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Tips for Improving Email Effectiveness

Email certainly isn’t dead! In fact, it’s still one of the most popular online activities. As Pamela Parker (MarketingLand) suggested in a blog post a while back:

“email may be tried and true, but it’s by no means tired and tame ...despite newer innovations in personal communication like Facebook and Twitter, ...70% of all Americans say they used email today versus 55% in 2002."

If your organization is using email to engage and inform members and donors, here are a few tips to consider.

Thinking about mobile-friendly formatting

“Going Mobile” was one of the 6 Membership Predictions for 2012 that we identified would impact associations, non-profits and membership organizations this year. OK you might say, mobile phones are not new! But the way we use them has changed a lot over the last few years. According to the Pew Internet Project Smartphone Adoption and Usage report,  35% of all American adults own a smartphone and 87% have internet access through this phone. Their research  also found that these smartphone users “mostly go online using their phone.”

Not only are folks accessing the Internet from their phones, but they are also checking email via smartphones too.  Parker quotes research stats suggesting that email opens on mobile devices have increased 150% over the past six months.”

This means that increasingly, your members or donors are viewing their email via their phones – and this has implications on how you format your emails. Here are a few of Parker’s suggestions for ensuring email effectiveness for mobile users:

  • Since mobile webmail access is understandably higher on weekends, think about mobile-friendly formatting for any emails sent at the end of the week or during the weekend
  • Use single-column formatting of emails
  • Avoid font sizes under 10 pt – for easier reading on small screens

Tips for improving response rates

In the post, 7 Reasons Why Your Subscribers Don’t Respond to Your Email, Tamara Gielen (Be Relevant! Email Marketing Blog) offers a brief slide presentation that reminds us why we may not be getting the response we want from emails to members and donors, and also some practical, yet effective tips for improved email response. Gielen's 7 reasons subscribers don't respond include:

    1. They didn’t receive it
    2. They don’t know you
    3. They don’t see why they should open it
    4. They don’t see what’s in it for them
    5. They don’t know what to do next
    6. The landing page is not optimized for conversion
    7. The offer is not relevant

Are you sending email readers away?

While we bloggers like to offer a lot of juicy links for reference and information purposes, a Future Fundraising Now blog post reminds us that "Off-target links lead donors away from giving.”  Blogger Jeff Brooks suggests:

“one of the most common errors in nonprofit e-appeals is this: indiscriminate links. Lots of them. Each one a tempting little rabbit-trail that can lead would-be donors away from action, never to return and complete their gift. ... If someone is actually reading your email (remember, most of your emails don't even get opened), they've taken a step toward action. Every distraction you put in their field of vision increases the chance that they'll continue that action all the way to completion.”

Brooks isn’t suggesting that you refrain from including a link in your call to action (e.g., donate now; respond to this survey, etc.), but bear in mind that links early in your email may take readers away before that all-important response that you desire.

Email is still a great medium for engaging and informing your constituents – if the high response to our monthly newsletters and emails to contributors of our recently launched Apricot Jam resource are any indication!

We hope the above tips help with your upcoming email campaigns. Do you have any other helpful email tips for your membership and non-profit colleagues? Let us know in the comments below.

Image source: Infographic on MakeUseOf

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Published Thursday, 22 March 2012 at 9:44 AM
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