You probably read a lot about email best practices, particularly in terms of the timing of your emails. What days of the week are the best to send an email? What times of day are best?

It never hurts to know that information, but it’s also important to consider another timing-related factor, and that’s the context of your emails in relation to other emails.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you send your members an email on a Thursday, which according to HubSpot, is the best day for email opens. (Not necessarily the best day for click-throughs though, which is interesting.) And in that email, you ask your members to volunteer for a committee position. 

Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, no, except…let’s say for many members, that’s the first time they’ve heard from your association or chamber in one or two months.

Now that’s a problem. 

The first time you reach out to your members (in a fairly lengthy period of time) should NOT be to ask for something. Not only can that leave a bad taste in people’s mouths, but the chances of you actually getting what you’re asking for (volunteers, event registrations, etc.) are slim. (Unengaged members aren’t likely to give up their time and money.) 

So, how can you ensure those types of mishaps (Those “Whoops, I’m asking them to renew, but I haven’t had contact with them in a month” moments) are kept to a minimum? 

Plan, plan, plan! 

The best solution here is to create an email marketing plan. Or better yet, an email marketing calendar. What’s going out when…and to who? (The “who” is particularly important if you do a lot of email segmentation.) 

Now this doesn’t have to be an elaborately-designed calendar by any means. It could be as simple as line items in a Word document. What’s important, though, is that all of your communications for the month (monthly planning is best) are in one place, allowing you to analyze both the frequency of your emails and the messaging. 

And here’s what we mean by analyzing the messaging: How many of your emails are giving your members something (content with best practices, for example) versus asking your members for something (to volunteer for a committee, let’s say)?

You should always strive to give more than you ask. But here’s a tip: When you do ask (because don’t get us wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking your members to do things — that’s how you get them to engage!), just make sure you’re padding those asks with gives. 

Below is an example of what that padding might look like on your email marketing calendar: 

  • February 
    • Send email re: Monthly newsletter 
    • Send email re: New industry report
    • Send email re: Call for volunteers
  • March
    • Send email re: Monthly newsletter
    • Send email re: Roundup of industry news
    • Send email re: Conference registration open (Register today!)

See where the importance of planning comes into play? By adding value regularly via your communications, you’re much more likely to get the engagement you’re looking for when you most need it. 

As you’ve heard before, timing really is everything. 

For more tips surrounding effective email marketing, check out our free guide below!