It’s no secret that email is the most direct channel you have for a meaningful conversation with your online audience. But over and over again, we encounter an overarching problem: not utilizing your best digital tool to its full advantage.

Agencies, campaigns, and non-profits are all guilty of falling into these common pitfalls without addressing them head-on or even realizing they exist.

Where is your email actually going?

Your first battle in getting the user to convert is actually having your email land in the user’s inbox. The most engaging copy in the world won’t help a user convert if the majority of your emails end up in their spam folder or, worse yet, not deliver at all.

Winning the fight for the inbox isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it. Every aspect of your program — from your HTML templates to your domain health — can make an impact on your inbox placement. To have optimal deliverability, you need to focus on maintaining a regular frequency of engaging content, monitor your basic email metrics (unsubscribes, opens, clicks. etc), while constantly working and optimizing your domain and IP health. Inbox placement is the bedrock of a good email program and affects your overall email performance – whether you realize it or not.

Don’t forget about copywriting

Interns are great, but they are at your organization to learn. They shouldn’t be the experts on policies or dictating your communication strategy, so why are you having them draft your email copy? Our team, with over 20 years of experience in copywriting for campaigns, non-profits, corporations and more, still spends a considerable amount of time researching, testing, and tweaking email copy. Anyone can write an email, but it takes practice, skill, and experience to know what will make for a persuasive, engaging copy that motivates your user to convert.

Investing in skilled copywriters will elevate your email program, re-engage lapsed users, and potentially increase conversions. Users don’t usually sign up for an email program to give money; they sign up because they are interested in learning more about the product, campaign, or organization. Give the user what they want and write engaging copy that helps further your cause.

Save the cookie-cutters for the kitchen

The cookie-cutter approach to email simply doesn’t work. Each campaign or organization is different and your strategy should be crafted accordingly. Copy and strategy that works for a conservative campaign in a blue state will have a different effect on users in a purple or red state.

To get the most out of your list and increase your engagement, A/B testing is critical. You should know what type of content your audience will engage with, when they are most likely to open, and what type of ask will convince them to convert. Constantly test your own assumptions to ensure that you have the best possible strategy for your email program.

Invest and invest early

A successful program is dynamic; constantly adding new users, re-engaging inactive users, and optimizing for the audience. If you keep making the same ask of the same static group of people, it’ll get old fast and you’ll probably lose their attention – and most importantly their support.

It is vital to take a portion of your digital budget and invest in new email acquisition, both with list rentals and digital ads. While we love prospecting with list rentals, digital acquisition ads can prove especially valuable when breaking news hits. Moreover, building up your list and investing early will prove to be a valuable asset when you most need it. Users, having already gone through a welcome series, will be familiar with your campaign and organization and will either have previously converted or at the very least be more likely to engage.

Email shouldn’t be in a silo

Email is your most direct channel of digital communication with your audience, but we see it is often left in its own column – untouched by other departments or aspects of your campaign. To make your program successful, your story or message in an email should be reiterated on social media, direct mail, door-knocking, or any opportunity you have to interact with your supporter. It should work to amplify every other aspect of your campaign or organization – not against it, and not alone.