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What makes an effective email?

Submitted by Emerson on October 3, 2016 - 3:38pm

When sending out an email to your readers, it is important to engage them on a personal level. The average conversion rate (that is, how many people take action) for an advocacy email is about 10 percent. To maximize this number, you have to maximize your reader's willingness to take action. There are some simple techniques you can deploy to achieve this.

Make multiple personal references to your reader.

The reason why the average conversion rate for an advocacy email is so low is because readers usually don't feel personally obligated to take action. The connection between them and your cause is lost when this happens. Including personal references such as "my friend" or even "you" can make the reader feel as though they have a personal stake in your mission. You can also refer to your reader as a vital part of your group or organization by including colloquialisms such as "together, we can..." or "it is up to us". This is especially important to remember when your email includes demands that require your reader to take further action.

Highlight the urgency of your cause.

Another reason why the average conversion rate is so low is because the urgency of your cause could end up being lost on the reader. If a reader looks at an email and gets the impression that they can put off taking action until later, chances are they probably won't ever end up taking any action at all. To maximize the effectiveness of your email, consistently allude to how important it is that readers take action now rather than later.

Make sure your message stays consistent.

Don't try to achieve more than one thing in one email. It could be useful to remind readers of all the causes your organization works on but a call to action should be specific. Readers need to feel personally invested in your cause and it's hard to achieve this when your email does not specifically pertain to one all-important cause. If there is another cause of equal or higher urgency that needs to be addressed, compose another email that tackles that issue.

Ask in different ways.

Anytime you send an email where you're asking your reader to take action or chip in a donation, make sure to format your request in different ways. Your reader may lose interest if you ask the same question over and over again. Having to approach your "ask" from several angles forces your reader to consider the different reasons why they should take action.

A small list is healthier than a big list that is not engaged.

A common misconception is that your email's reach is dependent upon the number of people you send it too. In actuality, it's a good thing when you send out an email and people unsubscribe. This means several things. First, it means that your email is actually being sent out. Second, it means the email addresses in your list aren't spam. Third, it means people are interacting with your email. In the future, don't view unsubscribers as a negative aspect of email campaigning but a healthy and necessary aspect of it.