Wed, October 16 2013

How to get people to notice (and love) your emails

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

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Filed under:   How to improve emails and newsletters • Marketing essentials •

Recently MarketingProfs reported that Q2 email open rates decreased 8.3% from Q1 levels. Click through rates also dropped slightly. While the referenced study from Epsilon looked at e-commerce email performance, it’s no secret that it’s getting tougher to break through the noise and ensure readers are opening and acting on your emails. Fortunately, there are things you can do to build a stronger email relationship with your supporters now so that you will have better success when you send those December appeals. Try these tips:


Stand out.
If your emails look like every other message in your supporter’s inbox, you’re making it easy for readers to ignore you. Spend as much time designing your emails for your readers’ inboxes as you spend writing the contents of your email. Create subject lines that make them want to open and read your message, and think about what shows up in the preview pane and from whom your email is sent. No one wants to get an email from “donotreply@thisnonprofit.org”.


Give them something they can count on.
Can your donors count on you for interesting, useful information and updates? Condition your readers to expect amazing stories and new insights about your cause so they’ll look forward to receiving—and reading— your emails.


Personalize it.
One surefire way to bore your supporters to death is to send them all the same, generic emails every month. Your emails must be personally relevant to the reader to grab their attention. In addition to personalizing emails with your reader’s name in the subject line or greeting, segment and tailor your emails to align with their experience with your organization. Treat recurring donors different from those who haven’t given. Send program-specific information to those supporters who have indicated a passion for a particular part of your mission.


Make it mobile friendly.
Over 40% of email is now being opened on mobile devices, so be sure to simplify your outreach, increase font sizes, and make your buttons and calls to action easy to click with a fingertip or thumb. Applying mobile friendly design principles to your emails will make your organization’s messages easier to read and act on, no matter how they’re being read. This will also improve the readability of your emails for older eyes.


Bonus tip: Our friends at Constant Contact have shared some excellent advice on educating your readers about the new Gmail tabs, which some worry may affect open rates. Ryan Pinkham, Constant Contact’s Content Developer, offers sample email copy for you to customize and share with your supporters, along with a pre-designed email template for those of you using Constant Contact. 

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