4 Misconceptions About the Value of Association Email Newsletters (And Why They’re Wrong)
There is no question association members these days are busier than ever. Whether they’re running a small business, attending trade shows and conferences, or just trying to enjoy a decent meal with their family, they are always on the go. This presents quite a hurdle for association executives who are considering how to hit members with all of the important information they have to share. Sure, you can (and should) utilize your social media channels to increase awareness and retention, but for information that needs more than 140 characters of explanation, or takes more time to digest, email newsletters are a better way to go.
But sometimes misconceptions come up that imply email newsletters aren’t that valuable to associations. We debunked four of these below to show why they’re just plain wrong – so that you and your members don’t miss out on the benefits that come from pressing the “send” button.
1. “Email is SO five years ago.” – WRONG!
According to Adobe Campaign’s second annual consumer email survey email is still the alpha channel. Even though there is more noise in all of our inboxes, and despite growth in mobile apps, social media, and text – the inbox still hails as king. The survey also found that year-over-year, time spent checking email has increased 17 percent, with smartphones overtaking computers as the preferred device for sending and receiving email.
2. “Emails look weird on smartphones.” – WRONG!
They don’t have to. Responsive design is not necessarily a recent trend, but it’s definitely one that we’ve seen take more of a hold in recent years. Responsive design allows websites, emails and any other piece of digital communication to fit itself to any size screen, making it extremely mobile friendly, i.e. member friendly.
By adjusting to whatever screen the reader is using, your message is not going to run off the page or be so small that it’s illegible. Therefore, just like the potential success B2C communications can see with responsive design, association communications, too, can greatly benefit from this trend. Plus, with the recent news of Gmail finally embracing the responsive movement, associations would be remiss not to capitalize on the opportunity to hit even more member inboxes with important news and association updates.
“Knowing just how busy people are these days, coupled with the ever-changing technology we face, it is more important than ever to reach your members wherever they may be,” said Colby Horton, MultiView’s executive vice president of publishing. “Responsive design, by definition, responds to how your members prefer to digest news and information. By having a responsive email newsletter, you give yourself an even greater chance of reaching your members where they want to be reached, and that, in turn, could result in more webinar registrations, more event attendance, and possibly even more recruitment and retention.”
3. “Well, our members don’t like to read their news.” – WRONG!
A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that younger people, specifically millennials, actually prefer reading their news to watching it, while the older generations tend to be more interested in watching the news. What does this mean? It means you can appeal to both groups in one fell swoop. For millennials, you can hit them directly in their inbox (which they’ll read on their smartphones) with their daily/weekly helping of pertinent industry news, and for the boomer members, you can simply use short video clips that can be linked to from your e-newsletter. For example, you could lead with the headline of, “Association President Has an Important Message for Members” or “Click to See the Executive Board Behind the Scenes at the Upcoming Tradeshow.”
4. “You really can’t offer members much with email.” – WRONG!
As mentioned above, email gives you the opportunity to elaborate on items that may get lost on the association website or in the fast pace of social media. Therefore, daily, weekly or monthly newsletters are great for a variety of different messages, including:
- Industry News – Current events that play a role in or have an effect on the lives of your members.
- News You Can Use – Articles from the experts regarding the latest research in professional fields.
- Event Announcements – Registration reminders, keynote and education updates, venue/hotel information, etc.
- Member Highlights – Spotlighting member businesses, highlighting membership anniversaries, etc.
- Member Recruitment – Member benefit information, member testimonials, membership specials, etc.
- Member Retention – Renewal dates, member referral information, member-get-a-member promotions, etc.
- Job Postings – Career center listings, resume submissions, etc.
- Professional Development Updates – Education event calendars, webinar reminders, etc.
These are just a few ideas of ways to utilize an email newsletter, but as long as the information is relevant, engaging, timely and consistent, you should see great success using association email newsletters to communicate with your membership and potential members.