Sending newsletters is an excellent way to keep your supporters engaged, provide them with updates about how you are developing your mission, and make them feel good about supporting a cause through you. But not all newsletters achieve this purpose and end up being unopened, ineffective, or worse marked as spam. Here are a few best practices that can help you create impactful newsletters and comply with CAN-SPAM regulations.
- Know your audience. Keep in mind what they want to see in the newsletter and do not combine all your constituents into a single list. Send targeted content that heroes your supporters. Use an integrated technology platform with which you can capture interests in multi select fields and you can segment your constituents based on this data, making it very easy to send targeted newsletters.
- Be consistent. Set a newsletter frequency that works best for your audience and stick to it.
- Engaging Subject Line. Keep it short. Tell them what’s inside. Use a question or a current topic to arouse curiosity. Avoid capitalizing the subject line, using exclamation points and words like Newsletter, Issue Number, etc., or your organization’s name if the email is sent in your name.
- Content: Keep it brief and avoid too much text. Include one compelling success story, updates on your outcomes with numbers and infographics, and add buttons to your social media. If your newsletter is too long and heavy, email services (like Gmail) will cut it off and may filter this as spam.
- Design: Use white space and short sections with readable fonts. Make it mobile-friendly, take into account dark mode viewing, and use clean images that are properly sized for the web. Include noticeable and clickable call-to-action buttons.
- Testing: Before sending an e-mail newsletter to a mailing list, test the newsletter for both technical functionality and marketing potential. Compile a list of about 10 e-mail addresses that you own. Include addresses from various sources, including email addresses hosted on a local ISP, addresses hosted with your domain name hosting and free online email accounts. Send a test email to all these accounts. Pick up the test email newsletter in each email account including on mobile phones and tablets and check to make sure the email was delivered into each account correctly. Look through the e-mail newsletter contents carefully in each email account. Check for proper formatting in each account as some types of errors will appear only in certain email clients. You can also test more professionally using the Litmus Service for a fee.
- Measure Effectiveness: An email campaign on average gets a hit rate of 20%. Based on your email list, the time you send the email and other factors can result in a high variation of the number of emails that are opened. Always monitor your open rates, bounce rates, and click-throughs from links in the newsletter. These stats and their trends will show you improvement opportunities. The day and time of the day when you send your newsletter is also important, mid-week mid-day usually works best.
- Comply to CAN-SPAM: Send emails only to those who have opted-in, do not purchase lists or add email addresses from websites of people who have not opted-in. Provide the email recipient with a clear link to opt-out of future mailings. Provide a valid physical address of the organization in the footer. Using a tool that comes built-in with these checks ensures success of your email campaigns.
How to prevent your newsletter from landing in spam box:
- Keep your mailing list up-to-date, remove bounced email addresses, and those who never opened any of your newsletters.
- Spam filters are triggered by words like “free gift” “money” “buy”, “charity”, “urgent”, “take action”, etc. in the subject lines, so avoid using them directly in your subject line. The list of trigger words keep changing so always test your emails before you send it out to make sure it does not go into spam.
- Don't shout at your supporters! Spam filters block emails with excessive exclamation points and sentences written in all caps.
- Monitor your bounce rate and complaint rate and keep them within the acceptable limits.
LiveImpact is a fully integrated technology platform with powerful CRM and Outreach features to effectively engage your supporters.