When email pitching, less can lead to more

Fundraising consultants often stress that simplicity is key in email pitches. President Obama famously raised the most money from his 2012 e-solicitations with the subject line: "hey." But keeping it simple isn't just about copywriting. It applies to list targeting, too.

Brett Schenker, a deliverability specialist at NGP VAN, advises emailing less people to get a higher response rate. Why? Because if a campaign blasts its whole list, it'll likely hit so-called "spam trap" emails, which could send their solicitation to the spam folders of other recipients.

"The greater your email success, the less likely you wind up in spam jail," he writes on NGP VAN's website

Schenker cites this example: "When a campaign came to me with deliverability issues, I noticed around 45 percent of their email list had either never opened or clicked an email, or hadn’t done so in over nine months. 

"I advised them to remove those individuals from their active sending list. By doing so, they reduced their list by 40 percent. Soon after their open rate increased by 10 percentage points and their click rate increased by a few percentage points. The number of raw opens and clicks increased after shrinking their list and they were raising more money. In short, they were sending to fewer individuals but their email campaigns were more successful."


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