Best Practices for Sending Email

Writing a good email might be something that comes naturally to a lot of people on staff in your church or organization, but there are things that are often overlooked that may be preventing your people from even seeing the email that was written. When trying to maximize the impact of your email, consider these things to ensure that the email makes it to your congregation, is opened, and that they are able to engage with it and take a clear next step. 

 

1. Start each email with a clear and meaningful subject line.

Often times the subject is the very first thing people see when receiving an email. With that in mind, it is important that the Subject of the email is clear and to the point. Some people in your congregation may be receiving dozens of emails a day with subject lines that encourage click-bait or are clever but unclear. So as you compose your email subjects make sure to keep it simple and short. A good rule of thumb is to limit your subject to 40 characters or 6-7 words total. 

Many different channels are fighting for the attention of your congregation and, since most emails are being opened on mobile devices, screen space is important. Use your subject lines to let people know quickly that this email is worth reading. 

 

2. Make it personal

Some mass email tools allow you to insert recipients’ names into the email greeting automatically, but some churches don’t use them. Instead, they write a general salutation or don’t start with any greeting at all.

Personalizing your greeting is incredibly important. People want to feel like you’re speaking directly to them. This is particularly important for church audiences, where you want to encourage two-way conversation and keep recipients from feeling like a nameless cog. 

Fortunately, your ChMS Database has tools readily available to make sure that you are able to personalize each message! To learn more on how to do this you can check out our "Mass Contact - Email" article!

Some other ways to make your emails personal include...

  • Carefully choose and target the groups of people the emails are going to. This will ensure that each email you send goes to the correct audience.
  • Utilize the @NAME and @FULLNAME feature within your emails. 

 

3. Avoid Email/Link overload

Be aware of how many emails are being sent out regularly. If too many emails are sent out, the chances of those emails being opened and carefully read goes down. Emails should contain all of the needed information in one message. This will help your recipients have one central email to refer back to.

The same is true for links included within your email. Including links is a good thing! However, too many links can be confusing and not helpful. A good rule of thumb when including links is to include the ones that really need to be there. It is a subtle but important difference between an email saying "Check out this link" vs. "Check out these links." Including only one important link increases the chances that your recipients will follow the call to action and click your link. 

If you have a recurring email, like a weekly update, schedule it to send at a specific day and time. You recipients will appreciate the timely manner in which they are sent out and will know when to expect certain important communications. 

 

4. Always make sure the email has a clear purpose and a clear action step

Two helpful questions to ask when composing your email are:

  1. Why is this recipient receiving this email?
  2. What action step would I like them to take after reading this email?

These questions help you step into the shoes of your recipient and help you provide clarity. Begin your email with a personalized greeting, include a concise explanation of the reason for the email, then close with a call to action or next step. 

For example, if a pastor is sending an email to a group of new church attenders to encourage them to consider attending a small group, a good email might include:

  • A personal introduction and greeting
  • Acknowledgement of why they are receiving the email
  • Introduction of next step or call to action and the information needed
  • Why the call to action or next step is important

 

5. Regularly update the contact information of your congregation

On the Mass Contact landing page, you will have access to email statistics. These will allow you to analyze how your recipeients are engaging with your emails. Perhaps the most important statistic that you will be able to track will be the Hard Bounce category. Having access to this will allow you to see which recipients are not receiving your emails and why they are not receiving them. 

It is a good idea to follow-up with people who are consistently not receiving your emails and update their contact information. Commons reasons for hard bounces includes incorrect emails, invalid emails, blocked emails or the recipient has unsubscribed from your communications. 

As a church or an organization this could serve to be an opportunity to connect with your recipients and make updating your contacts so much more personal!