Email marketing. Such a tricky business. You’re trying to communicate with your members and key constituents, and you assume they want to hear from you (because they got involved in your organization in the first place), but…

Crickets! Where ARE your members? Why aren’t they responding to/engaging with your emails?

Well, it could be due to a number of things, but here are two of the biggest problems association professionals run into when it comes to email marketing, and more importantly, solutions for each:

Problem #1: “Our members aren’t reading our emails, even though we’re sending valuable content and information.”

You wouldn’t be sending an email if you didn’t have a reason – to provide your members with valuable content, inform them of an upcoming event, etc. So then if that’s the case, why aren’t your members actually reading those emails? Isn’t that why they joined your organization – to reap the benefits?

Well take a step back for a second. Think about some of the emails you receive, but don’t necessarily read. Maybe they’re from a store, or another organization, even. They must be valuable if you choose not to unsubscribe, and yet, you don’t read them (at least not at first).

Could your members be in a similar boat? If your members AREN’T reading your organization’s emails, it could be due to the following:

  • Your members don’t know the value that’s inside – Your members may be getting your emails, but maybe they’re not reading them because they don’t really understand the value that’s inside. That’s where the subject line comes into play. Are your subject lines indicative of what’s inside? For example, let’s say your association puts together a weekly newsletter to keep members in the loop about industry news and trends. That’s valuable! Your members are faced with so much information nowadays that your organization sorting through that information and pulling out what’s important is a BENEFIT for members. Let your members know that. Have your subject line be something like, “We cut the noise out for you. News you NEED to know.” Letting your members know the value you’re providing is a huge win – not just for your email opens, but for your association as a whole.
  • Your members are busy, and you’re hitting them at a bad time – Your members may genuinely WANT to read your emails. But, like you, they’re busy. If you’ve been sending emails at 3 p.m. on Mondays, but opens and click-throughs have been consistently low, try playing around with other days/times. Let’s say you try it on Tuesdays and opens are a little bit better – but not by much. If that’s the case, try Tuesdays at 9 a.m. The more you experiment, the more you’ll start to learn – and the more you’ll be able to improve your association’s email communications.

Problem #2: “Our members seem to be reading our emails, but they’re not taking any kind of action.”

Let’s say your members ARE reading your emails, but they’re not taking any kind of action. You want them to check out a new blog post or register for your upcoming webinar, but days after sending out an email, views and registrations are still low. What gives?

Again, there’s no hard and fast answer, but try the following:

  • Include what’s “in it” for the member – Let’s say you want your member to register for an upcoming webinar. Well, be sure to state what’s in it for them – industry best practices, takeaways they can easily implement at work, etc. If your members can clearly see what they’ll get out of it, they’ll be more inclined to take that action.
  • Repeat and highlight what you want them to do – For the most part, people scan emails. We like to think people read them, but really, it’s just a bunch of scanning. That said, make your emails – and calls-to-action, specifically – scannable. Going back to the webinar example: Include a “Register here” link at least two times – to boost the chances of someone actually clicking on it. Also, try making that CTA (the call-to-action) bold or designing it in a different color. The more it stands out, again, the more likely people are to actually click on it.

Want more tips for ensuring your emails get opened, read, and acted upon? Check out our free guide, Best Practices for Email Marketing, below!