How can I increase open rates? Any ideas Emily? Introducing Ask Amy’s Friends | npENGAGE

How can I increase open rates? Any ideas Emily? Introducing Ask Amy’s Friends

By on Jun 13, 2012


Introducing Ask Amy’s Friends!  For close to two years, I’ve been sharing my take on peer-to-peer fundraising.  It’s been so fun to share my random fundraising thoughts and anwser your questions. I’m super excited to share and expand my blog with three fabulous co-workers and friends. Now you’ll be  inspired with more fresh, fun and fearless ideas. Take it away Emily!

A lot of my clients have questions about email campaigns. They are striving to get the best open rates, click-though rates and conversions from every email they send.  Clients always want to know, what’s the best way to increase these statistics?  My response is always the same – Start with the Subject Line!

If your email was not opened or read, your efforts were wasted, your message was not heard, and action was not taken. Recipients filter their inboxes faster than ever before, deciding whether to delete or read an email just a half second after reading the subject. The best email subject lines are short, descriptive, and provide the reader with a reason want to open your email.

Keep a few things in mind when writing your subject line:

1. Avoid telling your recipients what to do.
In the content of your email you should always have next steps, but in the subject line, telling a recipient what to do gives them the easy option to just delete before opening.  Keep this in mind when you are making an ask.  Words like register, help, or donate are great “call to actions” in the body of an email, but can turn off readers in a subject line.  Instead use subject lines that give personal value to the reader.  Example: “Will you be crossing the finish line with your friends this weekend?”  is better than “Register for the Walk-A-Thon this weekend”.

2. Describe what’s in the email
Subject lines should convey the content and purpose of your message. Again you want to focus on personal value.  Example:  A monthly newsletter may typically have the same subject line “ABC Hospital Insider” try instead pulling out content from one of your articles “You’ll feel right at home in the new South Wing”.

3. Keep it short
The general rule of thumb in email marketing is to keep your subject line to 50 characters or less.  They should be able to view the whole subject line in their preview.

4. Test! 
Testing components of emails can give you a great deal of insight into your readers. Subject lines are easy to test and you can see results in a short period of time.

Don’t let your subject lines be an afterthought.  Always be thinking about what you can do to inspire your readers to open the email.  One last thought on subject lines – make sure you use a familiar Sender (from) name.  Before readers get to the subject line they are going to make sure they know who the email is from.  Pick a Sender (from name) that is recognized by all readers (your organizations name) and stay consistent.


Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *