Marketing Sherpa, as you already know, is one of my most-relied on sources for marketing insights, tips, research results and case studies. Although most of the content isn’t nonprofit-specific, 99% of it is relevant to nonprofit organization and foundation communications.
I sent Getting Attention eyes and ears to the latest Marketing Sherpa conference and learned (or was reminded of) the following "musts" for mass emails, including advocacy alerts and e-newsletters:
- No more than 50-70 words for maximum impact.
- HTML motivates action better than text, even with issues around image blocking.
- Vary messages sent to repeat recipients to minimize annoyance factor.
- Don’t use direct commands in subject line. A phrase like "Give Today" gives prospective donors with the immediate opportunity to delete that message. Get them into the email where they see more background, then make the ask (or the pitch to send an email to a legislator or to volunteer).
- Subject line should be 51 characters or less to be readable without opening the email.
Nothing’s better than clear and concrete guidelines like these. And Marketing Sherpa content is reliable since it’s based on extensive research.
Print this list out and tape it to your monitor. Let me know when you see improved results of your e-mailings.