Email appeals are unique, they are different than direct mail appeals, and they function differently. You have unique limitations and opportunities that you do not have with a written ask. Unfortunately, the power of the email appeal is rarely realized because they are written with too many generalities.
With a letter you have more time and latitude to make a case and get to your point, people are more likely to read and discover their interest in your work. With email, if there is not immediate relevance and connection, it can be deleted without effort or thought. If you want to use email more effectively then you need to get more specific. Specificity converts.
Here are 8 Tips For More Specific Email Appeals:
- Choose A Compelling Subject Line. If you do not catch the reader’s attention with the subject line – it doesn’t matter how good the rest of the email may be. The subject line has one singular purpose – to get the reader to open the email. You may want to test multiple subject lines to see which one gets the best response before sending to the entire list.
- Lead With The Most Interesting Part. If you have something of note to say, then do not bury the lead. People do not want to dig for information, if you can show them immediately that you are up front and do not want to waste their time then they will appreciate your content more and will be likely to read on. Think about it this way, if you can get them to read the beginning, there is a strong chance they will continue.
- Use Details. If you know dates, names, places, amounts, events, give as many details as make sense. Maybe you can’t say everything but say what you can. An appeal that says “Feed hungry people around the world” will not be as effective as “Feed hungry children living in one of the poorest villages in western Africa”.
- Talk About The Donor’s Impact. It is easy to say “Our ministry feeds people”. But if you can say “your support right now will make it possible for hungry children to receive the food they need and our team will make sure that every bag of grain you supply reaches the children,” then you have a powerful story that will connect on a personal and emotional level. You are connecting the donor to the need and letting them feel the impact of their gift.
- Demonstrate Your Vision. Stating your vision is ok, but showing it in action is better. Share a testimony, a brief story, a recap of something that shows the fruit of your vision statement. People may not be motivated to read what you have to say about yourself, but they may read a story about the impact your organization has had.
- Use Images Well Or Omit Them. The primary image you use needs to reinforce the message. It needs to set the stage and create the first impression that the text builds on. If the image is not actively adding to the email, then omit it. You do not want to confuse or distract people. There is no rule that states that you must have a photograph in every email. Sometimes it feels more genuine without one. You may find your email is more deliverable and gets less bounces with fewer images.
- Give Only One Option. It is easy to want to share all the great things you do and all the great ways people can connect with you, but if the email is an appeal, you need to focus. Give readers one option of how and where to respond. You can have multiple buttons but focus the ask and send all links to the same place. Take all the guesswork out of it.
- Stop When You’re Done. The more you say, the more people need to sort through and the more you risk muddying the water. Make your case, give people a way to respond and end the email BEFORE they get tired of reading. Which is why this is the last tip.