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Writing Effective Emails
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Writing Effective Emails

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  • 1. Writing Effective Emails Better Practices and NBTS Guidelines for Maximum Impact
  • 2. Why? Life is fast- paced. As number of emails and other “distractions” (Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, text messages, etc.) increase… …attention span decreases
  • 3. Our Job as Email Marketers Goal •  To make each email as relevant and interesting as possible to the recipient. Outcomes •  Constituents pleased they are receiving information they requested. •  Higher open, click-through, action rates. •  NBTS is not regarded as a spammer.
  • 4. A Note About Recipients •  One of the most important decisions you can make in preparing a blast email is who the recipients will be. •  Sending to people truly interested in the content you are providing is more important than any other best practice in this presentation. •  Increased open, click-through, action rates. Decreased unsubscribe rates. •  Keeps people interested, less email list churn.
  • 5. Email “Consumption” Stages Open Sender Subject Preview Above Entire Name Line Pane The Fold Email Click-Through/Action
  • 6. Sender Name •  The From Line is the first thing people read, and is an important factor in whether or not the email is opened. •  Helps build recognition and trust. •  As little as 20 characters will display in the From line. •  Example –  Harriet Patterson, National Brain Tumor Society –  National Brain Tumor Society
  • 7. Sender Name - Guidelines •  For consistency, emails should be from “National Brain Tumor Society” or the event name. •  Individual names and titles can be included in the closing salutation. •  From email addresses should also stay consistent. Suddenly changing the from address can land you in spam. •  For the first in a series of emails, ask the recipient to add the address to their address book to ensure delivery to the inbox.
  • 8. Subject Line •  Be specific, not misleading. •  Provide a sense of urgency. •  Speak to their needs and interests. •  Put the most important information first. •  These are general guidelines - Test! Test! Test! What types of subject result in the greatest click-through or action rate?
  • 9. Subject Line - Guidelines •  Do not repeat “From” name in subject line. •  Do not use all caps or exclamation points. •  Because of differing character limits in email clients, 40-50 characters is recommended, and 60 characters is the limit. •  First word capitalization only.
  • 10. Preview Pane •  More than 70% of email users report utilizing the preview pane. •  The preview pane will show the top 2 – 4 inches of the message, often with images blocked. •  Put the most important content, the value proposition, or the action item in the first few lines of the email. •  The first few lines should draw the person in and encourage them to continue skimming in the preview pane or to open the message.
  • 11. Above the Fold •  Similar to preview pane concepts. •  Email readers tend to focus on content closest to the top, or sometimes the entire first screen of text. •  Again, make sure the most important content and links are near the top of the email.
  • 12. Writing for Email •  Speak conversational, not corporate. •  Short sentences. •  Get to the point. •  No flowery language needed. •  Paragraphs should be no longer than five lines.
  • 13. Email Skimming •  Only 19% of emails are actually read, the rest are skimmed. •  Put the most important content in components of the emails that can be easily skimmed. •  Headlines get the most attention followed by bulleted or numbered lists.
  • 14. Calls to Action •  One call to action •  Bring the horse to water – Tell them what they should do, why they should do it, and how to take the next step. •  Use colorful buttons and multiple links. •  Make the email shareable – Tell-A-Friend tool, IS/Comm to look into other tools.
  • 15. Other Better Practices •  Length – most content above the fold, do not make readers scroll down more than once. –  Anything that needs lots of description or text should live on your website, not in the email. •  Timing – studies have shown that Tuesday at 11 AM best sending time, followed by Wednesday at 11 AM. •  First in email series - Ask users to add your email address to their address book (to avoid spam folder).
  • 16. NBTS Guidelines •  Links –  Do not say “click here” –  Set links to open in new window –  Include link title –  Make sure they work when testing email •  Text version –  End of line/delete –  Remove http:// except for Tell-A-Friend, Unsubscribe or view on web links
  • 17. NBTS Guidelines •  Use Dear First Name/Friend for non- newsletter emails. •  If an email is going to only ONE time zone, the ideal time to send is between 11 AM and 1 PM in that time zone. •  If an email is going to multiple time zones, it should be sent between 12 PM and 3 PM ET.
  • 18. NBTS Style Guide •  Dates: June 25 not June 25th •  Times: 5 PM, 5 – 7 PM, or 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM •  Serial commas: apples, oranges, and bananas •  Use “the” before NBTS only in the middle of a sentence. •  Acronyms •  One space only between sentences •  “website” not “Web site”
  • 19. Email Proofing and Coding •  Emails should be submitted to Comm (Anne and Lisa) three days or more prior to send date – again not on a Friday. •  Email will then be coded by IS –  Why does an email need to be coded?
  • 20. Questions?