Tip – Don’t Overlook the Obvious

Note: This post first appeared on 563media.com.

Sometimes we write and deliver email newsletters for clients. One of the most valuable of all email marketing techniques, which I learned by observing this season’s onslaught of political messaging, is that you should always lead with information or an urgent call to action that will get people to open your email instead of trashing it or saving it for later.

For example, if you have a celebrity writing a single issue of your newsletter, you should include that celebrity’s name in your subject line. Better yet, have your celebrity’s name be the Reply-to name on the email itself. (Your email marketing software should allow you to change this Reply-to on a case-by-case basis.)

Examples (assume “Jane Doe” is a famous actress):

  1. Jane Doe <jane@doe.com> – Subject: Kristen, I Need Your Help
  2. Organization You Care About <organization@youcareabout.com> – Subject: Kristen, Jane Doe Is Asking for Your Help

Recently, I received an email marketing communication from a non-profit organization embarking on a huge, multi-year campaign to raise funds and advance research.

The Reply-to name on the email in my In Box was the name of the organization. The subject line contained a number and a few words about the campaign’s progress.

I opened the email because I’d been watching the non-profit’s communications as a kind of case study, to ask myself what I might do to improve their efforts. Much to my surprise, when I scrolled down, I found an embedded PSA video featuring a famous TV star. The star had also signed her name to the fundraising letter, which was written from her point of view.

Had I not been monitoring these communications while wearing my consultant’s cap, this email probably would have ended up in my trash folder, along with all of the other emails and requests for donations or purchases that I receive daily (dozens). I would never have known, from the Reply-to and the subject line alone, that the content of the newsletter contained an urgent note from a celebrity I admire–someone in my age group and peer group, too.

The lesson: 

Don’t be afraid to brag. If you have something brag-worthy to share, think about what you stand to lose by being shy. These little details that you may overlook could lead to lost business or fundraising opportunities.

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