Turn to Data to Spring Clean Your Member Emails

Looking to effectively consolidate the number of emails going to your members? Analyzing your email data can help provide an in-depth view of how many emails your association sends out and if they’re reaching the target audience.

With spring well underway, it’s a good time for a deep clean. One area for associations to refresh is their member emails, according to association pros who commented on recent conversations in ASAE’s Collaborate community [member log-in required].

“Sending out emails is what associations do,” said Cheré LaRose, director, member and candidate communications, at the Society of Actuaries (SOA). “Emails have a strong and compelling return on investment, but there is a tipping point where that ROI starts to decline the more emails you send. Think about it another way, having two pizza slices is great, but if you eat the whole pie, you may never want pizza again.”

If your members are in danger of email fatigue, it may be time to consolidate. Reducing your emails helps members get the information they need without feeling overwhelmed.

In March, SOA consolidated its emails by launching a new weekly member communication focused on professional development opportunities. LaRose anticipates the consolidation will reduce email output by 25 to 30 percent per year and increase open rates by 15 to 20 percent.

Email data was key to the process for SOA. The association analyzed and mapped the data using its email system to determine how much email, on average, members received from all departments.

LaRose shared how associations can use this data to not only paint a clearer picture of their current email marketing strategy but also refine the process to reduce email fatigue and improve engagement.

Data as Cleaning Solvent

LaRose recommends associations conduct an email audit to examine existing emails and determine what’s working and what isn’t. Throughout the process, try to put yourself in the shoes of the recipient.

“I like to audit emails for type and recipient,” she said. “It’s something any organization can do regardless of size.”

To keep it simple, look at the emails that went out to promote a recent meeting. Then take a contact from your audit and look through how many email lists they were on for that meeting: was it just one or do they show up on every list? The data can help associations determine how many emails members are receiving annually, monthly, weekly, and even daily.

“Analyzing the data can help reveal patterns and opportunities to consolidate messages; it can show you the forest for the trees,” LaRose said. “We found that 30 percent of our emails were coming out of our professional development department alone. The data was what we needed to make a case for email reduction and consolidation.”

Spruce and Shine With Staff Buy-In

Though LaRose was concerned about getting SOA’s staff on board with the decision to consolidate their emails, once that team saw the data, it was a no brainer for them.

“It’s difficult not to empathize with your members when the data is right in front of you,” LaRose said. “Everyone experiences email fatigue, so it’s not a difficult leap.”

Data also helps illustrate that members aren’t connecting with the products and messaging staff have been creating. If there’s a disconnect, members are less likely to open an email, register for a meeting, or engage with a product. When staff understand the problem, they’re more likely to work toward a solution that benefits members and the association.

After the conversation, SOA was able to create and roll out the professional development newsletter over the next three months. LaRose intends to get feedback on the newsletter during the next member sentiment survey in June. But in the meantime, it’s already a victory for staff.

“People are really proud of how well and how quickly we pulled off the newsletter,” LaRose said. “Through this process, we’re showing staff and members that we care about the content that goes out, and we’re willing to put the time and effort into it.”


Hannah Carvalho

By Hannah Carvalho

Hannah Carvalho is Senior Editor at Associations Now. MORE

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