Make Your Bacn Taste Better


We think of email as a method to reach people. But most people see email from organizations and social networks (the notifications they send to email accounts) as bacn, an opt-in email that is just a notch above spam. So how do you make your bacn taste better?

A recent eBenchmarks study (hat tip, Katya Andresen) indicates quality is the most important aspect of email. “The quality of the emails you send, and the list you’re sending them to matter far more than anything else,” says authors Jonathan Benton and Steve Peretz.

Opt-in means you have a better chance than spam, but the communication has to clearly distinguish itself. There are several aspects to making an email rock your friends and supporters’ world, including message, authenticity, and headline writing.

What is the message (10 steps via NTEN here) you are trying to convey? Often, fundraisers and nonprofits ask, but don’t think this through completely. Is the list receptive to it? Are you including information they want, such as what their donation will be used for, results of past efforts? Have you told a compelling story?

There is an element to email that many people don’t talk about, and that is authenticity. People need to believe you care about your cause, in your story, and that your request or communication is sincere. That means getting real and providing depth to your email, some personal truths to it, which may not be ideal and pristine in the messaging world, yet will speak to people’s humanity.

Giving is an emotional exercise. You must continue to foster real bonds with people if you want email to work.

Finally, there is the element of copywriting. Writing a great headline is paramount to an email being opened. Without getting a great, active headline, your hopes of multiple percentages opening your email lies solely on your relationship with the recipients. Continuing with great copy helps turn bacn into the most savory morsel possible. A primary reason our competitors and friends at Crowdrise do well is because their site and emails are funny, even risque and edgy. But remember, copycatting others doesn’t make you authentic.

How do you make your social network and opt-in bacn/email better?