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Hi, I’m Lauren. I write email. What can email do for you? Reach people quickly & cheaply Activate people to take action Enhance what you’re doing everywhere.

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Presentation on theme: "Hi, I’m Lauren. I write email. What can email do for you? Reach people quickly & cheaply Activate people to take action Enhance what you’re doing everywhere."— Presentation transcript:


2 Hi, I’m Lauren. I write email.

3 What can email do for you? Reach people quickly & cheaply Activate people to take action Enhance what you’re doing everywhere else

4 A few key principles It’s about everything else you’re doing It’s about story telling It’s about number crunching


6 Basic structure of an email 1 st sentence: Attention grabber Try to keep it to one sentence. One line if possible.

7 Basic structure of an email 2 nd paragraph: Summary. Why are you sending this email? Avoid too many facts, figures. That’s what the rest of the email is for.

8 Basic structure of an email 3 rd -4 th paragraph: Take Action. What do you want people to do? What is the theory of change?

9 Basic structure of an email Links Stand-alone (separate from paragraphs) Should you hyperlink text or write out urls? It depends Don’t just use picture links

10 Basic structure of an email After the link 2-4 more paragraphs with background info, quotes, bullets, etc. Repeat your theory of change, action, link


12 1. Keep it short. People don’t want to read a long essay.

13 2. Think about your subject line. Be concise (5-7 words) Grab attention, but don’t cry wolf Be creative Don’t be too wonky

14 Good Subject Lines Can I dial you in? (DCCC) For your eyes only (YES to Fairer Votes) I agree with George W. Bush (Howard Dean) Missing you ( We’re 54.7% sure… (Families USA) Spill baby spill (Brave New Films)

15 Bad Subject Lines The ____ Update June 2011 Newsletter Tell your Senators to vote no on S. 2191 Urgent FEC Deadline Maryland GOP Calls for End to New Poll Tex for Absentee Ballot Voters

16 3. Keep it conversational. Snarky is ok. A formal letter isn’t. Have voices, personalities in your email.

17 4. Never send an email without an action… All you can do is unsubscribe. Sign a petition Write a letter Tell a friend Watch a video Follow us on Facebook or Twitter Call Congress Make a donation Share your story Give us your feedback Attend an event

18 4b …But don’t ask people to do a million things. Multiple actions confuse/overwhelm Splits the returns of your actions Better solution: Segmentation & Daisy Chain

19 5. Ask people what they want. Find out more about your list Solicit new ideas Make your members feel like they’re part of the team Surveys are good for you and your list.

20 6. Treat new supporters differently. Send an intro message describing your org & what you’ll be asking them to do. Don’t ask for money – but don’t wait too long. Make a good first impression.

21 7. Keep formatting simple. Use images sparingly. Compelling buttons can help action rates Most don’t matter Don’t hold up an email for an image Don’t make your whole email an image

22 7. Keep formatting simple. Avoid fancy formatting. You are not writing direct mail Fancy formatting distracts from links

23 8. Timing is everything. Sometimes it’s better to be the 1 st than to be the best. General wisdom: Tuesday-Thursday late morning In reality: Whenever something urgent happens

24 9. Checklist your emails. One bad mistake can ruin your email. Ask someone who didn’t write it to proofread it Ask someone to click every link & take every action

25 10. Test & Segment Your emails Tests: Sender name/format Subject lines Time of day Images (including headers) Length Links Landing pages Segments: Geography Donation history Past actions taken Signup date Whatever you’ve got


27 Landing Pages: Keep it simple. Make sure it’s clear what you want people to do Limit the number of: Distractions Fields Clicks

28 Landing Pages: Daisy Chain You don’t have to just send people to a “thank you” page Prioritize based on what you need most: Tell a friend Donate Events Other actions

29 Writing Workshop Wal-Mart wants to build its first store in Washington DC. A store in DC would hurt local businesses. Wal-Mart underpays its employees and doesn’t provide adequate health care. Write an email to a local coalition email list, encouraging them to sign a petition against the new Wal-Mart. It will be delivered to the next city council meeting.


31 Why plan emails? To avoid the blank page/blinking cursor problem. To make them part of a larger campaign. To have more time to write better emails. To have get better content. To get something done!

32 1. What are you trying to do?

33 What is your goal(s)? Online goals: List growth? Fundraising? User generated content? Twitter/facebook followers Offline goals: Pass a bill? Save the (puppies, seals, unicorns)? Events? Volunteers? Press attention? Drive a news story?

34 2. What do you have to do it?

35 What are your resources? Email list? Volunteers on the ground? Friendly bloggers? An organizational blog? A technology platform? Allied organizations/partners? Online advertising budget? Video capabilities? Other technology abilities?

36 3. What are your key moments?

37 What are your online and offline milestones? Internal news External news Media Personal stories Holidays/Days of Importance Other solicitations

38 Is this a long or short campaign? Are there deadlines you must meet? Moments along the way that you can highlight?

39 4. What are your segments?

40 Do you need different emails for different people? Action takers/non-action takers Geography Interest How they joined the list Donation history Demographics Superactivists vs. Lurkers

41 4. What can people do to really help? What is your theory of change?

42 Get a grid.

43 Plug in your offline activities/milestones as the base. Petition: When will you be delivering it? Events: Should we invite them? Ask them to donate or share? What can people do if they can’t attend? Videos/ads/offline materials: Can the list contribute content? Money? Share? Reports/research: Can they comment? Debunk it? Share?

44 Fill in the rest. Kicker messages Follow-up results messages Donation messages Other creative things you can give people to do

45 How much email is too much email? How often do you have something urgent and meaningful to say? Quarterly Monthly Weekly TYPICAL Daily Probably too much Almost certainly too little Credit: Idealware

46 Sample Campaign: Debbie Shank has paid enough

47 Goal: To stop a lawsuit. Resources: 100,000 person email list. Petition & Speakout technology. Contact with the family. Timing: Debbie’s well-being was in jeopardy Segments: People who signed/didn’t sign petition; frequent letter-writers; Facebook followers Theory of change: By shaming Wal-Mart, they’d drop the lawsuit.

48 What did we do? Launched a petition (email and Facebook) Wrote letters to Wal-Mart’s top management Wrote to news outlets to cover the story

49 It worked.

50 @neworganizing Thanks! Questions? @laurenm

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