By: Keisha Hartman
How does your non-profit break through the noise?
How do you make sure your emails get into your constituent’s inbox AND get opened?
There are many best practices to consider when building your email campaign using segmentation, timing, and content – but we often forget about the other things that go into email planning.
We’ve put together a quick list focused on design and layout with email best practices to help you from going to spam:
Create a Powerful Subject Line
Even the most engaging emails about your non-profit will be worthless if they don’t get opened—and that’s why your subject line is so important. Here’s how to write a powerful subject line:
- Ask a Question – Give your audience a reason to pause and think about what your question to increase the likelihood of an open
- Focus on Length – Keep it short, ideally under 50 characters
- Express Urgency – Let your audience know that time is of the essence using words such as “urgent”, “now” and “important”
Choose a Recognizable “From” Name
Use a “From” name your subscribers will recognize. This could be your CEO, Major Gift Officer, or organization name. Consider using both: CEO from Organization. Your email should also be signed by a person, not your organization or a logo.
Use a Branded “Reply” Email Address
Your “Reply” email address should be an email that is checked often so your organization can reply to an inquiries in a timely manner. Consider have separate emails depending on who is sending the email, example firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Utilize Preheader Text
The preheader is the line of text that appears beneath the subject line in the mobile inbox. Most mobile inboxes display 75–100 characters, but focus on the first 5-8 words to catch the reader’s attention and entice them to open.
Optimize for Mobile
With the majority of emails opened on a mobile device, it’s important to consider how the email will look on mobile. You can consider a fix-width email that will look good on any device or create a mobile responsive template that will size accordingly. Here are some quick tips:
- Enlarge your links and any other buttons you want readers to click on by at least 57×57 pixels
- Resize your images for mobile devices
- Use a single column layout
Make Your Emails Scannable
People are inundated with hundreds of emails each day and most rarely take the time to read an entire email. If your subscribers were intrigued enough by your subject line to open your message – it should be clear what the call-to-action is.
On average, emails with 250 words or less receive higher click-through rates. Clear headlines, call-to-action buttons, bullet pointed lists and links can all help increase scanability.
Use Alt Text for Images
Even with Gmail now showing images by default its essential that you use alt text with your images. The alt text is what shows in place of the image before the user downloads it. Use alt text to describe what’s happening in the picture and encourage people to enable them or use it to reinforce your call-to-action.
Link All Images
Another thing we often see overlooked is image linking. For many readers, an image is like a target. It draws their eyes and their focus away from the email copy. Link your images and make sure that you are using images to reinforce the copy and call-to-action.
Don’t Use Obscure Fonts
Stick with fonts that work across all platforms, like Arial, Verdana, Georgia and Times New Roman.
Include Contact Information in Your Footer
Your contact information legitimizes your organization, reinforces your branding, and gives your email recipients an additional way to reach out with questions. Items to include:
- Your organization’s name and logo (if applicable)
- Person of contact (optional)
- Phone number
- Physical address
- Email address
- Option to opt-out of emails
- Social media links
In addition to email segmentation and compelling copy, consider these best practices for your next campaign to help increase your open rate. Need help crafting your next email campaign? Contact us for a complimentary consult with one of our senior copywriters and/or strategists.