Give prospects and donors the opportunity to express interests. And taking that to another level, "use information about what they're responding to so over the course of 12 months they can analyze data and see who is clicking on what links, who really tends to open what e-mails, who has responded in the past, and use that activity history to personalize the ongoing messages," Haji says.
Offer compelling content. "What's the story that you're going to tell that's going to be so compelling that people are going to opt in and stay engaged, [to] open the e-mail and keep reading it?" he adds.
Use a reputable e-mail services vendor that will be sure to get on the big ISP's white lists. "If you're using a less reputable vendor or if you're trying to do it yourself, the risk of being caught in a spam filter goes up," Haji warns.
Test. Whether you're trying to figure out how much html to add to an e-mail, how long or short the message should be, or what subject line to use, you can test e-mail just as you would test direct mail, by sending, for example, one e-mail with subject line A to 5 percent of your list and another with subject line B to another 5 percent of the list. An e-mail with the winning subject line can be sent to the remaining 90 percent of your list, Haji notes.
Sheeraz Haji can be reached via http://www.getactive.com