Category Archives: Direct Mail

7 steps to an eye-catching, emotional, informational email message

When you market via email, you face two big problems. Will it catch your donor’s attention? Will it move them to action? An email is very easy to delete. What can you do to keep them reading your message?

Use this 7-step email format when you write an informational message.  It will be easier for you to write and for your donor to read.

How many times have you stared at the computer screen, fingers poised above the keyboard and your head so full of ideas – BUT YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START?

Try placing your information in the following 7 areas  and the process will be easier.

#1 Header – Your headline is the first and most important item. Give them a reason to continue to read. Here is a blog post that gives some good advice on writing a header.    http://bit.ly/ekyBfE

#2 Opener – Remember that your goal is to get your reader to continue reading – to go to the next step in the formula. Use these 3-4 sentences to get to tell them your exciting news and to get them to continue reading to learn more.

#3 Image –  Put the image side-by-side with the opener. This will make the first content they read only half of a line of text so that it isn’t intimidating or a barrier to reading.  It’s been shown that people are more likely to read shorter lines of text.

#4 – Point of Interest – Add some spark to your email with a pertinent quote or a statement. Make it a different font, size or color.

#5 Content – Here is where you put your main information. This is a great place to add emotion.  If they feel something about what you’re describing, they are more likely to take action.

#6 Sub-header – This is a promise to your reader that there is more interesting information to come.

#7 Wrap-up and call to action. It may be used to drive them to your website or to subscribe to your emails or social media.

This email layout has been a great help in our work. I hope it works for you!

One sure-fire way to alienate your customer

I received an email yesterday with the greeting, “Dear Valued Customer.”

This came from a vendor advertising their new Summer/Fall Catalogue. Less than a month ago, I registered on this vendor’s website – gave them my name, address, phone, company name – everything but my blood type. I talked to the President of the company on the phone. We made an appointment to talk about buying their product in December. And yet a few weeks later my new best friends write …

Dear Valued Customer!

Really?!

This was a good reminder to me of how crucial it is in fundraising to personalize your message. Customer or donor – it’s all about relationship, relationship, relationship.

The only thing worse than a Dear Friend letter is spelling the name wrong. A certain publication that shall remain nameless (but to which most of us in development subscribe) has just started emailing me with the greeting “Dear Connie.” I’m fascinated. I can’t wait to see how long they keep this up.

Your donors or customers want to feel that you know them, your business matters to them and you would miss them if they were gone.

Here are 3 easy ways to personalize your message and retain your donor:

  1. Mail merge your solicitation whether it is a letter or email. Technology exists out there to help you with this. Your printer can personalize your mailing. E-mail marketing firms personalize your emails to your donors.
  2. Use your database to its full potential. Do random checks to make certain that you have the correct names in the correct places.  Keep a record of all contact with your donor and enter notes into the database.
  3. Expand the personalization. Find ways to use a personal touch. In letters to your donors, mention a last gift. In reports to them, tell them what impact their donation made. When you call to thank them for their gifts, reference your last conversation.

Finally, when you email or text your donor or customer – don’t call her Connie if her name is Jolynn. It’s just too easy for her to hit the delete button.