Nonprofit Communications

Email Subject Line Length Does matterWelcome to our Proof Point series—highlighting research findings to use when advocating for the marketing approaches you know are right. 

Email subject line length DOES MATTER, as proven by Mail Chimp’s research on open rates for 200 million emails.

The best email subject lines are short [50 characters or less]…and provide the reader with a reason to explore your message further.

No surprise, as many email readers and browsers cut off subject lines there. But…We’ve all read multiple takes odebating the ideal subject line length, many of which are contradictory. In fact, Marketing Sherpa just released research on open rates for 9,300,000 emails, concluding that:

There’s no relationship between the number of characters in a subject line and whether or not the email is opened.

What’s a nonprofit communicator to do? It’s hard to know what to do when proof points contradict each other like this. So we’ve got to dig into the research or reasoning to learn more. When I did so here, I discovered that:

  • The tests aren’t apples-to-apples: Marketing Sherpa tested read rate, NOT open rate. Read rate is the percentage of email recipients who mark your email as ‘Read’ in their email client [i.e. email reader].
  • Look at the numbers—MailChimp sample size is 22 times that of Marketing Sherpa!
  • Both sources stress the value of results from A/B subject line testing with your organization’s list, over any other research or recommendation. E.g., “it depends.”
  • Size doesn’t matter when you’re targeting well-known recipients and customize the subject line accordingly. MailChimp’s research shows that subject line length is irrelevant “for campaigns whose subscribers were highly targeted. In these cases, readers appreciate the additional information in the subject line.”

So subject length size does matter, except when you know your audiences well and personalize your subject line accordingly. Proof point, sort of! Beware of the black and white.

More Proof Points
Proof Point #1 — Prioritize Websites & Email

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Bonus: Use these proof points to depersonalize decision making, and diffuse conflict. They’re useful when you:

  • Get push back on your recommendation
  • Are hit with a way-off marketing request
  • Choose proaction (do it!), building understanding, engagement and support for your marketing vision and execution. It’s the quickest way I know to establish your in-house expert status.

Nancy Schwartz on May 21, 2015 in Proof Points | 1 comment
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Nonprofit Marketing JobsPost YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

Administrative and Marketing Associate History Theatre (Twin Cities, MN)

Associate VP for News, Communications and Media Duke University (Durham, NC)

Chief Marketing Officer Jewish Board for Family and Children Services (New York, NY)

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Nancy Schwartz on May 18, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 0 comments
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Post YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

Nonprofit Communications JobsAssociate Designer & Query/Segmentation Specialist & Knowledge and Instructional Design Specialist WGBH
(Boston, MA)

Communications Coordinator Envision Unlimited (Chicago, IL)

Communications Manager Justice at Stake (Washington, DC)

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Nancy Schwartz on May 11, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 1 comment
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Relevance RulesThere’s no better way for your organization to get your supporters’ and prospects’ attention (media attention, too) than piggybacking on what’s already top of mind. Your people are already thinking on this stuff, so are far more likely to connect with your campaign than at any other time. Relevances rules!

So, make the most of Mother’s Day—you still have time if you act now. Mother’s Day campaigns are right-things, right-now marketing and I’ve seen some fantastic examples from nonprofits like yours in recent years. Take a look and act NOW:

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Nancy Schwartz on May 5, 2015 in Relevance Rules | 0 comments
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Post YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

imagesCommunications & Political Director, National Organization for Women (New York, NY)

Communications & Program Associate Center for Genetics and Society (Berkeley, CA)

Communications Coordinator The Human Society of Sarasota County (Sarasota, FL)

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Nancy Schwartz on May 4, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 1 comment
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Post YOUR comms job here
—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

helpwanted2Business Development Lead Minds on Design Lab (NYC, DC or Boston)

Communications Assistant Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint, MI)

Communications Counselor Full Court Press Communications (Oakland, CA)

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Nancy Schwartz on April 28, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 1 comment
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Thanks to Beaconfire staffer Jen Boland, who originally published this post here

HWhen Google doesn't show YOUR website in search listings.ey! If your website isn’t responsive or optimized for mobile devices, you should be worried. Because…

As of April 21, 2015, Google has prioritized mobile-friendliness as a key ranking factor in search results. Websites that are optimized for mobile devices will get the highest SEO rankings. Others (like Getting Attention.org, for now) will be penalized in rankings which will decrease your organic search traffic. Here’s how to keep your website traffic coming in through Google:

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Guest Blogger on April 21, 2015 in Web/Tech | 0 comments
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Post YOUR comms job here
—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

keyAssociate Director of Email Marketing, NARAL Pro Choice America (Washington, DC)

Chief Communications Officer, Lift Alliance Austin Children Services (Austin, TX)

Communications & Marketing Coordinator, Tuesday’s Children (Manhasset, NY)

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Nancy Schwartz on April 20, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 1 comment
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julia marleneGuest bloggers, Julia Reich, a designer and brand strategist at Stone Soup Creative and Marlene Oliveira, a copywriter and communications consultant at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity recap their #15NTC session on nonprofit consulting.

At last month’s Nonprofit Technology Conference, we hosted a session on making the move from in-house nonprofit professional to consultant serving the sector. During the session, we combined very short presentations on specific topics with speed-dating style opportunities to ask questions, matching groups with a mix of established consultants in the room. Here are some of our tips and takeaways!

Think about the financial aspects:

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Nancy Schwartz on April 14, 2015 in Nonprofit Communications | 4 comments
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new_job_5-resized-600Post YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

Advocacy & Communications Associate, RespectAbility (Bethesda, MD)

Cause Marketing Business Development Leader, Phil & Co.
(New York, NY)

Communications & Impact Specialist, Institute of International Education
(San Francisco, CA)

Communications Coordinator, The Community Center for Education Results
(Seattle, WA)

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Nancy Schwartz on April 13, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 2 comments
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