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5 Best Practices for Email Marketing

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There are tons of best practices to keep track of when you are building one marketing email — not to mention an entire campaign. With so many nonprofit email marketing metrics to keep track of it’s easy to overlook one or two here and there. Here are just a few email marketing best practices you should be keeping track of when it comes to your campaigns.

April 15, 2014

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1. Make Your Emails Scannable

In today’s world of constant connectivity you don’t have a lot of time to make an impact with your email marketing. People are inundated with hundreds of emails each day and most rarely take the time to read an entire email – especially marketing messages. If your subscribers were tickled enough by your subject line to open your message it should be clear without actually reading the email what the next action you want them to take is. Clear headlines, call-to-action buttons, bullet pointed lists and links can all help increase scan ability.

2. Have A Primary Call-To-Action

Just like making your emails scanable, it’s important to point to a primary call-to-action and make it obvious what that action is. Ask yourself, “What one thing do I want people to do with this email?” and make it as easy as possible for someone to do that. Remember, you only have a few seconds to get people to take action, make sure they know exactly what you want them to be doing. Of course this doesn’t mean that you have to only have one action per email, just one primary call-to-action that you focus on.

3. Send On A Regular Schedule

How many emails a nonprofit should send will vary from organization to organization, however, far too often do nonprofits get caught up sending email only when they have something to say or when they are in the midst of a huge fundraising drive. While these might be important times to reach your subscribers, it’s important to make them part of your community at all times not just when you need something. Make sure that email is more that just a channel where you push out information to you list. Use it to encourage conversation on your social media properties or forums. I found the best way to make sure that you are sending consistent messages is to calendar emails ahead of time each quarter. You may have to shift deadlines sometimes, but this way you have something to be accountable to.

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4. Use Alt Text For Images

Even with Gmail now showing images by default its essential that you use alt text with your images. It’s still true that many email clients still require the recipient of an email to enable images in order to view them. 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.

5. Link All Images

Another thing that 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.
As mentioned earlier, these are just 5 of many email marketing best practices that we keep track of when building campaigns. What do you think are some of the most important things nonprofit email marketers should be keeping track of when building their campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.

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