Heidi Baumgartner, M.S.
Communications Director for the Washington Conference.
Collecting email addresses is not enough to ensure effective email communication with your members. Here are some quick tips to help you optimize the design and functionality of your emails.
1. Subject Lines: Choose your words wisely. People quickly scan subject lines before deciding what messages in their inbox to open. Be direct, not clever. Inboxes are cluttered, and people need to know why they should choose to open and read your email. Most emails are viewed on mobile devices, so most people will only see the first five words of your subject line. Make sure the most vital information is placed at the beginning of the subject line. Example: Volunteers Needed: Medical Clinic (Dec. 25-27) Use all capitalized words in the subject line but avoid ALL CAPS.
2. From Name: Your from name should either be your brand name or the name of a high profile person in your organization such as a conference president. Experiment with subject line A/B testing to see what your list responds to the best.
3. Personalization: Merge tags for email name, subject, or body helps increase open-rate. People like to be identified, acknowledged, and thanked. Example: Start the body of your email with Dear <first name of recipient>,
4. Urgency: People respond to a sense of urgency or importance. Keywords to try in the subject line and email body include: Urgent, Just Announced, Important, Alert. But avoid words that sound too sales-y like: Limited Time Only, Last Chance, or vague references to Sign Up.
5. Structure & Design: Use a one-column format such as: image>headline>paragraph>call-to-action. Pick/adjust a color palette that reflects your brand look. Remember, color attracts, black informs. Select a neutral color for better readability of text. Images should extend the width of the copy area (about 600 pixels), and be of high quality. Use divider lines for white space between featured announcements. Text should be a universal font such as Arial and be at least 14 pixels in size for readability on mobile devices.
6. Tone: Write in a friendly, conversational tone. Share important details. Give teasers, and then refer/link to your website or point of contact.
7. Buttons: Clickable buttons and links allow you to track and see what is important to your reader. Make it easy for them to click and respond (on their phone) by using large buttons. By making it easy to take action when you have their attention, you are more likely to see an increase in results.
8. Build Your List: Offer many opportunities for new members, current members, and friends of your organization to join your email list. Integrate a subscription box into your website or Facebook page. Print sign-up cards to be handed out at events, and conduct an email append.
9. Use Groups: Keep a master list of contacts, and then divide the master list into interest groups (women, children, families, students, committee members, specific ministries, etc.) This allows you to send targeted messages to segmented lists when needed. Overall, segmented lists enjoy a 14% higher email open-rate than non-segmented lists.
We hope this helps! Post your questions and comments below.