Email MarketingEmail marketing has long been the mainstay of an association’s marketing plan, but is it still effective? The popularity of smart phones and tablets has made email readily accessible, but has also created some challenges. To be most effective you’ll need to do a little research to determine how and when your members read their email, and what type of content is most likely to engage them. Lori Ely, Marketing Manager at Informz, Inc. says, “Behavior is huge and understanding what your individual members are doing in your emails, both on desktop and mobile, will help in creating the right strategy.” You can accomplish this fairly easily using analytics technology offered by most email marketing systems.

Ms. Ely offers the following tips for keeping your email campaigns relevant and effective:

  1. Utilize data you’ve collected from your members such as preferences, past behavior — both in purchasing and activity — in your emails. Don’t wait until your members complain. Be proactive. Use the technology that is widely available today for tracking and analyzing your email campaigns.
  2. Avoid email fatigue by segmenting your database. Blasting emails to everyone on your list and hoping you get a few members to take action will likely backfire. Targeting your emails to appropriate members is key to building trust among your subscribers.
  3. Ask the right questions. How can we make email more personal? Are our members reading on a desktop or a mobile device? Do we really need to send six emails for one course? How can we do more with less?
  4. Pay attention to mobile. Be aware of the limited time individuals have while reading on a mobile device and adjust your content length to encourage engagement quicker. Learn and understand the behaviors of those accessing your content on mobile devices. Think about what your call to action really is. Can they register from their phone, or do you include an option to receive an alert to remind them later when they return to their desk?

Many associations are taking notice of Ms. Ely’s advice and revamping their email marketing to meet the needs of their members. Here are a few examples of associations that made significant changes to their email marketing strategy to become more effective:

Toy Industry Association, Inc. – revamped their weekly newsletter through testing, re-engagement strategy and design.

Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association – transformed their monthly newsletter into a mobile-friendly version based on utilizing data to identify those who read on a mobile device.

The American Political Science Association – improved their customization of messaging by utilizing behavioral marketing.

The success of any email marketing strategy begins with understanding your members’ preferences and how to best engage them. Tracking and analyzing your email campaigns and utilizing behavioral marketing concepts will help to achieve a better response rate and more effective communication with your members.