free Image Gallery, parkrun has been able to quickly find and use the images needed for its emails without leaving the platform, filling in potentially large gaps within their templates.
“The Free Image Gallery has helped to provide a service to us that we typically would have, but due to circumstances, currently do not. It’s allowed us to keep sending consistent-looking emails,” said Gilby.Build an email like this
Campaign Monitor’s Link Review tool also takes a lot of pressure off the communications team. The feature automatically scans every email for broken or outdated links and flags any that it identifies as questionable.
“The Link Review tool makes it really simple to quickly see where I need to update a link, which has been especially helpful since our team typically duplicates sent templates and updates them with new content to save time,” said Gilby.
With this simple tool, Gilby and her team are able to feel confident sending an email and knowing the links are all accurate.Build an email like this
A lasting challenge for many nonprofits is getting individuals who have donated, participated or volunteered once to return again and continue participating in the community and contributing toward the cause.
parkrun mitigates this challenge in part with a timely and highly engaging follow-up email sent to parkrunners shortly after their first event. Using automation, the team can ensure it’s received by each new participant while the experience is still fresh in their mind—without the ongoing manual effort of reaching out to participants at thousands of separate events. This precise segmentation and timely targeting helps parkrun get an impressive 78% open rate for this message arriving at a key moment in a new participant’s journey.
“Our 5k events are on Saturdays, so the automated email goes out every Monday to those who attended an event for the first time. We share a little about what parkrun is about, what they might have seen at the event, and how they can volunteer. It’s a really key email for us because it’s one of the first communications they get from us after they’ve been to an event,” said Gilby.Build an email like this
parkrun has a global community, with participants from a variety of cultures and lifestyles that speak many languages. With audience segmentation and dynamic content, the communications team is able to inclusively engage all of them with relevant messaging—without having to manually build out an unsustainable number of individual versions.
“It can be a challenge having such a wide range of people at our events and trying to communicate the right messages to each of them,” Gilby says. “But having this massive mixture of people is what makes parkrun so special. So rather than having to make numerous copies of emails to try and make each a personalized experience, we can just send one campaign using dynamic content to make unique sends depending on location, language and other factors.”
Dynamic content adapts to the recipient to display a different message, image, or piece of rich media depending on which audience segments they fall into.
Gilby gives one example: “We have a Nordic newsletter that goes out to four of the Nordic countries, but a couple of their stories will be translated. So rather than having to create a new template for every country we’ll just use a dynamic content block to add in the translated ones for the relevant countries.”Build an email like this
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