This is Why No One Reads Your Newsletter - Updated March 2014

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Information about This is Why No One Reads Your Newsletter - Updated March 2014

Published on March 21, 2014

Author: heresmychance



You run a nonprofit and faithfully send out your newsletter once a month to donors, funders, volunteers, and a variety of other stakeholders.

Unfortunately, there’s one major problem in your email strategy…no one is reading your newsletter!

Dave Gloss and Lansie Sylvia from Here’s My Chance review the best techniques for email marketing and communication in 2014. We share success stories, highlight key strategies, and give real-world examples to help you increase your open rate and engage your base.



Creative Agency for Good

WHO IS HMC? •  Founded in March 2011 •  Here’s My Chance (HMC) is a “creative agency for good” •  HMC empowers organizations to capitalize on the influence of community, content, and social impact •  Using our creativity to make a positive impact on the planet is a core mission and part of our business model

Dave & lansie •  DAVE GLOSS •  Co – Founder and CEO •  Avid Meditator •  Creative Strategist • •  @davidgloss •  LANSIE SYLVIA •  Director of Engagement •  Ampersand Enthusiast •  Fundraising Maven • •  @fancylansie

ELLIOT COWAN •  Creative Director of Here’s My Chance •  Very British •  Masters in Industrial Design •  Soccer fan, tea drinker, sneaker addict, swimmer, street art fan

WHAT will we talk about? •  How you should think about an e-newsletter & why you need it! •  Content delivery •  The little details (subject line, titles, who is it from) •  Testing & data analysis (sending times, volume, A/B testing, lists) •  Design & templates •  Easter eggs? •  Strategy •  Extra tips & tricks – ta da!!


•  Once you've captured somebody's attention, it's yours to lose. •  Develop a reputation for giving your constituents what they want, and they'll be more likely to read your messages out of habit.

TELL THEM WHO IT’s FROM •  The "From" line is often the first thing people look at when your message arrives in their in-box. •  I believe e-mail should come from a person, not an organization. I use the format "First Last, ORG."

WORRY ABOUT YOUR SUBJECT LINE •  Subject lines have become even more important as webmail and smartphones have become ubiquitous. •  Try to keep them factual and descriptive of the content of the message. •  Try to avoid going with the first thing that pops into your head. •  For more, Kivi Leroux Miller has great suggestions –

TEST, TEST & TEST •  There's no reason to go with your gut instinct when so many email providers have A/B test functionality built into their dashboards these days. •  And, even if yours doesn't, it's worth the effort to build your own test lists every now and again, especially for your most important messages.

TRAFFIC VERSION A VERSION B 20% Conversion Rate 25% Conversion RateWINNER

TRY PLAYING WITH SENDING TIMES •  People are most likely to look at a message when it pops up on their screen with little competition. •  Industry standard is people look at messages just before they go to lunch, just after they get back, and just before they head home. •  There is even a theory that Saturday morning is the best time, too! •  Look when you get things sent to you from your newsletter subscriptions.

SEGMENT YOUR LISTS Even if your organization is focused on a single issue, cross-sections will respond differently to your messaging in spite of their shared interest in your mission.

•  Segment people by: •  Job type •  Organization •  Gender •  Activity level (number of events attended, messages opened, etc.) •  Subject line can be different or even change the entire message. •  Social media has taught people to expect a more personal experience.

VARY YOUR MESSAGE VOLUME •  Some of your constituents will want to hear from you MORE often than others. •  Some of your constituents will want to hear from you LESS often than others. •  If someone attends lots of your events and opens all of your emails it is an opportunity to contact them more often. •  Look for the best opportunities to reach out to the unengaged.

DATA IS KEY. USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! •  You need to keep track of how often your subscribers want to hear from you. •  Which subject lines work best? •  What time is the most effective? •  If you don’t pay attention and look over your data you won’t be able to improve.

•  This goes back to the whole "deliver content people want to read" idea… •  If your constituents know that your message will just ask them to donate again, they'll likely get tired of it. •  Mix it up! •  Send out important news, a free offer, a cool conversation happening on your Facebook page. •  Build a relationship with your members. Don't always ask for something

•  A nice, clean, easy-to-read and understand template can make it more likely that your subscribers will want to open your message. •  It is good to have multiple templates that have different functions, such as… •  Latest News (1 large picture and article for special events) •  General Email (multiple pictures and stories) •  What’s been happening (summation after events) DEVELOP A GOOD EMAIL TEMPLATE

INCLUDE SOME “EASTER EGGS” •  It helps to find out how many people are reading emails all the way to the end. •  It's okay to include fun links in your messages; bonus points if you can make them relevant to the content. •  Vary the placement, so they'll have to at least scan your entire message to find them. •  This is just another form of engagement, and engagement is the name of the game!

DEVELOP A STRATEGY •  It's one thing to try a few of these suggestions to boost your open rates, another to plan it out. •  Lay out a plan. •  Implement it. •  Record the results. •  Tweak the plan. •  Try again. •  Treat your subscribers well and they'll reward you by actually reading the messages you spend so much time putting together.

BONUS TIPS – TA DA! •  CLEAN YOUR LIST! - It's more important to have an active, engaged list than a big list that never does anything. •  PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS – It’s the same as the ads that are on your screen after you’ve visited a store online. You can do the same.

UPCOMING events & webinars

Questions? Elliot Cowan Creative Director @hmctwit

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