Bringing back that loving feeling from your email list

first_imgI hear a lot about declining results for direct mail and flagging email open rates. Our outreach apparently is not sparking the passionate responses we want.Don’t our donors and prospects love us anymore? Why don’t they take our calls?If this is starting to sound like an “advice for the lovelorn” column, then that’s appropriate. As fundraisers, we’ve got a lot of the same problems as the people writing Abby. And I think our response-rate heartache is based in root causes that columnists like Abby or Amy or Carolyn so often cite. Really. The relationship we have with our donors and prospects is not transactional; it’s deeply human. When it goes wrong, it’s for the same fundamental reasons we may find strain in our other relationships, like taking someone for granted, not listening to their perspective, and neglecting to show them our feelings.Here’s my advice to the lovelorn, inspired by a column I once did for Fundraising Success.Dear Katya:My email list isn’t what it used to be. People aren’t listening to me anymore, and each time I ask for their help, they are less responsive. Why doesn’t my list love me anymore?–Despairing in DevelopmentDear Despairing,I suspect you’re getting the silent treatment for three reasons. First, you could be a stalker. Do you have permission to email your list? Are these people who’ve said they want to hear from you? If not, don’t expect them to greet your spammy self with open arms. Second, I suspect you’ve probably been taking some of your list for granted. Just because some people were once generous doesn’t mean you can keep asking for more and more. You need to be giving back – thanking that list and showing it a great time with fabulous stories about the great things it has accomplished. Make it feel loved. Third, are you really connecting with your list and its feelings, or are you just talking about yourself all the time? Nothing turns off a list like narcissism, and nothing turns it on like showing your emotional side and appealing to its perspective. My advice? Only reach out to your list when you have permission. Treat your list with great care and gratitude. Start a true conversation with your list and be responsive to its feelings. Good luck!–Katyalast_img

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