Email Marketing Tips for Sisterhoods

November 11, 2021Elisa Heisman

Are you in charge of sending out your sisterhood emails? Do you lose sleep over making sure those emails are the right combination of informative and engaging? Yeah, me too. 😊 

Although it seems like everyone gets their information from social media these days, email marketing is still the most effective way to engage with your target audience – your sisterhood members. Everyone uses email, and they check their inboxes all day long. So, when it comes to getting the word out, a solid email is the first tool in your communications toolbox to use. 

But how do we get people to open – and more importantly – read your emails? Here are some best practices to consider:

Be Creative with Your Subject Lines – Do your weekly emails start the same way every time? True, there is something to be said for reliability, but you also worked so hard on that email! The last thing you want is for it to be ignored or, worse - deleted. You want it to stand out among all the other emails in someone's inbox, so your subject line needs to shine through loud and clear. 

Personally, I think the more creative the subject line, the better the open rate. Recently, I wrote an email promoting the opening of WRJ’s online holiday auction. Do you remember the subject line? 

It was “Wake Up, Time to Shop!” 

Pop culture references are always a fun and engaging way to get noticed by your target audience. Another fun trick – use an emoji like a bright green right arrow to draw attention to the email. Or in the case of the auction, there is a perfect shopping bag emoji that fit the bill. 

The high open rate from that email proved to be worth the extra time to think of an enticing subject line. First impressions make all the difference when it comes to email marketing. And you don't want your email to send the wrong message.

Target your emails - Knowing your audience is key to your message. Before you write any content, think about who is reading your email. Are they engaged supporters or people who are on the fence about participating in sisterhood? If you are promoting a special event or a fundraiser, consider sending two separate, targeted emails. The first email can go to people who have shown interest in your event but haven't registered yet. Think about what will get them to register. Is there a story you can tell? Can you talk about the where the money is going and who it’s helping? And of course, how do you answer the question your reader is asking themselves – WIIFT - what's in it for them?!

The second email is for people who have already signed up to get them excited about the upcoming event and encourage them to invite their friends. Who is going to be there? Is there a program? If so, who is speaking? Participant emails are a great way to reach out to people who are already engaged and don't want to miss out on the latest update about the event they are attending.

Always Have a Call to Action - Do you want readers to donate, sign up for an event or take a survey? Make sure your call to action is visible to the reader. Specifically, don't just put a link in the body of the email and expect readers to find it. Create a button that they can't miss and use language like "Donate Today" or "Sign Up Here." Or come up with something creative like – “Save My Seat.” Make it as easy as possible for your readers to take that next step.

And let’s take a minute to talk about that dreaded five-letter word that makes us all break out into a sweat – typos. Here are some ways to avoid them in your emails. 

Print out your email – I frequently print out my emails and proofread them before sending them out to my targeted list. I can’t explain it – but 9 times out of 10, I find a typo that I didn’t see when I looked at the email on my screen multiple times.

Phone a friend – Send a test email to someone who has never seen it before and ask them to proofread it. Have them check the links to make sure they work. The more versions of an email I look at, the better the chances that my eyes may glaze over a simple mistake. Don’t do it alone – get another set of eyes on it. 

Read the email out loud to yourself – Reading aloud helps me catch typos all the time. Maybe I’m missing a word, or there is an awkward phrase that doesn’t sound right. Or perhaps I just used the same word or phrase in the paragraph before, and I don’t want to repeat myself.

Read the email backward – That’s right. Check spelling by reading the email from the bottom up, from the last sentence to the first. When you read the sentence on its own, the focus on spelling errors and sentence structures comes to light. 

Walk away – Take a break. Grab a cup of coffee. Go for a walk. And then go back and read it one more time for good measure before sending.

Check everything – Do all your links work, and do they go to the webpage you intended for people to see? Are your images clickable? 

Learn from your mistakes – If the inevitable typo does come to light, thank the person who pointed it out. Seriously, thank them. Be open to feedback from others to learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

What other email marketing tips can you think of to help us all with our sisterhood communications? E-mail me at eheisman@wrj.org and let me know!

Elisa Heisman is WRJ’s Manager of Marketing and Communications. She lives in Dresher, PA and is a member of Congregation Beth Or. She is also a complete geek when it comes to reading, writing, and all things communications. 

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