Writing Newsletters That Get Read Every Time
For five days (from January 5-9) Staffhacker contributor Brian Sun is going to tell you why he uses Mailchimp (and why you should too), show you how to write your first email, and give you tips on how to write effective newsletters and get more subscribers.
Let’s be honest, if your email newsletters are boring or require too much effort most of your donors aren’t going to read them. These two ideas can help your newsletters get read every time.
Make shout outs to people.
I borrowed this idea from an InterVarsity staff in St. Louis. Here’s how it works: on the sidebar in your newsletter, create a section called “shout outs” where you write a person’s name and say a little something to them.
To make sure everyone gets shouted out to over time, create an Excel Spreadsheet with two columns: the names of everyone on your email list and a mark if they’ve been shouted out to. No shout out = no mark. Each time you send an email update, re-visit the shout out doc to see who’s next. Some ideas: say hi to someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, say it was nice seeing you to someone you ran into at Starbuck’s, say an inside joke to your best friend. The possibilities are endless.
After you’ve sent your email update with the shout outs, write on the wall of the people you shouted out to saying “hey Tony, I made a shout out to you in the email update I just sent. Check it out.” If you write on their Facebook wall, these people will open your update about 99% of the time.
Write the prayer in the email
I love my donors. And I know they love me. But I also know they forget to pray for me and my ministry on campus. I’d be foolish to think that I am at the forefront of their minds (unless it’s my mom) so I want to make praying for me as easy as possible for them. That’s where “write the prayer in the email” comes in.
Traditionally we would write, “Here are my prayer requests: funding, relationships, and funding,” then expect our donor to set aside time to pray for us. Cut out the extra step of having to set aside a time to pray for you by writing out the prayer in the email. On your email you would write “Lord, I pray that you would provide for Timmy in his funding and grow him in his relationships on campus, amen.” That’s it.
In the midst of a cluttered email inbox, implementing these two ideas can help your newsletters to stand out from everyone else.