20 Jul Getting More from eNewsletters
20 July 2021
By David Allen, Development for Conservation
Josh Spector is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur who runs a company called Newsletters Creators. He recently published a set of practices that will help organizations get more out of their eNewsletters. The practices are taken from his course, Newsletter Accelerator Course, which you can buy for $300.
(If anyone has done this and can share, I’d love to hear about it. If not, I might do it myself to see if it’s recommendable.)
Regardless, these tips were offered free and are worth passing along. The annotations are mine.
1. Resend to people who don’t open it
If you can tell who opened the eNews email (through MailChimp or Constant Contact), then you can tell who didn’t. Resend to those people with a subject line like “In Case You Missed It.” Spector claims the second send will add as much as 15% to your open rate. This would match my experience with similar follow-up messages – survey reminders, evite reminders, and so on.
2. Ask a question
In other words – engage. One of the cardinal rules in donor communications is that contact is measured by response. Just sending something doesn’t make it a contact. You know it’s a contact because they respond. This is harder to do electronically, but asking a question is a good strategy. Ask questions about their experience (Have you seen…), relative interests between topics (Which if these…), or even inviting requests for more information, such as planned giving, places to hike, and so on.
3. Write in advance
Spector suggests having several issues of the eNews in reserve for times when you don’t have time to get one out. Predictability is important to holding an audience, and having a couple of issues you can pull off the shelf will help in times when you are crunched with other responsibilities. Or times when you just don’t have the juice.
4. Focus on the benefits
One of the objectives of eNews is to increase subscribers over time. In the paragraph description of the newsletter, where you invite people to describe, include comments about what they will get from it – the benefits, rather than the features. This is where you will find information about…
5. Include a plug for subscribing in the articles
Spector suggests including a overt plug for subscribing within the first few paragraphs of your article posts. This seems like overkill to me, and may even be irritating over time. But I have seen similar overt requests to share eNewsletters and blog posts, and this falls into that same category. Perhaps including something like this every third or fourth issue?
6. Don’t use the phrase “mailing list”
Avoid the temptation to ask people to join your mailing list. It sounds like something that has more value for you than for them. Instead ask if they want to see this awesome eNewsletter every week in their In Box.
7. Use social media to link directly to your sign-up page
Instead of sending people more directly to your current eNewsletter issue, send then to the sign-up page, and give them a reason to sign-up right there – the benefits things again.
8. Publish at least every two weeks and every week if possible
Consistency and predictability. You will want a following that anticipates receiving the information and for whom reading it becomes a habit.
OK – so that’s a pretty good list. So, let’s pile on. What are you doing with your eNewsletter that is working for you? Below are a few thoughts of mine.
(And please subscribe to my blog! You’ll get great tips every week that you can use to help you raise more money.)
9. Avoid overwhelming
You only need one or two short articles. Use hotlinks to help people find more information on your website. I generally keep track of word count for this blog, aiming for 600-800 words each week. That’s plenty!
10. Drip feed your content
Have a story continue with more information and updates over several issues, rather than trying to pile everything into just one story.
11. Lead with engagement
Lead every issue with information about how people can engage, stories about engagement, or testimonials from people who did engage. Make the content as much about people as it is about the organization or even about Nature.
12. Pay special attention to the subject line
Research shows that people make decisions about whether to open the email based on the subject line. The better the subject line, the more people will open it. “August eNewsletter” won’t cut it.
What can you add?
Please add your ideas in the comments below.
Cheers, and Have a great week!
PS: Your comments on these posts are welcomed and warmly requested. If you have not posted a comment before, or if you are using a new email address, please know that there may be a delay in seeing your posted comment. That’s my SPAM defense at work. I approve all comments as soon as I am able during the day.
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