02/22/2024 Digital, Marketing and Public Relations

Email Marketing Basics: Harnessing the Power of Direct Communication

Email app icon

Email remains a mighty tool for nonprofits and small businesses. Its ability to directly connect with an audience, coupled with its cost-effectiveness, makes it an invaluable asset, especially when resources are limited. But while email marketing may seem simple – “All you do is hit send, right?” – there is a method to making your efforts effective. We’re about to let you in on that secret formula!

P.S. Want to streamline your email marketing process? Download our FREE Email Marketing Send Checklist.

Understanding and Engaging Your Audience

At the core of successful email marketing lies a deep understanding of your audience. This familiarity is crucial for crafting messages that not only reach but resonate with recipients. 

I know we just covered this, but it’s worth repeating! Email marketing is more than writing an email and hitting send. It’s about creating a narrative that engages, informs and inspires action. When your content aligns with your audience’s interests and organizational goals, you set the stage for meaningful communication.

The Art of the Subject Line

Crafting an engaging email subject line can significantly impact your campaign’s success. These simple guidelines will keep your subject on track:

  • Keep your subject under nine words and 60 characters.
  • Use no more than three punctuation marks.
  • Incorporate action phrases. 
  • Add a relevant emoji to capture attention.

Using numbers and questions can also help grab your audience’s attention. Statistics reveal that subject lines with questions can boost open rates by 50%, and those with numbers see a 17% increase. 

Designing for Today’s Digital Landscape

We know the importance of mobile-friendly website design…but what about emails? The data says it’s time to optimize for inboxes. With 46% of all emails opened on mobile devices, mobile-friendly email design is a must. 

Emails not optimized for mobile are often deleted within three seconds or…worse… lead to a 15% unsubscribe rate. Ouch! 

Your email design should facilitate easy reading and interaction on any device, ensuring your message is received as intended. Email marketing platforms, like our preferred platform, Mailchimp, offer mobile views while drafting so you can preview and perfect your format.

The Power of Personalization

Personalization in email marketing goes a long way, with 71% more engagement from individuals who receive personalized communications. Nonprofits and small businesses can make emails more dynamic by tailoring them to reflect the recipient’s previous interactions with your organization. For instance, if someone has donated once, invite them to become a monthly supporter. 

You could also experiment with audience segmentation, tailoring your message and keywords for clients vs. donors vs. the general public. This approach is 200% more likely to yield clicks, as it speaks directly to the recipient’s behavior and interests. AI tools can be a great help in this process.

Below are three short ChatGPT prompts designed to help write an email for clients, donors and the general public, focusing on a hypothetical scenario where a company or organization is launching a new initiative.

Email for Clients

“Compose an email to clients announcing a new service, [ INSERT NAME OF SERVICES ], that enhances their current offerings. Focus on highlighting the direct benefits to the client, such as [ INSERT FEATURES HERE ]. Emphasize how this initiative is a response to feedback and a commitment to meeting their needs. Include a clear call-to-action inviting them to contact our team to learn more about the new service.”

Email for Donors

“Draft an email to donors introducing a new service, [ INSERT NAME OF SERVICE ], that their contributions have helped launch. The tone should be appreciative and inspiring, emphasizing the impact of their donations and how this initiative aligns with the mission they are passionate about. Highlight specific goals and the expected outcomes of the project to build excitement. Conclude with a heartfelt thank you.”

Email for the General Public

“Create an email for the general public announcing the launch of a new service, [ INSERT NAME OF NEW SERVICE ], aimed at improving community well-being. The message should be informative and engaging, designed to raise awareness and generate interest among a broad audience. Use clear, accessible language and include compelling reasons why this initiative matters to everyone. Encourage readers to learn more about the organization/business and service by visiting the website for more information, showcasing this as an opportunity for community involvement.”

Answering the Call to Action

Your email’s call to action (CTA) is your direct line to engagement. Changing the text in your CTA button from a second-person viewpoint (“Get Your Guide”) to a first-person POV (“Get My Guide”) can increase clicks by 90%. This subtle shift in perspective can significantly affect how your audience responds.

Calls to action can be as diverse as your needs. The following are some popular calls to action:

  • Connect with us 
  • Donate now
  • Sign up
  • Get our newsletter
  • Share your feedback
  • Leave a review
  • Register today

Factor call-to-action placement into your design phase. Make sure the CTA is clear and easy to see/interact with. Place it as a sentence at the top of your email and again as a button at the bottom. 

Timing and Metrics: The Science Behind Success

Timing is key in email marketing. While the ideal window for sending emails is often between Tuesday and Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there is variation per industry and audience.

For example, mobile viewers tend to be more active in the evening. If you’re in the entertainment industry, a Friday send could be perfect for people looking for fun weekend plans. And, of course, there’s the classic groupings of morning people vs. night owls. Experimenting with different send times is important to determine what works best for your recipients.

Equally crucial is analyzing your email campaign’s performance. Pay close attention to metrics like open, click-through and conversion rates. These indicators help you understand your audience’s preferences and how they interact with your content.

Pro Tip: Repurpose your email content across multiple platforms to maximize its reach. Share your email content directly to social media, write a blog post around it or create a video. This approach not only extends your reach but also reinforces your message across different mediums.

Ready to Take Your Email Marketing to the Next Level?

Download TRIO’s Email Marketing Send Checklist now to ensure every aspect of your email campaign is optimized for success. Have questions? Needs professional creative assistance? Our full-service agency can help your brand shine. Contact us to learn more about our marketing, event and web solutions.

Caroline Hendry

Caroline Hendry

Digital Marketing Specialist

©2024 TRIO, All Rights Reserved