Email Strategy: Why The Sky Isn’t Falling and Your List Deserves Respect


January 29, 2015

How’d your last email do? What was your click-through rate? How many people opened it or unsubscribed? Most importantly, are you actually tracking any of those numbers? And for what goals?

Most email marketing software is going to allow you to track this information fairly effortlessly, but these aren’t the only metrics to keep track of. If your email list is large enough to meaningfully segment, are you A/B testing your content and calls-to-action? What about your landing pages?

Email marketing in 2015 is only going to get harder as more campaigns, non-profits, and retailers get better at capturing the average person’s attention. So this begs this question: How are you going to stand out?

 

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Answer: You won’t

Not at first, anyway. There’s no one email that’s going to be a panacea to all of your problems. No, that doesn’t mean your hard work is entering a black hole of spam or crammed inboxes.

Building, nurturing, and getting results from your email list is going to take time, effort, and more than a little bit of patience. No matter how powerful the writing is, without an easy to access landing page, and a call-to-action (CTA) that makes it extremely clear what you’re asking of your list, your results will continuously disappoint you. Even if you write the best email that has ever been written, some of your audience will have had a bad day at work and won’t want to read it. Quality is important, but so is an insistence on refining your process.

To find success, you must create a sense of urgency and compel your organization’s members to actually click through to your website and take action.

 

Don’t stop trying

Just because your emails aren't successful the first time around doesn't mean they're doomed. Barack Obama’s reelection campaign famously used “Hey,” as a subject line, which turned out to be the most widely opened email they ever sent. More importantly, of so many incredibly strong messages, “Hey,” stood out the most. But that doesn’t mean that will work for you, or even that would work for them again - the point is finding a unique way to capture your audience’s attention.

Being persistent and staying dedicated to an email campaign calendar will yield results and give you more insights from your members as a whole.

Varying the blasts to your members aids in this. Just asking for money won’t show you what your members’ interests, passions, or willingness to take action are. Get insights about who your audience really is, and why they stick by your organization by tracking the effectiveness of your asks -- whether they are to sign petitions, amplify messages, get in touch with a member of congress, or RSVP for a Twitter townhall or even a real-life event.

 

But don’t try too hard

Give your organization’s members a break. If you’re trying to fundraise, be direct. Don’t tell them that the sky is falling, or that your opponents have struck a CRITICAL BLOW. Most importantly: Don’t lie to raise money.

Treating your organization’s members with respect is important. Use email to communicate with them, and not just serve as another outlet of a press release.

 

Make your takeaways mean something

A powerful email program takes more than time and dedication. A website needs landing pages, petitions, and a database to keep all of your members’ actions organized.

Segmentation and testing have come to be more and more important as email programs reach maturity. Testing a subject line is one thing, but the real prize comes from knowing what kinds of donation asks really work, what landing page formats work, how different petition asks engage your members, and much, much more.

Keeping track of it all in a backend CRM is more important than ever, too. Being able to easily tease out who-took-what-action-where, and what outcomes it created is what it means to organize data.

Even if your audience is small, just remember that they are listening!

When an email is opened, a linked is clicked, and an action is taken, it means you have an audience that supports your message. It may be small to start, but this core group has taken time out of their day to support your work. They want to hear from your organization, and their actions are in support of your cause and mission.

The growth and engagement of your list means that your impact, influence, and ability to drive action will only improve over time.

Interested in hearing more about how Veracity Media can improve your organization’s reach? Fill out the form below, and one of our digital strategists will be in touch!

Let Veracity help you engage, activate, inform, and inspire your community.

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