Like it or not, it’s one of the mainstays of modern life; the majority of our communication with the general public is done via email.
It’s a hard place to grab people’s attention. How many emails do you automatically delete without even opening them, or as soon as you read the subject line?
So, how effective your email communication is goes a long way to how big your audience is, and that is massively important to the success of your group or campaign.
You know it when you see it. Some eNewsletters just look great, the content jumps out at you, and you find yourself clicking.
Others immediately hit the trash.
Here’s 5 Tips commonly adhered to by the most successful eNewsletters…
1. Put a lot of thought into the “Subject” line.
A fresh and compelling “Subject” line will make your eNewsletter stand out in a crowded inbox. So, make it intriguing, make it funny, make it dramatic.
Don’t get too hysterical, though, or people will come to see you as the Org Who Cried Wolf and probably not open your eNewsletter next month…
2. Use links.
Don’t put the whole story in your actual newsletter body. Post it to your blog. That way the story lives on, and can be used and shared beyond this one eNewsletter send.
In the eNewsletter, insert a nice photo of the volunteer, a compelling headline and just two or three intro sentences about the story, and link to the full story at your blog. (Examples there on the right…)
This way, you stop your eNewsletter from getting crowded with too much text, and you drive people back to your website, which is good, because that’s where all your other content is.
3. Don’t put too much in it.
What stories or content is it really important for your org to get out there right now?
Ideally you want just 3 or 4 main pieces of content, because then you can focus people’s attention on the content you want them to see.
Like a newspaper that puts its main stories “above the fold” (the top half of the front page), the prime territory for eNewsletters is at the top. That’s where your featured content should go. The further down people have to scroll, the less likely they are to click on that content.
Use sidebars or one-line links to include more info, like monthly events.
But make sure you don’t clutter up the prime pieces of content. Your organization should have goals and strategies related to what you are focused on at that moment, and your eNewsletter should reflect that.
4. Make it mobile.
If more than half of your audience isn’t already viewing your eNewsletters on a mobile device, then that day is coming soon.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a programmer to make this happen.
Whether you’re using Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Salsa or some other program for your eNewsletter, make sure you choose a template that is marked as “mobile friendly.”
It will only take you a few moments to set up, and it will serve you well into the future. A stitch in time…
5. Pay attention to the stats.
Your eNewsletter program will keep track of how many people opened your eNewsletter, who clicked on what links, how many people unsubscribed etc.
All this information tells you valuable things about what your audience responds to.
Try different things – lead with a funny subject line! – and see whether that resulted in higher open rates.
Do more people open your email when you send it on a Monday morning, or a Saturday afternoon?
Did you notice that the highest percentage of people clicked on the story that had the biggest photo?
All of this will tell you how you can improve your eNewsletters in the future to get your stuff read by the biggest possible audience.
It can be daunting, I know. But just a few small changes can have a big impact for your organization.
And don’t be hard on yourself! eNewsletters work like baseball batting averages: Open rates of 15 or 20% are pretty good! If you can get 1 in 4 people to read your email, you’re doing great!
Found this useful?
Here’s more from The Hub’s “Handy Tips” Series.