Agilon Email Best Practices

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Presented June 27th by Amanda Miller, Marketing Manager, Agilon, LLC.

This session provides actionable advice about email including data from recent research. It covers:
* Testing
* Subject Lines
* Delivery Date & Time of Day
* Content

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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  • Relevance depends on your audience & your goals.Mailing 1: sent to regular purchasers and rewards them with a good offer (triggered).Mailing 2 (broadcast): sent a week later, e-newsletter to a larger group (including those sent Mailing 1).
  • Relevance depends on your audience & your goals.Sending a targeted message to a specific group will get better results than a general message to a broad group; even if broad group is 10 times the size of the firstIn 2011 MarketingSherpa Email marketing Benchmark Survey 67% of marketers said that targeting recipients with highly relevant content was a significant challenge.—You’re not alone!
  • Sending a targeted message to a specific group will get better results than a general message to a broad group; even if broad group is 10 times the size of the first
  • RFM model. look at email subscribers using these 3 factors:Recency - how recently has the donor made a gift? Example: Donors who have given in the last 72 hours may be more willing to respond to a targeted email campaign than others. Frequency - how often does the donor give? Example: Donors who gave three or more times in the last year might be more willing to respond than others. you can send email more frequently to recipients who are engagedMonetary - how much does the donor spend?Example: Subscribers who spent 50% more than your average lifetime customer value last year might be more willing to respond than others. This can also apply to other actions like opens, clicks or downloads-not just purchases. Target one-time big donorsCurrent email subscriber Made only one gift in the last 18 monthsGift amount ranked in the top 25% of all orders placed in that period This amounted to less than 10% of the team's database but still more than 6,000 subscribers.
  • Tailor newsletter to your recipients.—Don’t need all new content—just rearrange/order it based on interests of your audience.
  • Spend time on the subject line of your emails. The subject line is typically the deciding factor between whether or not a supporter opens your email. Therefore, be sure to make each subject line appeal to your readers. Effective subject lines often tell users something they want to know, are provocative and arouse curiosity, or speak to an emotion-based need. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules for what works in subject lines. Your best option is to test a few subject lines on a segment of your list before sending to the full list, using what you already know about your audience and their interests.Avoid promotional words such as Free!, 50% Off!, Click Here, and Call now! in your subject lines as they may cause your email to be marked as spam by your recipients’ email clients. Worse, your supporters’ email client may automatically filter out a message with these words in the subject line and the reader may never get to see it.
  • Subject line varies based on the segment of your listExamples: Varying subject by class year, gift club level, or degree program
  • “Ease of Use” Cited as Top Success FactorSurvey respondents were shown a list of 17 different items spanning four presentation categories: content, design, delivery, and logistics. Asked to rate each item in terms of importance to the success of a Webinar, the top four success factors overall were:Ease of use when joining or participatingQuality of the presenter(s) speaking voice or deliveryClarity of the message and/or call to actionInvitation and/or registration page copy that accurately describes the content
  • Send from a real human beingChoose two or three people to be messengers for your email campaignsReflect that person’s personality as the sender of a certain type of emailReaders will ideally begin to feel a personal connection to the effort and what they are being asked to do. Make emails action orientedInvite the reader to take an action Engage them in the processKeep it short and succinct Content should also be very personal, relevant, and specific. The more focused the message, the faster your users will digest it.
