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5 Email Tweaks that Boosted Alumni Volunteer Signups by 400%

· Alumni Relations,Career Services,tips and tricks

It's hard to imagine that 'tweaks' could have such a profound impact on the performance of an email campaign to alumni volunteers asking them to register an account. In a series of tests with five partner institutions, the following revisions to a baseline alumni newsletter template boosted click rates by 900% and registrations by 400%.

It's an art to balance writing a compelling campaign email, avoiding 'spamming' your alumni base, and creating a clear call to action.

Here are 5 quick updates you can make:

1. Ditch the newsletter template in favor of a 'personalized email' format

Think about how many 'newsletter template' emails you receive. Young alumni in particular are highly desensitized to reading this content. Regardless of how well-crafted your message is inside the email, you're asking for an instant 'archive'. See the baseline example below.

2. Include the first name of the recipient in the subject line

This is an especially quick win. Unlike companies spamming your alumni base, who have purchased email lists, you know their name. Put a personalization variable right in the subject line. That, combined with a template that makes your email feel like a personalized call to action, is a powerful combination.

3. Place a photo and signature of the sender at the end of the email

Put a face to the name! It's harder to say 'no' if the reader feels that there's a human on the other side making a compelling request of them.

4. Have one, clear call to action, and don't litter the email with too many buttons

Make a compelling ask. This is a great place to A/B test WHAT your ask is. We've had great success by making alumni feel like experts. For example: "We need your expertise! Click to join a community of experts in your industry." Or make the call to action compelling. When using Wisr, you can also leverage messaging about one-click LinkedIn signup. Example: "Sign in with LinkedIn in under 30 seconds".

5. If possible, use technology that enables an 'opt in' button without the need to fill out a separate form

This means, try to minimize the steps a person must take after an email click. Wisr has leveraged opt-in network emails that allow the user to activate their profile with one email click. If you're using this advice to build a survey email, try to capture the response with an email click, rather than sending the recipient to a form.

Below is the before and after from our tests, after sending nearly a million emails. The winning template is so simple, you may say 'that's it?" But, as Jim Henson said, "Simple is good."

Baseline 'Newsletter Template' Email

Original email example

Tweaked template

Tweaked email example
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