Great emails, great results

by Jini Stolk

Speaking of emails. I said in a recent post that “good online fundraising rests on a very firm basis of excellent email capture and communications” so I think it’s only fair to say a few words on how to do that in our new CASL age.

Dunham + Company has been sending out a lot of useful information on this topic. I know it’s useful because I see many companies making the mistakes they warn against.

Getting people to sign up to your mailing list is all about building a relationship that leads to audience loyalty and donations. The first step, in their opinion and mine, is an email sign-up form that’s as simple as possible (requesting first and last name and email address only, requiring one click to complete); this stops people from abandoning the sign-up process. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one with a low annoyance threshold. Secondly, tell people what they’re getting into up- front, as specifically as possible: “a monthly email featuring behind-the scenes interviews and background on upcoming shows” is better than “our newsletter.” Finally, tell them what to expect once they sign up: “Thanks so much for joining our list. You’ll be receiving our ‘Behind the Scenes’ newsletter, with information on the artistic team working on our exciting new production, in the next few weeks.”

Next, getting noticed in the incredibly competitive inbox world, which we are all now painfully aware of. First Do_Not_Use_An_Alias, or “do_not_reply”, in your “From” line. I’ve often found myself with my finger on the delete button until I glance down and see that the message is from a company I want to hear from. Be as personal as possible in your message and your “To” line: the open rate increases.

From there to getting a donation? A simple form, smartphone capability, content that inspires – the U.S.-based Camp Rising Sun created the most fabulously inspiring infographic I’ve ever seen for their recent, wildly successful online fundraising appeal – and a clear, reassuring, security statement. That sounds right to me.

Adam Thurman from Mission Paradox talks about the importance of carefully planned and compelling content that people will want to read, and quotes a McKinsey and Company study that found that “E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined“.  He’s been offering an intriguing, three and half month active and interactive online course The Paradox Guide to Great Email Marketing that he’s planning to repeat in the near future. I’d love to hear feedback from anyone who signs up: at $99, it’s affordable.

Other Sources: Signing up for Patron Technology’s white paper on “The Top Five Ways to Build Your E-Mail List” will, no doubt, get you onto their email list but if you’re looking for a new data management system it might be worth it.

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