  • Make it scannable Use bulleted lists, headings, and charts where possible to layout your content in a clean and clear way. This will allow users to scan the material easily and pick out the main points of your text. Adding a callout box featuring a compelling graphic and a short phrase summarizing the ask can be very effective.
  • Use graphics for a purpose. Focus on useful and informative content. Email is not the place for heavily stylized design, mostly because HTML and CSS support is inconsistent across email clients and devices. Email clients such as Google and Outlook increasingly are set to not show graphics in emails by default.In this example, the Holiday Inn logo is used to draw attention to the hotel/reservation contact info.Include Actual Links. Transparency of where the link is going will appeal to donors.Avoid links like “click here”. Use actionable text like “give now” or “volunteer”. Test different linking methods, certain approaches may be more/less effective depending on your audience.URL Links are bolder and easier for readers to find. click-thru rate will typically be higher if you make it easier for recipients to see the links as they scan the message.
  • Be flexible to account for unplanned events as they arise (ex. Natural disaster on campus)Planning, writing, set up and testing emails is very time consuming, so having several days to prepare an email can be helpfulSend only when you really have something to say—not just because the calendar says you shouldBe cognizant of holidays and world events.
  • In terms of frequency, the acceptable number of emails per week or per month varies. The frequency with which you can email your audience changes based upon your relationship with readers, whether or not your organization’s issues are at the forefront of the news cycle, and the timelines of the actions you may be asking supporters to take. Campaign Throttling
  • Domain Throttling: # of emails sent over a period of time, such as rate-per-second.--change based on business email or personal emailB2B marketers have to get an infrastructure in place that will manage different throttling rates for different corporate domains.Throttling rate might be set very high for free email like Yahoo!, but lower for a corporate email server. High throttling rate gets the message out more quickly to more addresses, but deliverability suffers if that send exceeds corporate servers’ thresholds.
  • Decide which version of the email performed better, and then send that version out to your full list. Testing should be done using the scientific method, meaning that you should test for one variable at a time, and you should always have a control (or comparison) group. Integrate with social media. Make your message easily sharable. As long as the share request does not detract from the main action or request of the email, including social sharing links can be very effective in helping you promote your campaign. For maximum impact, and to help reach those who don’t open your email, coordinate the email’s content with the messages and communications posted to your website and social channels. For example, ensure that a supporter who reads your email is able to access the same campaign content through your Facebook page when he/she wants to share it with friends.
  • 68% of marketers are NOT quantifying ROI on their email campaigns—source Marketing Sherpa; By W. Jeffrey Rice, Senior Research Analyst; Apr 10, 2012. “Marketing Research Chart: Email marketers who quantify ROI are in the minority”
  • 31% of US mobile phone users are using a Smartphone—your email may be viewed on very small screen.Your message might get truncated if it is too big. If it is too big, your recipient might be prompted to “download the rest of the message.” Avoid running the risk of recipients not seeing your entire message or worse, deleting it. mobile screens are small. Make your emails 500-600 pixels wide so they dont get distorted when they viewed on a mobile phone.The easier, the better.Some mobile recipients can only get text. keep it short. Cut out extra copy—send them to website instead.Email have line breaks at about 60 characters and mobile devices 20 characters
  • Hard bounces—remove after 1 timeSoft bounces—remove after 3 times Review soft bounces for typos
  • A case study presented by Marketing Sherpa-- of people who requested content, 40% also subscribed. (Mobile Drives Email List Growth: How to use SMS and relevant content to add opt-ins)72% of mobile users send SMS messagesSMS codes (5-6 characters long for texting on mobile phones); Common Short Code Administration (CSCA) leasing costs $500/month for random codes—only appropriate for large campaigns/larger nonprofits.
  • Agilon Email Best Practices

