AASP: Increasing Your Email Open Rates
Presenter: Wayne Combs, Occidental College
*Segmentation is key.
*When purchasing social networking software, integration with your fundraising database is key.
*Facebook = don't just rely on Facebook, as it doesn't allow for transactions, such as event registry and giving. But make sure that your social networking software interfaces with Facebook.
*Your social networking software should be integrated with your email tool.
*Email must direct folks to website or action. Consider destination that will increase connection to your institution, e.g. a webcam to see progress on the new building.
*Make sure your social networking software tracks stats like email open rates and other behavior.
*Survey responders are great volunteer prospects.
*Follow up survey response with email -- you have opened up a communication stream. Continue the conversation.
*Bribing people to do a survey doesn't necessarily increase response rates.
*Engage volunteers in managing social network.
*Timing -- think about whether you are sending to home or business address. Think about behavioral patterns, holidays, etc.
*Send non-fundraising emails, both good and bad news. As an example, Kansas State had a tornado on campus, and sent an immediate email to alums letting them know about damage to the buildings. They raised a bunch of money.
*Frequency -- mail every 3 - 4 weeks.
*Sender -- maximize recognition. To whom will constituents respond? Be consistent -- use only one or two aliases. Ideally, build segmentation to the point where you can identify different influencers for small segments.
*Subject lines -- impact, urgency, intent are key. Use a short statement to arouse curiosity.
*Test formats. Don't be scared of tiny percentage of people who can't view HTML.
*Put simple clear directions within first two or three lines.
*Twitter ROI is not high. It's more effective for admissions. Hesitate before allocating resources to it.
*Reaching young alums -- strategize with young volunteers. Make sure their efforts lead to something impactual.
*Events -- announce 3 weeks in advance, and do frequent reminders after registration.