It happens to even the best organizations. Maybe they sent emails too frequently or the content wasn’t relevant enough, but whatever the reason, every nonprofit has email recipients who stop engaging.
But it doesn’t have to be the end of the road; you can re-engage inactive emails subscribers if you approach them again the right way. Initiating a win-back campaign could be a promising way to get people interested in—and responding to—your organization again.
When you reach out, keep these important points in mind:
Write compelling subject lines. Use words that are proven to create a response, but don’t use words that may get you into trouble with spam filters. Keep it short, but be clear. It can seem like there are a lot of “rules” when it comes to subject lines, but if you follow these best practices, you’ll be on the right track to creating a subject line that screams, “Open me!”
Don’t beat around the bush. The best subject lines are short, descriptive and to the point. If possible, keep your subject line to 40 characters or fewer. Emails with 6 to 10 words in their subject lines have the highest open rates, according to Retention Science.
Avoid certain words. The word “free” can trigger spam filters, especially if it’s the first word in your subject line, it’s followed by an exclamation mark or you write it in all caps. Other words to avoid include “help,” “percent off” and “reminder.”
Support the “from” line. This tells the recipient who sent the email, and the subject line sells the recipient on opening it. If your from line lists your organization’s name, you don’t have to repeat it in the subject line, which frees up space. Recent research shows readers often look at the from line first when deciding whether to open an email, and then the subject line.
Change it up. Newsletters tend to start with high open rates, but eventually they fall. Repeating the exact same subject line for each newsletter makes the open rate drop even faster. Your newsletter’s subject lines should always reflect what’s inside, not simply state, “April newsletter.”
Urgency drives action. If it’s appropriate, set a deadline: “Register by Friday,” or “Send your gift today.”
Pay attention to HTML design best practices. Here are a few things to do when designing your emails.
Minimize images. Even though images will engage your readers, limit your use of images to no more than 30% of your email template. Images won’t load in the large majority of email service providers.
Use alt and title text. Because your images may not load, be sure to apply both alt and title text behind the images so that text displays when the images don’t show up. Make the text a compelling call to action and make the image a link to your email landing page or website.
Make your maximum email width 600 pixels. It may not display in the email preview pane if it exceeds that.
Don’t trap calls to action in an image. As tempting as it may be to use graphic buttons or links in your HTML email, be sure to not trap the call to action or any important information in an image. Again, your users may not see the image, and if they don’t, they may not know where to click. All links and calls to action should be text based.
Be sure the email content is relevant. This is huge. If your content isn’t interesting to your subscriber, it doesn’t matter how good it looks; it’ll get deleted in a second. Here are some important key practices for developing your content.
Keep copy short: The more words you include in an email, the less likely someone is to read the full thing or click on the call to action. You also increase your risk of ending up in the junk folder.
Include links: The point of a re-engagement email is to drive users back to your website for useful content, information or to take action. You can increase your click-through rate by increasing link count, and one way to do that is to include navigational links to specific pages on your site. A user may not be interested in the main message of your email, but she may see another link to a section on your website that piques her interest.
Include contact information: You don’t want to distract readers from your call to action, but you want to make it easy for them to contact you if they have questions or problems. Including contact information also builds trust. Display it prominently.
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