As we move into the last month of the year, let’s take a quick look at how you can improve your email newsletters and appeals in 2011.
Consider the following email pitfalls. Which of these is your nonprofit guilty of committing?
- You don’t track the results of your emails. How will you know what your audience respond to and what they dislike? How do you know if any of your emails are getting delivered? There are many low cost online tools that can help you track email results.
- You don’t review the results of your emails. If you do track your email results, make sure you take a look at these after each and every email send. Are your audiences still opening your emails? How many people are unsubscribing as a result of each send?
- You don’t target and segment your emails. Everyone in your audience receives the same email. This means that you can’t personalise emails, nor target your messages based on audience segment, which means that what you’re sending out is likely engaging no-one.
- Your email is written like a letter. Direct mail and email are different genres. You need to sharpen your typing fingers and focus on subheadings and bullet points in order to make your emails easy to skim. You should also be aiming to keep the email content under 300 words, and to ensure that your main content is above the page break.
- You fall in love with your own images. Images can be fantastic emotional drivers if they are relevant to your message. If they are not relevant, they all too often detract from the message that you are trying to convey. Don’t be afraid to experiment with limited images in your emails.
- You don’t use alt tags in conjunction with your images. Many email programmes disable images by default, which means that your audiences will not see the images that you have spent a lot of time selecting and incorporating into your message. Enable alt tags behind each image, so that your audiences still receive your core message.
- You don’t vary or consider your subject lines. Sending an e-newsletter out with the same subject line each time is guaranteed to make your readers yawn. Write your subject line before your message, as if your audiences don’t even open your email, they wont’ get to see the body text that you spent hours creating and refining.
- Your call to action is at the bottom of the email. At least one call to action should be above the page fold to prompt action, and this should be echoed in the middle and bottom of your email as well. Consider making each image a call to action, and incorporating a call to action in your subject line.
- You don’t clean up your email bounces. Repeatedly sending email to deactivated or nonexistent email accounts will get you marked as Spam, and your emails will eventually stop being delivered. Ensure that you have a programme in place to contact constituents with bounced email accounts. Could you send them an SMS to prompt them to update their details?
- You send your audiences an email every day of the week. The frequency and relevancy of your message is key to achieving engagement and conversions by email. Aim to email your audiences no more than once a week, and no less than once a month. This way, you won’t appear to be Spam, and nor will your constituents forget about you.
Are you making any of the above mistakes? If not, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself! If so, what moves are you thinking of making to address these?