5 email “worst practices”

We’ve been raising funds with email for a lot of years now. We’re learning a lot, though you might not see evidence of that learning in you inbox.

Want to raise money by email? Check out this post at the Hubspot Marketing Blog, at Is Email Marketing Dead? No, But These Practices Are:

  1. Impersonal subject lines. Generic subject lines like “March E-News” don’t get the open rates you want. Make it clear you’re connecting with a living person through their inbox. Make it about something. Use their name. Be interesting.
  2. Ignoring GDPR standards. That’s the law in the European Union for marketing email. It’s mostly about having clear permission for emailing someone. We don’t have laws like this in the US, so you may think if you don’t have donors in Europe you can ignore it. Nope. You should at least act like you are GDPR compliant because it’s good for you donors!
  3. Using templates that aren’t mobile-friendly. A lot of people read your email on their phones. Make sure they can read your emails there!
  4. Poor email design. That means your call to action is clear and easy to see. That it’s visually interesting. That there aren’t pointless distractions. And the load time is fast.
  5. Not strategically using metrics. Pay attention to how people are interacting with your emails. Emails give us a lot of metrics. Learn from them.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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