Email. So great in theory, but sometimes, so difficult in execution. You HAVE all of your members’ email addresses, so why is it so difficult to actually communicate with them via email? (We’re talking high open rights, high click-through rates, low (if any) unsubscribes - the whole nine yards.)
Well, there’s no easy answer to this. But there ARE a few best practices. Check out these three ways to engage your members via email:
1. Be enthusiastic about your messages
Ideally, you want your members to be excited about your association’s communications. You want them to see an email from you and think, “Oh, that’s from XYZ! I wonder what that’s all about.” [Clicks open]
But here’s the thing: In order to generate that type of excitement, it has to first come from you. If you want your members to be excited about an upcoming event, YOU have to be excited about that upcoming event - and you have to convey that through your email communications.
Now I know that sounds difficult, but really, it’s all about showcasing a little personality. If you can be lighthearted, be lighthearted. If you can add a little humor, add a little humor. (But only do this if and when appropriate. You are a professional organization, after all.) See, it’s much easier to blow off an email from a company/organization than it is from an individual person. So the more personality you’re able to insert in your association’s email communications, the more likely your members are to actually engage with those messages.
2. Give them a next step
If you want your members to engage with your emails, you need to give them a way to engage with your emails. There needs to be some kind of next step.
Enter calls-to-action. Calls-to-action (or CTAs) are words or phrases, such as “click here” or “register today,” that try to provoke an immediate response. If you’re upfront about what you want your members to do, they’re more likely to actually do it. (And regardless of what type of email you’re sending, you want them to do something.)
Now an important note about CTAs: In order for them to be effective, they need to be clear. If your CTA is buried at the bottom of an email, your members may not even see it. That said, consider making your CTA bold or placing it in a different color to really give it some edge. You may even want to repeat that CTA a few times throughout your email copy. Again, the more your members see it, the more likely they are to actually follow through with it. (And action = engagement.)
3. Think of email as a tool - and use it semi-sparingly
Rather than thinking of email as something you have to do, think of it as a tool - as an opportunity to engage your association’s membership. But like any tool, it has its time and place. The key to engaging your members via email is understanding that time and place.
See, if you email your members with information that isn’t necessarily valuable or important, they’ll start to tune you out. It’s kind of like crying wolf, but via email. That said, if you use email semi-sparingly and only when you have something valuable and important to share, your members will take notice. And when they do see an email from your association come in, they’ll know it’s something worth reading.
Now there’s obviously a lot more to email than this. What about design? And subject lines? And timing?
For a full deep-dive into association email marketing, check out our free guide, Best Practices for Email Marketing, below!