Optimizing Your Emails for Maximum Member Engagement
Before you determine the best marketing metrics for you to track, it is important to establish how you will measure success for your email engagement strategy.
You need to select a specific goal that your association can track. An example of a specific goal is “We want to increase our opens and clicks by 10% in 90 days”. After determining the strategy and specific goals, you can select the best metrics for measuring a successful email engagement, like delivery rate, open rate, and click rate.
Forming an Effective Email Strategy
A recent Benchmark Report from SendGrid showed that there has been a sharp increase in overall email open rates, but click rates have remained stagnant. Translated, organizations are doing a better job of using interesting subject lines to get people to open the email, but their content falls flat, so the reader never takes the next step.
The study cites an email open rate of 18 percent, up almost 4 points from 14.6 percent in 2017. However, the click rate inside these emails has shown very little movement, only increasing to 2 percent from 1.7 percent the prior year.
What can you do to drive this engagement via our email services?
Increasing Your Engagement Rate
While investigating the issues with email metrics for the 2017 Informz benchmark study, they made some interesting discoveries. The report stated that in 2016, the number of emails that were sent through marketing automation campaigns increased by 70%.
These automated messages are highly customized emails sent to precise target groups. The email
The key to this increase of subscriber engagement was delivering relevant content based on the individual member’s activity and engagement with an association’s services. An important part of pinpointing how these members interact with our services is treating them as individuals rather than a single group.
Customization Through the Creation of Membership Segments
The most effective way to reach your members with the type of content that really matters to them is to find out who these individuals members are, and what they want. Presenting your members with content that is pertinent to their values is a great way to increase opens and clicks on your emails.
Consider the following as potential segmentations you might divide your members into;
- Executives or middle managers
- Groups with similar interests based on age or interaction
- Segments based on geographic location; city, state or country
- Segments based on membership status (new members, fellow, student, corporate membership)
Tips to Increase Your Open Rates
Knowing which methods of interaction are effective is equally important as knowing your members. In order to increase email engagement, it’s vital that associations speak to their members’ needs, values, and interests. That means refining the email content.
Think of your email’s subject lines as your first line of defense. Subject lines with less than 10 characters have the highest open rates. Entice your members to open your email without bombarding them with all of the information you have to offer.
Using between 3-7 links in your email has shown to garner greater click rates on average than those using more or less. This is your “Goldilocks zone” for interaction. You want to provide enough extracurricular information without overwhelming.
Also, consider what time your members will receive these emails. Emails sent in the late afternoon have the highest open rates. This makes sense, as emails sent in the morning can easily get lost in your member’s email list as they begin their day. Reach your members when they are ready to receive your information.
Rethinking Your E-Newsletter
We live in a world that is full of digital marketing. We do not want our members to feel they are being harassed, we want them to feel like they are being served. So how do you decide what content to provide them with?
Eli Shtraikker, Chief Technology Officer of InLoop advises that a simple google search for trending topics is no longer good enough to determine the content for your members.
We can agree that we collect far too much data for humans to sift through. By leveraging AI technology, you are using predictive search and dozens of data parameters to evaluate the content for your members. This is the most effective tool to determine what kind of information you want to relay in your e-newsletter.
Engaging Members with Refined Content
Provide a mixture of informational and sponsorship content. We need to create revenue, but if that appears to be our only interest, it will surely drive some people to unsubscribe from your newsletter.
Utilize AI-powered platforms to curate relevant third party content for your members. Relevant content is going to drive your engagement, and if done effectively can increase the number of subscribers you have.
Send fewer emails to each member. Again, we do not want our members to feel overwhelmed. The most effective newsletters are the most concise ones. Provide your members with the information they want and need, and leave the superfluous content out of the equation.
Consider offering e-newsletter subscriptions to non-members. This can be a great way of showing people outside of your association what you have to offer. Ideally, this will result in an increase in member recruitment.
Send your e-newsletter outside of your regular frequency. Receiving your newsletter on the same day at the same time can leave some members feeling like you’re not offering anything new. Newsletter email campaigns sent outside of normal delivery times provide a sense of specialty or urgency. These campaigns have shown a click rate that is four times higher than ones sent at regulated times.
An Email Campaign for Today’s World
Consider this your call to action. Our members are constantly receiving information in our world that is increasingly connected. We receive new information from social media, news outlets, and a variety of other sources. So to serve our members properly, we need to make sure that our interactions don’t become lost in the void of the information age.
Refining your association’s email campaign strategy is a great step to maximize member engagement. Take some time to make a specific goal and take specific steps to increase the effectiveness of your member interactions.