20 ways to improve your emails

Here’s a useful checklist for email fundraisers, from the Hubspot Marketing Blog: 20 Email Best Practices That Actually Drive Results. It’s aimed at commercial emailers, but most of the hints work for fundraising too.

  1. Don’t purchase contact lists. It’s basically paying to be labeled a spammer.
  2. Avoid using ‘No-Reply’ in the sender’s email address. Let your recipients talk back to you in the way they prefer!
  3. Stick to fewer than three typefaces.
  4. Optimize the email’s preview text. It can work with your subject line to improve open rates.
  5. Include an email signature.
  6. Clean your mailing list regularly.
  7. Keep the main message and call-to-action above the fold. Don’t hide them under a giant logo or photo.
  8. Personalize the email greeting. Writing writing to people. Say hello to them.
  9. Keep your email between 500 and 650 pixels wide.
  10. A/B test your subject lines and calls to action. It’s not what you assume it will be surprisingly often.
  11. Include your logo.
  12. Name the offer in your subject line.
  13. Allow recipients to subscribe to your newsletter. Your best emails may be forwarded to new recipients who aren’t subscribers yet.
  14. Write compelling (but concise) subject lines. 30 and 50 characters is best.
  15. Create automated emails for opt-ins.
  16. Closely tie emails to landing pages. Sending those who click to generic landing pages costs lowers overall response.
  17. Conduct a five-second test. Can someone (other than you) tell within 5 seconds what your call to action is?
  18. Make it personal. Make it about your reader. Not about yourself.
  19. Include a clear CTA.
  20. Follow up. Sending just one email asking people to do something is almost not worth doing.


Comments

2 responses to “20 ways to improve your emails”

  1. curious re “Clean your mailing list regularly.” – what specifically do you suggest? the cost per email is so low, what are the main benefits?

  2. curious re “Clean your mailing list regularly.” – what specifically do you suggest? the cost per email is so low, what are the main benefits?

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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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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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