Make Your Bacn Taste Better

07.21.2011By

bacon!

We think of email as a method to reach people. But most people see email from organizations and social networks (the notifications they send to email accounts) as bacn, an opt-in email that is just a notch above spam. So how do you make your bacn taste better?

A recent eBenchmarks study (hat tip, Katya Andresen) indicates quality is the most important aspect of email. “The quality of the emails you send, and the list you’re sending them to matter far more than anything else,” says authors Jonathan Benton and Steve Peretz.

Opt-in means you have a better chance than spam, but the communication has to clearly distinguish itself. There are several aspects to making an email rock your friends and supporters’ world, including message, authenticity, and headline writing.

What is the message (10 steps via NTEN here) you are trying to convey? Often, fundraisers and nonprofits ask, but don’t think this through completely. Is the list receptive to it? Are you including information they want, such as what their donation will be used for, results of past efforts? Have you told a compelling story?

There is an element to email that many people don’t talk about, and that is authenticity. People need to believe you care about your cause, in your story, and that your request or communication is sincere. That means getting real and providing depth to your email, some personal truths to it, which may not be ideal and pristine in the messaging world, yet will speak to people’s humanity.

Giving is an emotional exercise. You must continue to foster real bonds with people if you want email to work.

Finally, there is the element of copywriting. Writing a great headline is paramount to an email being opened. Without getting a great, active headline, your hopes of multiple percentages opening your email lies solely on your relationship with the recipients. Continuing with great copy helps turn bacn into the most savory morsel possible. A primary reason our competitors and friends at Crowdrise do well is because their site and emails are funny, even risque and edgy. But remember, copycatting others doesn’t make you authentic.

How do you make your social network and opt-in bacn/email better?

  • Kellee Magee

    This may Captain Obvious – but people give to people. Where there is a person who has meaningful relationships at the nonprofit, I have found that emails sent from “Mary Smith” as the sender vs. “ABC Society” have a far higher open rate. A rotating team of senior execs with meaningful donor relationships can be used as the ‘from’ addresses, but it only works if it’s authentic — that Mary is aware and equipped to be able to respond personally to any inquiries. The tools for building highly personalizeable/relevant campaigns are out there, and should be used.

    • geofflivingston

      Absolutely, Kellee. I think that’s why we need the authenticity factor.  It’s what makes us believe that there is a real human on the other side of the horn.

  • Kellee Magee

    This may Captain Obviousu00a0- but people give to people. Where there is a person who has meaningful relationships at the nonprofit, I have found that emails sent from “Mary Smith” as the sender vs.u00a0″ABC Society” have a far higher open rate. A rotating team of senior execs with meaningful donor relationships can be used as the ‘from’ addresses, but it only works if it’s authentic — that Maryu00a0is aware and equippedu00a0to be able to respond personally to any inquiries. The tools foru00a0building highly personalizeable/relevantu00a0campaigns are out there, and should be used.

    • Anonymous

      Absolutely, Kellee. I think that’s why we need the authenticity factor.u00a0 It’s what makes us believe that there is a real human on the other side of the horn.

  • A copywriting tip from my old direct mail marketing days: Always write as if you’re writing to  ONE person, not a group. I created a persona for my typical donor, a middle-aged couple who lived in a small to mid-sized town, went to church on Sundays and came home to a pot roast dinner. (It was for a religious NPO.)

    I cut out a picture from a magazine of how I imagined this couple looked and put it on my bulletin board. On every response card (remember, this was snail mail) I applied their mailing label: Elroy and Maude Donor, 1234 Main Street, Hometown, ST 56789.

    When I wrote the teaser copy on the outer envelope (equivalent of an email headline), and when I wrote the letter copy, I was writing just to Maude and Elroy, no matter how many thousands of people would get that version of the letter.

    From 1978 to 1986 I supervised/wrote the creative on dm marketing campaigns that raised over $50 million. All these years later I have fond memories of my fictional donors, Maude and Elroy.

    • geofflivingston

      Fantastic advice, Connie.  It just makes it feel so much more personal!

  • A copywriting tip from my old direct mail marketing days: Always write as if you’re writing to u00a0ONE person, not a group. I created a persona for my typical donor, a middle-aged couple who lived in a small to mid-sized town, went to church on Sundays and came home to a pot roast dinner. (It was for a religious NPO.)nnI cut out a picture from a magazine of how I imagined this couple looked and put it on my bulletin board. On every response card (remember, this was snail mail) I applied their mailing label: Elroy and Maude Donor, 1234 Main Street, Hometown, ST 56789.nnWhen I wrote the teaser copy on the outer envelope (equivalent of an email headline), and when I wrote the letter copy, I was writing just to Maude and Elroy, no matter how many thousands of people would get that version of the letter.nnFrom 1978 to 1986 I supervised/wrote the creative on dm marketing campaigns that raised over $50 million. All these years later I have fond memories of my fictional donors, Maude and Elroy.

    • Anonymous

      Fantastic advice, Connie.u00a0 It just makes it feel so much more personal!