Last Minute Strategic Year-End Email Appeal Tips
Despite rumors to the contrary, email is still going strong and shows no signs of weakening. Recent data from the
Here are the top 5 questions I hear from folks struggling to create and sustain vibrant email programs:
- What are top tips for writing email that gets opened?
- WHO it’s from. People open email from folks they know. Write from a person; not a company.
Some folks think the ‘from’ line is more important than the subject line. You want the email to come from a person or brand your targeted reader knows and, ideally, likes. Often this will be the E.D. It could also be another beloved staff member (Perhaps… the volunteer coordinator? A teacher? A doctor on staff?).Even when you have a trusted brand, you’ll likely get a better response from the person at the brand. Especially if folks have come to know you, know you’re funny/warm/interesting, etc.
- WHAT it says in subject line. People respond to a compelling/attention-grabbing subject line. Exciting, emotional, without being misleading. And the more useful and specific it is, the better.
And the winner is…
You are not alone… (this is the all time most winning subject line).
Double your money… (great for challenge grants).
Respond by midnight… (deadlines work)
This is like the outer envelope for direct mail. The point is to get your email opened. There are many tips out there with suggestions (I googled email subject lines and got 13,400,000 results), but remember to always test this for yourself (ideally you’ll do a pre-test by randomly dividing a subset of your list between two subject lines; then tracking which gets the most open rates). It’s not just what you say; it’s how many characters it takes you to say it. The standard before the advent of mobile technology was 70 characters. Now it’s 40 characters. So… be snappy! But be careful of exclamation points and all caps, as it tends to send your mail into spam folders.
Note: If you happen to use MailChimp they have a new free tool to test the strength of your subject line (they pay me no money; just giving you a heads-up).
- WHAT it says inside. Don’t send crap. Don’t mislead with the subject line. Otherwise, folks won’t open the next one.
The first sentence or two is especially important as many folks use a preview pane. So keep them consistent with the subject line and assure they reinforce and add to your message. They should be action oriented, and it’s not a bad idea to include a link in the first or second sentence that sends them to the page you want them to take action on.
- How to keep emails out of spam filters?
- Timely, relevant, compelling content. Good content trumps everything else. But if you get a reputation for spamming with junk, then you’ll be treated as spam (in other words, you need a content strategy for all your communications).
- To people who’ve asked for it. Your readers will white list you if they want you. They’ll find you in their spam filter.
- Text email may get more clicks than HTML (e.g., higher deliverability).
- How to build an email list?
- Used to be a pop up form or lightbox [“Do you want to sign up?”]
- New trend is to make the sign-up box for your email list ridiculously prominent (e.g., BIG and in middle of the screen; See Copyblogger.com for example)
§ Give a reason: Join over 63K smart people today (social proof)
§ Tell me why/what’s in it for me?
§ Give me an incentive (e-books; article series, etc.)
- How to design and format email?
- Consider how your reader will likely be accessing the email (e.g. desktop vs. mobile).
- Test the design across multiple email clients and devices to assure it displays as intended.
- Use images that support your copy; pictures are worth 1,000 words, and use of images helps keep text succinct.
- Avoid attachments and forms that may trigger spam filters.
- Use color judiciously, and consider color psychology.
- How to integrate email with other marketing channels?
- Adopt the Nike philosophy: ‘Just Do It!’ Seriously, you can’t afford to ignore other channels when engaging in any marketing or fundraising campaign. They must all work together. It’s a bit like the old advertising axiom that it takes a minimum of 7 times for a prospect to see an ad before they take action.
- Keep your message consistent across channels. Yes, you may have come up with three different taglines, and they’re all terrific. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can use them all. Pick one. Use it everywhere.
- Include share buttons so folks can share your message from one channel to another.
Are there some email best practices I’ve missed?
Your post offers some really useful advices that I’ll certainly incorporate in my next email marketing campaign. I’m in the education business and I’m buying not creating my email lists. I’m buying them from http://www.principals-emaillist.com/product/school-principals-email-list.html and so far they’ve proven to be very effective and offer quit big return for the money invested.
Thanks Anon. I"ll definitely check out this link. Thanks for sharing!