How to write a killer email strategy: part II

In our last post, we talked about how timing, relevancy, frequency, and content all play their part in making sure your supporter communications strike the right chord and achieve the desired effect. This time we’ll be going a little deeper and looking at some of the technical, stylistic, and design elements which can make or break an email campaign.

The secrets to improving your open rates

We all want higher open rates. According to the most recent metrics, in Australia, the average open rate across all industries is around 33 per cent. But while emails from community-based and not-for-profit organisations tend to enjoy slightly higher open rates than other more commercial businesses, there’s still every possibility that your email will be moved straight to trash – unless you follow these golden rules.

Get your subject line right.

You’ve got limited space to convey your message so it’s important to get it exactly right. Keep it simple (under 50 characters) as straightforward subject lines have a greater chance of being opened. Humour can work when done right too. Draw people in by making it personal through the use of dynamic fields and don’t be afraid to use emojis as visual shorthand – although they should be used sparingly. Remember to tie in your preheader content with your subject line too.

Don’t overlook your sender details.

In our experience, the ‘send from’ name makes a big difference – if the recipient isn’t familiar with or expecting an email from a particular sender, it may be dismissed out of hand. Using the event name rather than the charity name tends to yield higher open rates.

Be strategic about your send time.

As a platform, we see the number of donations peak between 10am and 12pm, and 6pm and 8pm. Keep this in mind when you look at send time as it isn’t the open rates but the outcomes of those open rates that ultimately matter.  Research has also shown that emails sent on a Friday tend to have the highest open rates, while those sent on Saturdays are lower.

Check your technical configurations.

None of the above matters if your send from email address hasn’t been configured for your sending platform. Doublecheck that everything is on track before you press send.

Designing for a mobile audience

The ubiquity of the smartphone has had a massive impact on email marketing.  Analytics show that, over the last five years, mobile phone opens have leapt from around 10 percent to a massive 47 per cent in 2017. In contrast, desktop now accounts for just 25 per cent of email opens. What this means, of course, is that to get the best outcomes you should be designing your email campaigns with mobile responsiveness in mind. This applies to everything from font size to imagery and video. If you’re not technically-minded yourself, all this means is making sure the email client you use has mobile responsiveness inbuilt as a feature (like EverydayHero). Remember too that designing for mobile is about more than just screen optimisation: think about other ways to make the mobile experience as seamless as possible, for example by making content slackable or integrating mobile fitness apps.

Putting the finishing touches on your email strategy.

Once you’ve got to grips with the technical stuff, it’s time to go back over your strategy to make sure you’re pitching your comms exactly right and that you aren’t missing any important opportunities to connect. Here are a few final pointers: Remember the basics. Always ensure that what you’re asking someone to do is in line with how experienced they are as fundraisers. Asking supporters who’ve yet to raise a single cent to contact their local businesses might be a bit advanced for your audience and may actually have the opposite effect. Instead, make it as easy as possible for them to take that first step – pre-write a short paragraph which they can copy and paste and share on Facebook. Celebrate your star fundraisers. When someone reaches their fundraising goal, it’s important to acknowledge that milestone. This could take the form of a weekly email sent to everyone who’s reached their goal over the last week, or it could be as simple as adding a ‘reached goal’ segment to your weeks out from event communications. Recognition plays a huge role in motivating your supporter network. Don’t forget about your fundraisers after the event. Reach out post event and encourage your supporters to recruit final donations, remind them what their efforts can help you achieve collectively and let them know what they can do to keep supporting you (for example, by finding similar events they could take part in to support your cause).