Fri, October 03 2008

9 Ways to Fix Bad Email

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   How to improve emails and newsletters •

I’m very excited that my organization, Network for Good, has partnered with Emma to offer a new Email campaign tool.  I won’t use this space to extoll its virtues (though as a marketing person, I have to say there are many), but I did want to celebrate the fact this week with a couple of email posts.

Here are 9 ways to create vastly better emails:

1. Define Your Audience. You could buy an enormous list of cold prospects (WARNING: bad idea!) or focus on a carefully built list of people who care. You’ll do much better with the latter group who has given you permission to communicate with them. No one likes spam. (Some people enjoy SPAM®, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of meat.) 

2. Define Your Message. Do you have the right message and right time for that message? Focus your message on your audience’s interests, aspirations and desires rather than your own need for money. It’s all about “you marketing” versus “me marketing.”

3. Get to the point in spectacular fashion, in the first few words. The subject line of your email needs to seize the audience’s attention. Don’t ever bury the lead. (A good trick that usually works - throw out your first paragraph.)

4. Offer something of value to the reader-helpful tips, for example. Those are likely to be saved, not trashed. People will think of you in a favorable way.

5. Segment and personalize. The more the missive speaks to the receiver as an individual, the more likely they will perceive it as something other than spammy slop.

6. Be different. People are drowning in email. Whether it’s the tone of your message or the startling honesty of your subject line, a standout element is required.

7. Make the call to action so incredibly easy to do, people just can’t say no. Strive for a one-click or one-second level of ease.

8. Make it easy for people to unsubscribe or get off your mailing list. Include an unsubscribe button and an easy way for people to contact you to update their information. It’s convenient, transparent for you and keeps you in line with CAN-SPAM rules.

9. Don’t email donors, subscribers, etc. via Outlook. Ever.  It will get you into trouble.  You need a professional email outreach tool.

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Thu, September 25 2008

Do you have 5 year old or 9 year old marketing?

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

My daughters will illustrate.

I asked them both how they would get someone to buy a toy.

This is what the five year old said:

Mommy can you please buy it?

I said that might not work.  So what would be another option?

She said:

Mommy can you please, please buy it?

The nine year old said this:

First you have to make a good toy.  Because it’s cheap, people will get mad and sue you.
Then you have to tell them all the great things about it and why it’s wonderful.  Don’t make it too expensive.
Then you have to get them really excited by telling them the cool things it does for them.
Make the commercial colorful, interesting and realistic.

So which kind of marketing do you have?

Please, please, please give me money.  Pretty please.  (Repeat often.)

Or: We have really amazing programs, here is why they are interesting and here’s why you should care.

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Mon, September 22 2008

Model website… from the government no less

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Websites and web usability •

I get a lot of inquiries during speeches and here on the blog about good websites.  Which websites do I think are effective?  Who has the right stuff?

These are hard questions to answer, because most nonprofit websites fall prey to “all about us disease.”  They fail to be laser-focused on the audience.  They forget to answer the question “how we can help you?”

Today, I was alerted to a website that does all these things right - and it’s from the government, no less.  Bravo.

The newly launched healthfinder.gov has all the things a home page should: 

-A big engaging visual focal point
-Clear calls to action (in this case, ways to get fit that are easy, clear and rewarding)
-A clear set of benefits for taking action
-Tools that help me
-Clever information-gathering mechanisms for the site owner - they are going to get great audience data from the quizzes on here

The only thing that’s missing is a way to take these cool tools and share them or post them on my blog or Facebook page.  But I’m told they are planning widgets soon.

This is great stuff.  Unlike the dreadful redesigned food pyramid, which I panned in my book, this is health advice I understand and want to use.

Follow this model.  It’s going in my next speech.

health
Hat Tip to Dan Jeffers for the site information.

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Fri, September 19 2008

GREAT branding: Bald Girls Do Lunch

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Suppose you’re creating an organization for women with alopecia areata — the autoimmune skin disease which stops the normal growth of hair on the scalp, brows, lashes and body.  You want to convey that you are about community, support and fun.  You want to make women with this condition feel empowered.  And you want them to be absolutely COMPELLED to join you.

Typical nonprofit approach?

Call it the Alopecia Areata Association.

A brilliant approach?

Call it Bald Girls Do Lunch.

bald

Congratulations Bald Girls Do Lunch on amazing marketing.

PS Full disclosure: I learned about this group when they signed up for Network for Good fundraising services. I work at Network for Good.  When I saw their name, I just had to know who they are.  But this post isn’t about business, in fact they don’t know I blogged this:)  Yet.

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Fri, September 19 2008

Wall Street is tanking, but your ROI is gold.

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

It’s easy to worry the financial crises rocking our markets are going to kill fundraising this year.

Just remember, in an era when Lehman is nearly worthless and so many investments look like they’re offering low returns, you are priceless.

Remind your donors of their amazing ROI with you.

For a few dollars, they get a helper’s high.  They feel good because they did good.  It’s cheaper than therapy.

Their investment in your organization doesn’t yield paper profits.  It changes lives.  Always.

Be passionate and persuasive about your emotional ROI - and your human ROI. 

Those who can afford it will get it and give.

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