The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

7 Ways to Get Better Response Rates to Your eNewsletter

Want to increase donations through your email outreach? You need to give people a compelling reason to open your message and then act. Fortunately there are several things you can easily do to improve your odds. Here are my 7 ideas for better response rates.

Improve Email Response Rates

Photo source: Big Stock Photo

1. Have a subject line that makes you want to read more.

My friend Kivi Leroux Miller talks about bad subject lines being a wrapper (example: September Diabetes eNews) and good subject lines being the candy in the wrapper (example: 6 ways to manage your diabetes). Make it interesting, so people open the message in the first place.


2. Start with story that’s compelling and relevant to the reader.
Florida Blood Services Foundation is hitting it out of the park on this front. Their newsletters are full of moving stories that are personal and highly relevant to the reader. But there are a lot of them!  Which brings me to my next point…


3. Say less.  A lot less.

An e-newsletter needs to be far, far shorter than what you’d send in print. Anything over 500 words is really pushing it, in my view.  If you must have multiple stories, just provide the first part of each and link to the rest. Remember, people tend to be in a hurry in their inbox and they skim more than they read. Your newsletters may have great content, but if there is too much of it, it’s hard to absorb and unclear where to focus first. I’m speaking from experience. The number one compliment I get on my blog from people who subscribe via email is that it’s short, with one main concept each time. (I take this as a compliment!)


4. Go easy on the eyes.

Just as you want to be short and sweet in email, you want to go easy on the eyes—go for uncluttered, easy to read messages.  Too many articles and sidebars and buttons and images will overwhelm the reader and lower your conversion rates drastically.


5. Ask for one thing.

Be clear about the purpose of each piece of email outreach. Is it a thank-you full of stories of change and transformation? Is it a fundraising appeal?  Is it to inspire involvement in an event? You want your e-news to have a focus and one clear call to action. Tightly sticking to a theme and reducing the options for action to one (or at most two) will boost response rates. Too many options, just like too much information, really hurts conversion.


6. Ask explicitly.

Are you directly and clearly asking for action? A Donate button off to the side isn’t enough if the goal of the e-news is to raise money. Ask in the text too.


7. Provide multiple, obvious links for the same action.

Make it incredibly easy for people to act by including links throughout the text and on buttons. The more obvious, the better the conversion.


For more practical email newsletter advice, download our free ebook: From Print to Email — Take Your Newsletter on an Epic Journey


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About This Blog

Carrie Saracini
Content Marketing Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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