A successful email campaign is one that results in opens, clicks, and further engagement with your audience. You don’t want your beautifully crafted emails ( Email Marketing ) to sit in recipients’ inboxes unread.
When sending email campaigns to members of a community group, trade association, or other organization with members, you will encounter a different set of advantages and challenges than if you were sending emails to customers or leads.
We’ll be sharing 7 strategies for community groups, trade associations, and other organizations with paid members, that want to better engage their audience using email marketing: –
Seasoned email marketers won’t be surprised to hear that personalization is key for engagement. We know that addressing a recipient by their name vastly increases their chances of opening the email.
But a name in a subject line isn’t the only way to personalize a members-only email campaign — not when you have an entire membership CRM of information to pull from.
To show your members that you deeply value their place in your community, make specific references to their time as a member of your emails. You can nod to:
- Membership level
- Events attended
- Merchandise purchased
- Upcoming birthday
- Local events
- Membership renewal deadline
Pay careful attention to timing
One of the major contributions to email marketing fatigue is volume. If you send too many emails, no matter how engaging they are, you’ll notice your open, click, and response rates decline.
Combatting volume-induced email marketing fatigue doesn’t require you to stop sending emails. Instead, it requires more careful attention to timing.
Luckily, when sending email campaigns to participants in a membership program, you’ve got your choice of appropriate times to choose from, such as:
- During a membership drive
- When individual memberships are up for renewal
- Leading up to an event, conference, or important capital campaign
- When your association is being recognized with an award
- Around their birthday or holidays
- At the beginning of tax season, for nonprofit memberships
Email campaigns sent to members around these times won’t seem strange! In fact, because your members might expect to see emails from you during these times, they will be more receptive to opening and engaging with them.
Offer incentives via email marketing
Why do we get so excited about unwrapping presents? It’s because we know there’s something amazing, picked out just for us, waiting inside where we can’t see it.
You can capture that same sense of excitement by offering special incentives for members in your emails. Your members are sure to anticipate your emails if they know that they could lead to:
- Discounts on online purchases
- Free, limited-run, branded gifts
- Early registration to popular events
- Invitations to special events
- Customized recommendations
- Who wouldn’t look forward to those emails?
Share relevant news
You know that you need to keep your association in the front of your members’ minds, which requires you to send regular emails. But what if you can’t think of anything to say? You can’t just send an email that says, “Remember us?”
Instead, send relevant news articles about topics that your members are interested in.
You don’t even have to guess at the topics that your members would like to see! You know that they’re interested in your association and your cause, so tailor the news you share with those preferences in mind.
Sending relevant, interesting news articles doesn’t just engage your members because it reminds them that your association exists — these kinds of emails also establish your association as an authoritative source of information.
Design emails so that they’re on brand and easy to read
Visually interesting emails are always sure to encourage more engagement than text-heavy emails. Humans are visual!
However, if you load up your emails with tons of high-resolution images, videos, and interactive elements, you can waste too much time with a design that’s likely to distract recipients from the point you’re trying to make.
Plus, too many multimedia elements can slow load times, increasing the number of recipients who give up instead of waiting.
There are a few elements of great email design that apply specifically to email campaigns sent to your members:
Branding: Reinforce where the email is marketing coming from by using the logo, name, and colors of your association.
Personalization: You have the information to personalize your emails with your members’ names and other personal information, so use it!
Calls to action: Whether you’re asking for membership renewal, a donation, a reply, or an RSVP, make sure your members know what action you want them to take.
Great email design isn’t easy, but it’s one of the most effective tools you have to encourage your members to not only open but read and engage with your messages.
Integrate your social media
Chances are good your association has a profile on at least one social media platform. Social media is one of the most engaging communication channels out there if you use it well.
With the best email marketing platforms, you have the opportunity to integrate your social media accounts with your email campaigns. You’ve got plenty of integration opportunities to choose from:
Link to your profiles in your email’s header and footer.
Include a “follow” button in your email’s header, footer, or body.
Embed a particular post in your email’s body.
Share a social media poll for your members to respond to.
Promote a hashtag for your followers to use.
Ask members to share a post or article on their own pages.
The best social media integration strategies are the ones that make it easy for participants. You’re asking your members to go out of their way, so make the process as simple as possible.
Take a popular example: an advocacy campaign. If you’re encouraging participation in a social media advocacy campaign (Email Marketing), write a message that members can simply copy and paste into their own profiles, and give them easy “follow” buttons to follow your association for updates on the campaign.
There are many other ways in which email-social media integration can push your advocacy campaign forward— for more on that, head on over to Salsa’s advocacy campaign planning steps.
Give opportunities for feedback
Engagement is a two-way street. You can’t ask the world of your members without giving something back.
Asking for feedback is an easy and effective way to engage your members while shouldering some of the perceived efforts.
Conduct your surveys and polls so that they will be useful for both you and your members, at times such as:
- After an event
- At the end of the calendar year
- Before a big campaign
During a membership drive
- Around membership renewal deadlines