Thursday, January 19, 2012

Improve Your Email Campaigns

Step 74.

Image of Email IconAs of today, the use of email to acquire donors is not as successful as using email to cultivate donors in order to grow their value to a particular cause.

Unless the donor requests otherwise, the best way cultivate an Internet donor is a blend of offline and online communication.

Here is a Baker's Dozen of best practices for Email campaigns:

1. First, get permission. SPAM just gets people mad.
2. Use people’s first name in the email, it makes the communication more personable.
3. Create a special email group that donors can opt into, which will comes from your charity's executive director / President.
4. The campaign is all about the offer, put the offer in the subject or headline.
5. What you put in the subject line must be compelling, don’t use ALL CAPS or the word FREE, cause it will be blocked my spam filters.
6. At the top of your email, ask recipient to add your organization's email address to ensure that is does not get zapped by their spam filter.
7. Send people to a landing and/or jump page of your Web site, specifically for the offer.
8. Put a link to your landing page at the top and bottom of the email.
9. Be aware of the email verses Web site mindset. People behave differently when they read an email as opposed to a Web site, just as we adjust expectations when we walk into a McDonald’s versus an Outback Steakhouse. In both instances we perform the same functions (reading and eating), but our attitudes, patience levels, and actions are very different.
10. Ask people a question, you want to engage them into a conversation.
11. Include an 800 number so people can call in their response.
12. Put your information in the body of the email and avoid adding attachments. Emails are increasingly dangerous carries of viruses. Plus attachments take time to download and don't translate well on wireless devices.
13. Make sure you have lots of white space in your email by skipping lines between paragraphs and keeping text to a minimum by getting to the point fast. Furthermore, you should use standard capitalization and spelling by avoiding fancy typefaces.

There have been many tests conducted that prove an HTML email out performs a plain text email. There are times, such as in the case of disaster relief situations where a down and dirty text email with a link to a landing page comes across much more personal and real to donors. So keep that in mind . . .

Givers Take Image, I gave as soon as I got your email on my BlackBerry.

Step 75. Use Images That Work

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