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6 Online Engagement Hacks for Association Professionals

6 Online Engagement Hacks for Association Professionals

Member engagement is top-of-mind for most association professionals. But when it comes to actually making that happen, well, roadblocks often occur. Sometimes what we THINK will appeal to members and potential members doesn’t, and we’re left scratching our heads.

Engagement is tough - we get it. So to help you out, we’ve put together six online engagement hacks for association professionals:

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6 Ways to Supercharge Your Association’s Newsletter

Posted by Callie Walker

Supercharge Your Newsletter.jpg

So you have a newsletter and it’s filled with some pretty valuable information, but people aren’t really opening it or engaging with it the way you’d like. What gives?

Well there could be a number of things impacting your newsletter readership, but the good news is there are several things you can do to revamp (ahem, supercharge) it and bring it back to life:

1. Keep the design simple

When you hear the word “supercharge,” you probably think “more,” but in the case of newsletter design, less really is more. Sure it’s nice to have some pictures and maybe a nice header and footer, but aside from that, don’t go too crazy with design. First, some people have their email image settings turned off, meaning if you send them a heavily designed email, it won’t look as nice on their end. But second, heavy design can be overwhelming, and it can take away from your newsletter copy - which is the most important part of your association's newsletter.

2. Think of your copy as “teasers”

It’s easy to want to pack your newsletter with information - you want your members to know EVERYTHING that’s going on. But your newsletter shouldn’t be a duplicate of your association’s website. It should be more of a flyer - to quickly disseminate information, make announcements, and get your members excited for what’s to come.

That said, think of your copy as teasers. If you have a section promoting your upcoming meeting or event, write about the basics (what, when, where), but then include a link to learn more/register. Similarly, if you want to include a blog post, don’t feature the entire post. Instead, pull one or two paragraphs and link back to the full post, should members want to read more.

Structuring your copy like this is important for two reasons: First, it makes your newsletter scannable, which is exactly what you want in any type of email. But second, it encourages your members to take action. If you can get them from your newsletter to your website (whether it’s to register for an event or read more from your blog), you’re getting them to engage with your association - and that’s huge!

3. Switch up your topics from month to month (or quarter to quarter)

The thing about newsletters is it’s easy for them to get stale. If you feature the same topics/sections every month, readers are likely to drop off and not open them because they already know what will be included.

Now there are only so many topics you can cover in your association’s newsletter, so don’t feel like it has to be vastly different every single month or quarter. But do consider playing around with topics and trying out new things to keep your newsletter fresh and your members on their toes.

For a few content ideas, check out our post 15 Content Ideas for Your Association’s Newsletter.

4. Make it about your members

So often, association’s make their newsletters about them (what they’re up to, what they’re working on, etc.), and to an extent, that’s reasonable - and understandable. But to boost readership, try framing your copy in a way that’s more about your members than it is you. For example, if you’re talking about your upcoming event, instead of saying “It’s our biggest event of the year” and “We’ve been doing this since 1975,” focus more on what your members will get out of it. Maybe include quotes from previous attendees or pictures of what members will get to see and experience. The more you make it about them, the more they’ll resonate (and engage with) your copy.

5. Make an effort to showcase your association’s personality

Your newsletter houses a lot of opportunity, and one of those opportunities is to showcase your association’s personality. Think about how many emails you get in a day. Well your members get just as many, and if they get another stale, boring email from your association, they’re less likely to read it/engage with it. On the flip side, if you’re able to make that copy a little fun and throw in some real personality (when appropriate), people are more likely to read it, and not only that, but look forward to it every month or quarter.

*Note: Not everything has to be a joke. If you do that, it becomes less special. But if you are able to throw in some personality, it makes it seem like it’s coming from a person, rather than a big or faceless organization.  

6. Make it mobile

Last but not least, it’s CRUCIAL that your newsletter is mobile. According to MovableInk’s latest U.S. Consumer Device Report, 73 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device. So if your newsletter isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s likely to wind up in the trash.

To make your newsletter mobile-friendly, try using a mobile-optimized template. And remember, always send yourself a test first!

Want more tips for sending emails at your association? Check out our free guide, Best Practices for Email Marketing, below!

Best Practices for Email Marketing

Topics: association management, member engagement, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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