How to Get Your Donors to Open Your Email Newsletter

This week, let’s look at your email newsletters. A lot of times when we’re writing our email newsletters, and especially those subject lines, it’s like we’re in a fog. Like we’re just going through the motions, like we’re just trying to get it done. We don’t really think about it. So often I see email newsletters titled something like, Weekly eNews From ABC Charity, or Your Monthly Newsletter. Does that inspire me to open it? Nope. It really doesn’t. If I’m a die hard supporter of that organization and I’m just itching for the news, then yeah, maybe I would. But chances are it’s probably just your board members and key volunteers who fall into that category! And the audience you’re hoping to reach is hitting the delete button.

How do you get those casual donors to open your email newsletter? You need to excite them. And guess what? There’s actually proven science out there that shows what people open. That’s what we need to be doing. So here it is: it’s shorter headlines, usually six to seven words, and these are keywords full of impact. They’re coming from that lead story in our newsletter. Please stop saying “This is a Newsletter.” You have to say what’s happening in that lead article using action words. And you want a mix of words – common, uncommon, emotional, powerful. When you’re coming up with content ideas try to come up with anything that’s a how-to or a list. An article like“9 Ways That We’ve Helped Our Community” is going to get higher click rates that “Our Report to the Community“. Now, I know that this is all a lot to learn and keep up with. So guess what? I use a tool.

What do I use? I use a tool put out by the company called CoSchedule. They have a great headline analzyer tool. It’s simple, you type in the headline that you think you want to use and it scores it (out of 100). So this video/email for example, is titled How to Get Your Donors to Open Your Email Newsletter. It scored a 71/100. Typically, I want to make sure it’s at least a 70/100 before I send something out. If I have time, I’ll try to get it a little higher. But if not, I’m happy with a 70/100. After all – I’ve got other things to do. But, I’ve made sure that all the effort I put into creating my newsletter content is realized by having people actually open it!

So that’s this week’s free resource: CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. Check that out. Take the 30-60 seconds before you send something, and put the extra effort in, to ensure your constituents actually open it!