1. Use email marketing software that allows you to track your results
Good email marketing software will track the people who opened your email, as well as who they were. It will also track the clicks on the links in your email, and the email addresses that bounced during your send. Using these metrics, you can begin to refine and test your email strategy. You can work out what is well received by your supporters, and what is not.
2. Make a good first impression
Consider whether it’s better to send your email from a personal or organisational email address. Which will leverage your relationship better? Most importantly, ensure that you consider your subject line. Keep it short to make sure it all displays in any email client (try to keep it to 50 characters or less). Write it before you write the body of your email.
3. Keep your emails brief and to the point
Avoid writing your email as a letter. Put the good stuff up the top where it can be found first. Focus on the who, what, when, where and why. Use bullet points and headlines to make the most of white space, and to make your text easy to skim.
4. Consider your images
Many email clients, including Outlook and Gmail, turn off images by default. This means that the images you put in your emails may not be seen by up to 80% of your audience. You therefore need to ensure that your message can be easily read if these don’t display.
5. Don’t just hit send at any old time
Generally speaking, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday tend to work best for business addresses. Monday is generally a good day to avoid, as it’s often the busiest day of the week as workers return from the weekend.
Fridays, at around 3pm, can also work to your advantage if you have a message likely to provide a positive distraction to an audience that is ready for the weekend!
6. Watch your frequency
If you are fundraising via email, consider how many times you send out information to nurture your relationship with supporters. Compare this to how many times you make a direct ask via email. A good ratio is 3 informational/engagement emails to each direct ask.
7. Segment your emails
You should not be sending every email to everyone in your database. If you are doing this, you’re not personalising your emails, nor making them relevant enough to engage the recipients.
8. Test, test, test!
Test how your email looks. Every email client will treat your email differently. Set up as many test accounts as you can. Set these up in as many different email clients as you can. Look how your email displays in all of these, as it will be different.
9. Finally, make the time to consider your results
If you’re going to the trouble of working on your email strategy, ensure that you take a look at the results. What worked? What didn’t? What can you try next time?