You know that feeling? When you write to your mailing list and someone unsubscribes? Your stomach turns, your eyes water up, and for a brief moment you consider e-mailing them to ask, “Why don’t you love me anymore?”
But remember, good fundraising isn’t about making everyone care about you…it’s about caring for the few that do.
Unsubscribing isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If the alternative is for someone to sit on your mailing list indefinitely, never engaging, never taking action, then wouldn’t you rather be rid of them? In fact, Jon Lloyd at Fundraising Is Awesome said recently, “you should think seriously about actively unsubscribing anyone who’s been inactive for 3 months or more.”
While you mull that over, here’s 4 ways you can reduce the chances of your active readers from unsubscribing:
- Be Human
The more human your e-mail sounds and appears, the less likely we are to unsubscribe. Nobody unsubscribes from humans…we unsubscribe from organisations. You can do this by writing from an individual e-mail address as opposed to an ‘info’ or ‘fundraising’ address. Consider sending plain text e-mails sometimes, or at least reducing the bells, whistles, images and excessive formatting (please stop centring your text). Read the content out loud before you send it…if it doesn’t sound like the way you speak then change it.
- Segment Your Data
Where possible, segment your data so you’re sending relevant content to relevant people. Or at least, suppressing people who have no interest in a particular mail. For example, I’m on the mailing list of a organisation because I went to their event in Dublin. I’m interested in future events taking place in Dublin. But they keep sending me e-mails about their events being run by their chapters in places like London and Yorkland and Sandwich-Upon-Time. The chances of me being there are slim to none. But if they do insist on trying to cross-sell me then they should tack it in as part of a mail I will be interested in: “Here’s the next Dublin event…and you might also be interested in these.” But instead they’re sending me mails wholly dedicated to non-local events. It just takes one of these irrelevant e-mails to nudge me to unsubscribe…and then I’m gone forever.
- E-mail When You Have Something To Say
Rather than deciding to e-mail once a week or once a month and then scrambling to find content, consider keeping a more flexible schedule where you e-mail when you have good content. When you send out fluff to meet a deadline, you’re sending sub-standard e-mails that encourage unsubscribes. And if you don’t have enough good content then let’s work to gather and create more.
- Offer Value
Always ask yourself, what value am I providing to the reader? Donor-centred and #DonorLove rules. If you’ve won an award or achieved something, consider why the reader should care. Try shifting the tone from “we have won an award” to “because of you we have won an award”, or even better, “your support has been recognised and we were privileged to pick up this award on behalf of you!”