Innovative E-newsletter E-mails
Over the past couple of months, I’ve signed up for numerous organizations’ e-newsletters seeking innovators and strategic thinkers who look at an e-newsletter as more than a condensed version of their home pages. Here are some of my favorites and the reasons I chose them.
Doctors Without Borders: Get Your Tickets Today! Living in Emergency, Dec. 14
Visually Interesting: Besides the giant picture that tells you exactly what the rest of the e-mail is going to be about, there’s also a video of the trailer to the movie promoted within the body of the email.
To the Point: Informs the reader exactly why the organization is e-mailing her and what action she is being asked to take without expecting her to read a novel. The copy is well thought-out. All the questions a reader could have about how to see this movie are answered. There is no space wasted on irrelevant information distracting from the main message.
Shareability: Twitter and Facebook Connect are used at the end of this e-mail so those who want to attend this event, but are a little timid going to a movie alone, easily can post the event to their Facebook profiles and invite friends to join in — an excellent way to incorporate social media into e-mail. E-mail always will be a critical factor in online fundraising, and social media also will be a means of communicating a message. Bringing those two together is the opportunity for innovation, testing and creativity.
charity: water: Jingle Wells
Visually Interesting: In this e-mail, less was more — simple color scheme, simple layout and easy to read. It was refreshing to be able to focus on the message being conveyed, (in an interesting way), rather than the more than 100 or so e-mails I’ve reviewed that were crammed with copy, colors, fonts and thumbnails in an attempt to draw my attention by any means possible. It was the unique simplicity of charity: water's approach that made it stand out.
To the Point: In so many of the e-mails, the messages were spread across the whole e-mail; nothing was highlighted or easy to pick up without reading the entire thing, which people rarely do. Charity: water gave it to me straight. It chose its pitch and made it direct and well thought-out. Again, less was more. The statement, “America is about to spend another $450 billion to celebrate the holidays — that's enough to solve the water crisis several times over,” was enough to get me thinking. The video and the tagline, “Give up the gifts, give people clean water and start changing lives,” sealed the deal.
Shareability: You can’t get much more share-friendly than this e-mail. There is a “share” bookmarking icon in the top left corner that lets you share the message charity: water is sending to anyone, anywhere. Taking sharing a step further, the action of “tell your friends what you really want for Christmas” is a clever and different way of saying “get involved or “share with friends.”
There were many e-mails I went through that have embraced the challenge of integrating new media to e-mail appeals and newsletters, and many who have not. What may work for one organization may not work for the other, but I suggest testing certain aspects or elements mentioned in the e-mails above and monitoring the feedback, open rates, clickthrough rates, etc. Testing allows you to learn from your donors and refine messaging strategies to interest a larger audience base, but if you never test, you’ll never know.
Christina Johns is senior manager of direct-response television and social media for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.