eGo Connect was created to help you build relationships with your core audience and enable you to propel your subscribers to an immediate action. This could be asking them for a donation, to volunteer, be part of a building fund or any number of things.
To accomplish this, our system lets you send highly personalized, extremely targeted email messaging with automated follow ups, but it’s only as powerful as the messages you create within it. To get the most of the tools, you must understand how to craft effective messaging at scale.
Think of eGo Connect as the car. It’s powerful and has many features. To get anywhere however, you need to put gas in the car. Your ability to craft effective messaging is the gas. Combining these two elements will take you anywhere you want to go.
Throw Out the Old Philosophy
The first thing that needs to happen is that you need to think differently about mass email communication. People receive hundreds of emails per day about sales, announcements, news, etc. To break through the clutter, you need to be direct and focused to be effective. Sending “shotgun blast” emails with heavy graphics, broad language and sales-like terminology must go. If you want to persuade your recipients to some kind of action, you must write to them as one human would write to another.
Writing to a Single Person
Let’s assume that you’re sending to a group of thousands of people and asking them to donate to a building fund. How do you write your message so that you connect directly with each one? The first step is to take a single person from the list and write only to them. Pretend you are opening up your Gmail or Outlook program and writing to them alone.
Would you use capital letters? exclamation points? bold text? of course not. You would write to them in the context of a one on one, it wouldn’t make sense to “sell” them on anything. You would speak to them in your own authentic, personal voice. This is how to propel people to action.
An Example in Action
Our co-founder tells a story of a time that he had to organize a project with about 20 people involved. He needed each of the people to look through a document and log errors on a shared spreadsheet. To get everyone started, he sent out a mass, impersonal email to the team members. It was similar to this:
As you know we are approaching the deadline for the XYZ project on X/X/XX. It’s imperative that we all complete our weekly review and log errors in the shared spreadsheet. If you need any assistance or have any questions about the process, please let me know.
Nobody replied. Not one person took action and logged any errors.
Days later as the deadline loomed, he tried a more personal approach. He wrote a mass email as if he were speaking to a single person on that list directly. He then sent everyone an individual email with the same content. Similar to this:
I just wanted to check in with you about my previous email for the shared spreadsheet log. It needs to be finished by next week. If you would like, I could hop on the phone with you to help you with the process.
Did you need any help getting started with it?
Moments later, the replies started coming in. The spreadsheet began to fill with entries. People were taking the desired action and the objective was achieved.
This is the power of the personalized, direct email and following up.
The Anatomy of an Effective Email
We’ve found the most effective emails contain the following components:
Little or No Use of Graphics
There is no need to include heavy graphics or complex HTML layouts in a personalized email. It screams “Mass-Message” and tells the user you are not writing to them alone. The only place graphics may be appropriate are in your signature.
Don’t Embed Links
When you write an email that references a link, most people are used to seeing the entire link pasted in rather than embedded/linked to a word. This is a subtle element that people have come to expect in personal messaging.
Use an interesting, non-salesy subject line with no exclamation points or capital letters.
Address them by Name
Always include the first name as the minimum level of customization. In some cases it may be appropriate to use “Hi Friend” or “Hi Partner”, etc.
First Sentence (Preview Line)
After the subject line, the first sentence of the email plays an incredibly important role in getting someone to open your email and read on. Many email programs today display not only the subject line, but the first line as well. This is why it’s important to add relevant information here that if possible is almost completely custom to them. This will catch them early and get them to read on.
This is where you write your pitch or petition. Try to keep it as short as possible. We are aiming for 4-6 sentences maximum for the overall email, so this should be less than that.
Call to Action
You always want to end your email with a call to action. Don’t leave anything open ended. Rather than writing “If you’re interested, please let me know.” write “Do you think you would be interested in this?” this leaves the recipient compelled to reply rather than leave the email for a later time. Which in most cases will be a non-reply.
Depending on the situation and campaign, you are going to want to follow up to unanswered emails. If you’re looking for donors, you may have sent an email to someone that genuinely wants to support your organization, but they may have missed the first message or been too busy to reply that day. That’s why it’s imperative to follow up.
Using eGo Connect, you can automate your follow up to thousands of people simultaneously. For example, you may want to follow up with something as simple as this:
Hi John – I just wanted to circle back on my email below. Is this something you would be interested in?
Hi John – the fundraiser is just a few days away from now. Would you be interested in attending?
A simple follow up is all that’s necessary to stimulate a huge response. This not only puts the email back in front of their eyes, but also mimics a manual follow up. It tells them that you manually hit the reply button and followed up to them directly.
Appropriate Times for Generalized Emails
Is it ever appropriate for graphics-heavy emails with fancy HTML layouts? Of course. You may want to communicate your branding in some announcements or transactional emails like purchase receipts or notifications, but for the most part – if you want to see a specific action take place, you should write your campaign in the form of a personal letter.
Bringing it All Together
We encourage you to try this for yourself, analyze campaign responses and improve with each one. We don’t encourage copying of templates, but writing your campaigns in your own personal voice while keeping these important principals in mind.