You probably read a lot about email best practices – when to email your members; what day, time, etc.

And while all of that is important (and definitely good to follow!), there’s something a little bigger we should all keep in mind, and that’s the context of our emails in relation to other emails.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you send an email out on Friday, which according to Informz’s new Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report, is one of the best days to send emails. And in that email, you ask your members to become volunteers.

No harm, no foul, right? Well yes, except…for many members, that’s the first time they’ve heard from you in one or two months.

Now that’s a problem. The first time you reach out to your members (in quite some time) should NOT be to ask for something. Not only does that leave a bad taste in people’s mouths, but the chances of you actually getting what you’re asking for (volunteers, dues renewals, etc.) are slim.

So the real question then is how can you avoid these email mishaps? How can you make sure you’re hitting your members at opportune times, rather than “digging the hole deeper,” so to speak?

Plan, plan, plan! Put together a strategy, even if it’s just handwritten, highlighting when you’re going to reach out to your members asking for something. There’s NOTHING wrong with asking your members for things (to volunteer, to renew their membership, to refer another member, etc.), but timing is KEY. That said, make a list of every time you’ll need to reach out to your members asking for something, then make sure you send them at least two valuable emails/pieces of information prior to that particular touchpoint. Not only will this prevent the “Huh? I haven’t heard from them in two months!” reaction, but it will actually boost the likelihood that people will respond.

Here’s an example of what that “plan” (whether formal or informal) might look like:

  • September – October
    • Send email re: Monthly newsletter
    • Send email re: New industry report
    • Send email re: Call for volunteers
  • November – December
    • Send email re: Monthly newsletter
    • Send email re: Roundup of industry news
    • Send email re: Dues renewal reminder

See how the two “asks” are padded with valuable content? That makes all the difference when it comes to perception and engagement. Membership is a two-way street, so you have to give in order to receive. But the good news is, your association has plenty to give! Just be mindful of when you’re giving and when you’re asking. (Again, timing is everything!)

Want more tips for engaging your members via email? Check out our free email marketing guide below!