Email Turned to a Great Cause

Just in time for the holidays, here’s a simple email marketing campaign to warm your heart.

Most of us know someone who has suffered from breast cancer: a relative, a friend, a coworker, a casual acquaintance. But despite all the research that has been conducted toward conquering this disease, it continues to afflict millions of women worldwide. In the U.S. alone, according to the American Cancer Society, this year about 182,800 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

A number of individuals and organizations are working to fight the disease, some of which might surprise you. The National Football League is one. Its recent Breast Cancer Awareness campaign helped raise $50,000, and a large part of the campaign was based on email marketing.

Donations for Page Views

On October 24, 2000, the NFL pledged a $5 donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for every page view recorded that day in the “Fight the War Against Breast Cancer” section of NFL For Her on The page featured stories from players, owners, their relatives, and others who had been affected by breast cancer.

To attract individuals to the site, the NFL ran public service announcements during games, promoted the campaign on other sections of the NFL site, and ran an email component.

The email marketing campaign went like this. The night before the event, e-Dialog, the email marketing firm that handles all the email newsletters for the NFL, sent out a customized email message to the more than half a million fans who had registered for the Newsletter and asked to receive NFL-related information.

The message announced the NFL as a sponsor of the Komen Race for the Cure., and it pointed readers to the NFL For Her site, noting that it would pay $5 for each visitor, up to $50,000, to the Komen Foundation.

Now, keep in mind that no football information was offered; the message was devoted solely to raising awareness of cancer. And the email message was simple. Along with the text, it had one link to the NFL For Her site, a link for forwarding the message along to others, and a handful of links direct to stories from NFL players, including Jamal Anderson and Kordell Stewart.

Impressive Reach, Impressive Results

“We were astounded by the results,” says Lauren Pasquale, a spokesperson for NFL New Media, noting that the NFL For Her page got more hits that day than the front page did, garnering more than 3 million impressions. Plus, a record 1.75 million unique users logged on to that day.

In fact, of the 550,000 newsletter subscribers, nearly 37,000 fans clicked through somewhere on the email, and more than 22,000 people clicked on the cancer awareness link to enable a donation. Plus, 7,000 subscribers took advantage of the viral component and forwarded the email along to someone else.

If you missed the campaign this year, you may see it again next year because Pasquale says her organization will continue to work with the Komen Foundation and another, similar campaign may appear in the future.

On a personal note:

I participated in my first triathlon this past summer, the Danskin Women’s Triathlon Series, which donates a portion of all entry fees received to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Team Survivor members spoke to the other participants the day before the race, and it was quite inspiring. One of these women mentioned that the previous year she had been like us — a member of the audience. Then several months after the race, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I hope to see her and other survivors of breast cancer at next year’s race in Denver. The efforts of such organizations as the NFL make this more likely.

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