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There are a lot of surveys on the Internet that tell us who we are or what actor would most likely play us in a made-for-TV move about our life. Maybe your association has created one of these fun, social media viruses. If you have, kudos to you. It’s bound to be a hit.

Even though I’m in marketing, I do occasionally fall prey to their lure. I did on one recently that was developed as part of a book launch. While I had initial interest in the subject (leadership), incessant email blasts from the author have placed me on the fast train to unsubscribe.

In your zest to build an email database for your association, keep in mind that members (or perspective members) might not want to hear from you every day.

Finding the Email Sweet Spot

The key to successful email membership marketing is finding the email sweet spot, that number of emails that keeps you on your members’ (or prospects’) minds, without sending so many that they secretly hope your computers go down.

Finding the sweet spot is important for two reasons:

  • You want your members to think of you fondly and find your communication helpful and timely
  • You don’t want to get blacklisted as a spammer

Invite them to Unsubscribe

People who aren’t familiar with email blasts may take the easy way out and mark your email as spam in their email system instead of unsubscribing. This will negatively affect your standing as a sender that’s why many marketers make the unsubscribe button so prominent.

Another thing many do is to include a line about how the member came to subscribe.  For instance, “You are receiving this email because you subscribed to e-alerts from the Association of Email Marketers.”  

Give them Helpful Information: Fast and Often (but not too often)

The first email I received from my earlier example was very helpful, a suggestion for further reading on the topic that interested me. The emails proceeding it twice-daily for the past 3 days, not so much.

I’m not sure if the author’s intention was to give me meaningful information followed by lots of sales-y fluff, or if she thought that if she provided me one tidbit of goodness she was able to hammer me with things she wanted to talk about but knowing what your subscriber or member wants is essential.

They gave you their address as part of membership or to receive content. That gives you the right to contact them once with something you think they’ll find value in, not every day, multiple times a day of whatever you want them to know.

Pay attention to click-thru rates and opens. Watch your sending frequency and see if the open rate changes as you send emails more frequently. Track the kinds of emails that receive the highest open rate and change your sending patterns based on this data.

For now, they are your members or someone who is interested in your association. If you abuse the trust they put in you when they handed over their email, unsubscribe will be one of the kinder things they do.