Are your members experiencing email fatigue? How much email is too much?


Email fatigue is a real thing. In a marketing survey conducted in 2017, 74 percent of the respondents reported feeling overwhelmed by the amount of emails they receive. Association members are definitely included in this statistic, and your association is likely no stranger to email communication. After all, it seems as though there is always a survey to conduct, an event to promote or an important news item to share. All of these things should be communicated to your members, but email communication initiatives work best when they have been strategically planned, and an important part of that planning is limiting the amount of emails you send.

Define your communication goals

With more than 269 billion emails sent per day, your emails need to stand out amongst the pack. But before you can determine what to do in order to stand out, you must identify your association’s communication goals. Are you trying to increase attendance to an event or conference, or are you simply aiming to increase member engagement? Defining specific communication initiatives for your email campaigns can help your association achieve any communication goal. Although this initial step is important, it is normal for your association’s communication goals to fluctuate. Defining the most important communication categories will enable you to group similar communications together more effectively and avoid bombarding your membership with multiple emails. Every association has different goals and priorities, but here are some examples of potential email categories:

  1. Membership surveys
  2. Event and conference promotions
  3. Weekly newsletters
  4. Important announcements and new member welcome emails

Establish set sending times

Once you have defined the correct categories for your association, you can then designate a specific day of the week and time to send each type of email. Of course, there will be instances when you have special announcements that may be an exception, but for the most part, you shouldn’t be sending members more than one email per day. Determining just how many emails you should send per week, or month, can be tricky. The timing and frequency of your emails should be based on member engagement data from previous email campaigns or surveys. Although many believe Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best times of the week to send emails, the open rates depend on your membership and industry. Now that most people have the ability to check their emails at all times, a weekend send could be an ideal time to cut through the clutter and get your email seen.

Consolidate important information

A recent study found that associations that sent 10 or fewer emails per month had the highest average open rates. When members are inundated with emails, they will be much less likely to engage and may eventually stop opening your association’s emails altogether. Consolidating all association news into one email sent on a specific day of the week will allow all important news items to be shared at once and at an expected time. Include only the necessary information to avoid overloading your members with content. Long emails can overwhelm the recipient and risk being flagged as spam. Time-sensitive information and important announcements should be highlighted in the beginning of the email to ensure they are seen first. Your members are busy and don’t always have the time to sort through their inboxes to find the important information, so your message should be concise. Email marketing experts recommend limiting content to 300 words or less for maximum impact.

Your members are already overwhelmed by their email inboxes, but with clear communication goals in mind, you can avoid adding to the stress. Well-crafted emails will get your message across and keep your members engaged.

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