Chances are good that when you open your email box a majority of the messages are of little interest to you. You don’t know who they’re from, they look like junk, or they’re coming from someone who doesn’t interest you enough to compel you to open their message. If you have time, maybe you will. If you don’t, maybe you’ll hit “delete.”
You don’t want your e-appeal to wind up in the trash heap. To avoid this, you need to use the ‘Oh Goody’ Rule.
In Top 10 Tips for Successful Nonprofit E-Appeals I purposely omitted an 11th critical tip – offering readers the chance to guess and win a free review of their own e-appeal. Would you believe no one guessed the answer? Oh, dear! Maybe it’s just so obvious to you all that you didn’t think of it. But, just in case, I’m now even more dedicated to share this critical tenet with you. (And I drew a winner from all the submissions so, if you played, check below to find out if it’s you!) And the answer is…
The “FROM” line.
FROM is at the heart of the ‘Oh Goody’ Rule that gets your email opened. And here’s why I call it that: You want folks thinking “Oh goody! An email from _____. She always has something interesting to say.” Whose emails do you open first? And whose emails do you save for awhile; then sometimes simply delete because you’re pressed for time and they don’t look that interesting?
It can be argued that the ‘from’ line is more important than the subject line because it’s often what motivates people to open the email. Your email should come from a person or brand your targeted reader knows, trusts and, ideally, likes. Often this will be the E.D. It could also be another beloved staff member or lay leader. Even when you have a trusted brand, you’ll likely get a better response from the person at the brand. People give to people, not institutions. If you’re not sure about this, it’s certainly something worth testing!
Think about who the email is coming from before you begin to write. Don’t leave it until the very end. Too often no one thinks about it; then the IT person or the administrative assistant is assigned to “launch” the email. Typically they do one of two things: (1) simply launch the email from a corporate account, or (2) innocently ask “Who’s it coming from?” The first is not so good, because it’s a thoughtless approach. The second is not so good, because it’s an afterthought (and I’ve seen more than one occasion where the appeal was delayed because it took awhile to find a signatory or to create a new “from” email account that would work).
Plan ahead so when your reader opens their inbox they exclaim: “Oh Goody!”
What email appeal sender has elicited your best response?
Related post: Why You May Not Have Time for an Email Campaign
DRUM ROLL: The winner, who’ll receive a free e-appeal review, is Terri Forman with First Graduate. Congrats Terri!
Photo: Flickr, Matt Herzberger