    1. 1. Amanda Miller Marketing Manager Agilon, LLC Email Best Practices: Actionable Advice About EmailInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    2. 2. 2010 Email Benchmarks • Open rates declined byClick-through average Open Rate about 12% on Response Unsubscribe Rate Rate Rate • Fundraising Response rate fell by 19% & advocacy response rate All declined by 7%. 13% 1.9% - .23% • Unsubscribe rates held steady between 2009 & 2010. .24% Fundraising 12% .6% .08% Advocacy 13% 3.7% 3.3% .16% Newsletter 12% 2.0% - .22% Source: 2011 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study by NTEN & M+R Strategic ServicesInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    3. 3. 2010 Email Statistics • Average open rates on fundraising appeals: – 24% for higher education – 18% for nonprofits overall • Click-thru rates on fundraising appeals were: – 2.37% for higher education – 1.76% for nonprofits overall • Response rate was: – .04% for higher education – .16% for nonprofits overall Source: Convio 2011 Benchmark ReportInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    4. 4. 2010 Email Statistics • % of Usable Emails in Database: – 75% for higher education – 54% for nonprofits overall • Email file growth was 21% over 2009. • E-Newsletter open rates: – 24% for higher education – 19.2% for nonprofits overall (decline from 20.4 % in 2009) • E-Newsletter click-thru rate: – 4.24% for higher education – 3.06% for nonprofits overall Source: Convio 2011 Benchmark ReportInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    5. 5. 2010 Email Statistics Message Volume per Month per Subscriber Source: 2011 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study by NTEN & M+R Strategic ServicesInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    6. 6. Relevance Source: http://www.lyris.com/blog/796-Increase-Email-Open-Rates-ROI-with-Deliverability-Analysis-Frequency-and-Triggered-EmailInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    7. 7. RelevanceInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    8. 8. Relevance • Target Audience • Message (email & web) • TimingInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    9. 9. Targeting • Target a high-value segment – Recency – Frequency – Monetary • Target one-time big donors – Current email subscriber – Made only one gift in the last 18 months – Gift amount ranked in the top 20% of all gifts made • Target by interest areasInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    10. 10. Targeting & RelevanceInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    11. 11. Subject Line • Tell users something they want to know – trigger curiosity – appeal on an emotional level • Test a few subject lines on a segment of your list • Avoid promotional wordsInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    12. 12. Subject Line Segmentation • Here’s the raw data being used • The TITLE field is merged into the Subject line of the email. • In this case, it varies according to the job classification of each recipient. In your case, the subject of email might vary by Alumni, Board Member, Parent, CorporationInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    13. 13. Message Clarity • Ease of use • Clarity of the message and/or call to action • Accurate landing and/or registration page copy • Use landing page, not email body for detailsInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    14. 14. Content Preview • Send from a real human being – Choose two or three people to be messengers – Reflect personality of the sender of a certain type of email – Establish a personal connection. • Make emails action oriented – Invite the reader to take an action – Engage them in the process • Keep it short and succinct – Personal – Relevant – Specific • Make it scannable • Use graphics for a purposeInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    15. 15. Content Preview • Make it scannable • Use graphics for a purpose • Include actual links • Avoid generic links like “click here”Info@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    16. 16. Content PreviewInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    17. 17. Scheduling • Develop an email and online content calendar – Be flexible to account for unplanned events – Give yourself time to prepare – Send only when you really have something to say – Be cognizant of holidays & world eventsInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    18. 18. Scheduling • Frequency of email based on: – Relationship with readers – The news cycle – Timeline of actions you want donors to take • Campaign ThrottlingInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    19. 19. Domain Differences • Use test & actual data • Preview by domain • Report by domain Source: http://www.lyris.com/blog/796-Increase-Email-Open-Rates-ROI-with-Deliverability-Analysis-Frequency-and-Triggered-EmailInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    20. 20. Testing • Segment your list • Change the content based on your segments – Subject Line – Images – Layout – Copy • Track the data – Open Rate – Unsubscribe Rate – Click Through Rate – Bounce Rate • Launch your campaign • Analyze the resultsInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    21. 21. Analyzing Results • Open Rate • Bounce Rate • Click-Thru Rate • Conversion Rate • Rates will go up for more targeted campaignsInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    22. 22. Traffic to Web Site Use Google tagging on your email campaigns to track them as the source of traffic to your web site.Info@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    23. 23. Campaign PerformanceInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    24. 24. Mobile Messages • Keep it small • Keep it short • Key points should be near the top • No more than 600 pixels • Resize images • Include a click-to-call link • Include a text versionInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    25. 25. Subscription Best Practices • Comply with CAN-SPAM – Nonprofits are not exempt – Relate message to mission – Unsubscribe option – Full mailing address of sender • Click to view as web page • Change email preferences • List Management – Hard bounces – Soft bouncesInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    26. 26. Subscription Best PracticesInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    27. 27. Subscription Growth • Forward to a friend • Subscriber Link in email • Subscriber link with content downloads/requests • Re-engagement campaigns • QR & SMS codes for online subscriptionInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com
    28. 28. Questions? 800-480-9015 Ext. 0779 Amanda.Miller@MyAgilon.comInfo@MyAgilon.com Advancing technology for advanced nonprofits. www.MyAgilon.com

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