As we reach out to our constituents and prospects in 2017 and years to come, we want to gain more traction with our emails and communications. We’ve shared some tips to help you create emails that will assist you with your communication efforts.

Creating a catchy subject line that lets people know exactly what you are asking is going to decrease your chances of making the trash folder. An example of a not so great subject line could be, “Do you like dolphins?” Many people may not take the time to read an email with such a bland subject line. A better email subject would be, “Donate now to help dolphins avoid slaughter!” This catches the recipient’s attention immediately and provides will entice them to open the email to learn more about how they an help dolphins.

For your greeting, you want to be personal and friendly. hello or hi are the best ways to illicit that friendly, warm tone. The word dear is on the list of spam-trigger words, which may cause your email to not reach its destination. Staying on top of email trends and paying close attention to words that will trigger spam-filters will help ensure delivery of your email communications. Other words and phrases that can decrease your delivery include, subscribe, act now, and visit our website are just few phrases that you want to avoid.

Now that you’ve covered the subject line and chosen a friendly greeting, you’ll want to explore how to ask for what you want. Be as concise as possible. You do not need to write a fluffy email full of information that your constituents do not want or need to read. People are busy, and often they are checking email on their phones. Good emails generally contain fewer than 750 words. What is the most relevant information that you are need to convey? Your email needs to be organized logically and be visually easy to scan. Links to large files or reports are better than attaching large documents. You do not want your email to get blocked because of it’s size, which can be caused by too much content within the body of your email, as well.

After you have completed your ask, share something that is beneficial to the reader. What’s in it for them? How will their contribution to the dolphins be used? Will there be an update on your organization’s efforts? You may want to share this information prior to your ask, that is entirely up to you. Keep in mind, however, that both the are equally important to drafting a strong email. Providing enough information to engage the reader about the benefits of helping the dolphins and asking for that help are both critical to your cause.

Clearly state the action they need to take. If you are asking for a donation, use the words “donate” or “give.” Tie the result to the call to action. Share what will happen if the reader takes action, as well as sharing what will happen if they don’t. An appeal to emotion, a sense of urgency, and clear instructions will compel your readers to act. Using short text blocks and directing people to your website or landing page will give you a better text friendly email and increase your web traffic. Utilizing an email marketing tool in conjunction with your CRM can help you better track which emails are getting more link clicks, where your readers are going on your website and who is donating to your cause.

In addition to just sending emails, you can ask people about their content preferences. You can use surveys to get feedback and include them within your emails and newsletters. Creating a survey through a survey tool, such as Survey Monkey, can help you collect and analyze the feedback from your constituents. It can also be helpful to look at similar organizations and see what content they are sharing. You want to stand out, but you also want to provide relevant content. Keep in mind that seasonal content and holiday communications always have high open rates. As December is the busiest email marketing month, having a strong understanding of what is working with your emails well before December is important. Surveying your constituents and testing your emails should be done throughout the year. You want to know what your readers like and dislike. Tracking key metrics, such as open rates and click through rates, will help you create stronger campaigns throughout the year, helping you wrap up the year with a strong call to action, and hopefully, increased donations.

Emails are better with pictures. The best emails include pictures with everyday people in them. Take pictures at your events, drives or of your programs in action. Avoid stock images as much as possible, because unique images will more strongly reinforce your content. There are web-based tools to help you embed images. We encourage you to take some time to find out what tools will work best for your organization. Keep in mind, some images don’t show well through Gmail, Yahoo, and/or Outlook. You can look at how larger organizations like Amazon send emails to determine what might be best for your organization. Test your emails in Gmail and Outlook if possible to see how the images will look to your constituents. Don’t forget to make sure have permission to distribute the images.

It’s very important in your signature that you identify yourself with your name, company, contact info, and website. Not everyone remembers meeting you or knows who you are. Being authentic is important as it helps to build trust and rapport.

Formatting your text to make it more aesthetically pleasing will also help you gain more traction with readers. If you have information that changes infrequently, you can create email templates that are easy to reuse. This is easy to do in most applications. There are many great email and marketing automation tools available to help you analyze and learn which emails are being opened to help you decide on future content. Pardot, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, HubSpot, and Vertical Response are just a handful applications that are available.

Applying these tips will assist you in creating emails that will have higher conversion rates and will increase your chances that a constituent will participate in the call to action outlined in your email. If your organization is interested in implementing a marketing automation tool, reach out to Cloud for Good today. We can help you evaluate your options and our consultants always have additional tips and tricks to share when it comes to Salesforce, Marketing Cloud, Pardot and other nonprofit needs.

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Christina Moren

Christina Moren

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