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Justin Perkins 4 min read

Seven Tips to Write the Best Email Appeals

Email is a numbers game.  With competition for attention becoming more of a challenge every day, paying attention to the details and best practices matters more and more.  Here are a few key tips from Samuel Mesquita, an expert email copy writer who spent years at ActionAid in the UK.  You can read his full article here:  "17 Things I Have Learnt About Charity Email Copy"

  1. The ONLY bits that matter in terms of conversion are: 1. subject line 2. the first sentence 3. link copy 4. call to action. Write these bits FIRST. The rest of the email should proceed from them. These are also the bits which will have the largest impact in tests.
  2. There should always be some version of the Call-to-Action above the fold.
  3. The message must be about the recipient, not the sender. Always talk about ‘you’, never ‘we’. ‘You can stop the biofuels scandal’, not ‘We need you to stop the biofuels scandal’.
  4. Email content is a less-than-zero sum game. Talk about three different things, and you won’t get three times as much engagement. You won’t even get the same amount of engagement, split three ways. You’ll get less in total. One message ALWAYS trumps two.
  5. You have 3 seconds to convince someone to engage with your email. That’s all. If they read the first sentence, and they don’t know what you’re trying to tell them, they WILL delete your email.
  6. Never, ever write a boring or cryptic subject line. Questions, or teasing ambiguity, can be very effective. But if you don’t mention the basic subject matter, it will get ignored by your most important audience: the people who actually care about that issue.
  7. About a third of your readers will have their email set up so they only see the first 21 characters of the subject line. Frontload the best bit but don't try and cram everything in at the top.

What are your favorite email practices that have increased conversion rates?