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How to create an effective email campaign

Social media may be a great way to reach new and existing supporters, but email is still the best way to communicate with them.

Why? Because, by giving you their email addresses, people are saying that they actively want to hear from you. Though your audience may be receptive to your emails, here’s how to ensure your email campaign is really effective.

Things you'll need

  • A test email to measure the success of your subject line and call to action.
1

Subject lines are important

Your email will be one of many that your reader will receive that day so make sure that it stands out from the crowd. There is always the temptation to be clever in your subject line to entice the reader to open it, but research shows that most people just want you to describe what they can expect to read in the email.

To see which subject lines work best for your audience, why not A/B test them? A/B testing, sometimes called split testing, means comparing two versions to see which performs better. Show two emails with different subject lines to representatives of your audience. The email opened most often is the one you will want to use.

2

Can your email be read on a mobile?

Most people will open your email on their mobile phone, so be sure it is designed with a mobile in mind. This means using images that are not too big and load easily, buttons are large and are easy to click, and the copy is succinct. Here’s how to ensure your email design is responsive. 

3

Tell your story

One thing that charities do really effectively is tell a story – whether it’s their own or one of their supporters or beneficiaries. Hook people in with the first sentence by telling a compelling story and make sure your call to action is in the first paragraph. 

4

Have a clear call to action

With the content of your email, you'll usually be encouraging people to take an action – whether it’s making a donation, signing up to a fundraising event or reading a blog post. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap that many do by asking your readers to do too many things. When you give people fewer options in the call to action, you make it easier for them to actually take the action that you want.

5

Integrate social media

If you’re running an integrated campaign, make sure that you're telling the same story and using the same images across your social media channels. People who read your email, and then see your posts on Facebook or Twitter, will be reminded of the campaign and the need to take action. You can use social media to tell more of the story, but make sure that the key messages are the same.

6

Measuring success

It’s important to set key performance indicators (KPIs) for how you expect the campaign to perform – at the beginning of your planning process and not as an afterthought. Define what success will look like, as well as how you will measure it. Your email service provider (ESP) will be able to show your email open rates and click-through rates. If you’re using links in your email, make sure you create a UTM code or a bit.ly link to measure clicks.

Both Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights will show you how well your tweets and posts performed. Make a note of what worked well, and what didn’t, so that you can improve on your next campaign.

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Page last edited Oct 19, 2017 History

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