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Email marketing is an essential approach for driving member acquisition, engagement, and renewal. It’s also a great way to get job opportunities in front of job seekers and grow your association’s career center.

But are your email communications getting the response you need? Is your audience even opening your emails?

Read this blog for email marketing tips every association should know.

email marketing statistics

When thinking about your email communications to your members, there is one thing to keep in mind: their inbox. Much like your inbox, theirs may be overflowing with so much content that they don’t know which emails are worth their time.

What to open? What to ignore? Email fatigue is real, not just for you but for your members. If your members aren’t opening your emails, your messages aren’t getting to them, regardless of how great your content is.

A “good” email open rate among members depends on your industry and the end goal of your email. Recent data shows that the average email open rate (across all industries) is 34.46%. Use this as a reference when analyzing where your email communications stand.

As most marketers know, email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing for organizations on a mass scale. Why, you may ask?

Download our guide to find out.

Follow these 9 association marketing tips to increase your email open rate and help boost member engagement:

TIP #1: Deliver Value + Quality Over Quantity

There are so many different services, conferences, learning and new member engagement opportunities from your association that you want to let members know about. That doesn’t mean to blast their inbox with a new communication each time. Try to consolidate messaging in a monthly newsletter or try to segment lists to ensure members are getting the content they’re looking for.

TIP #2: Write the Perfect Subject Line

35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. What works in a subject line varies depending on your audience. For example, do questions work best for your user base? How about data points? Try doing A/B testing and see what gets the most opens. Most likely the email is being opened on a smartphone.

In fact, over 41% of today’s emails are opened on mobile devices. Given that most smartphones display only around six to eight words of a subject line, keeping it “short and sweet” is crucial.

A personalized subject line can differentiate your email from the rest, and it is more likely to be opened. According to Hubspot, emails that include the first name of the recipient in their subject line have a higher click-through rate than those that don’t. Instead of saying “Membership Renewal,” try: “[First Name], time for your membership renewal!”

Do your best to tell your members exactly what the email contains and create interest without giving it all away. Consider something like: “Important info: 2021 Conference,” which is direct and timely with a hint of tease. It doesn’t discuss “Registration Now Open” which can get saved for later and then forgotten if it’s not an action the user was ready to take at that time.

TIP #3: Segment Your Audience

Very few emails are going to be relevant to every single member, that’s why you need to segment your email distribution lists and tailor content to that segment’s needs and interests. Email recipients are 75% more likely to click on emails from segmented campaigns than non-segmented campaigns.

Use your organization’s programs and services to develop target groups. For example, when offering webinars, require users to enter their contact information on the registration form. Then, you’ll know not only these users’ contact information, but also that they are a) interested in your organization and b) interested in the material you are presenting. Then, you can send them highly relevant email messages.

Leverage your AMS to segment email lists by interests, past behavior/engagement, and/or demographic characteristics like career stage and location. YM Careers offers online job board software for associations that integrates with AMS solutions by Community Brands, including Aptify®, NetForum® Enterprise, Nimble AMS™, and YourMembership® AMS. It gives associations visibility into non-members who are using the job board – tracking their activity and writing it back to their record within the AMS – to aid in member recruitment efforts.

email personalization

TIP #4: Be Brief

Too much information can be a turnoff. Include only as much information as you need to get your point across. Use descriptive headlines, bullet points, and images as much as possible in place of longer text.

TIP #5: Don’t Forget Pre-Headers

Pre-headers are text on the line after the subject line of an email notification on your mobile device or even some desktops. You can use this space to get readers off their seat with a compelling message that makes them want to read more.

TIP #6: Design for Mobile

Make sure your emails are mobile-responsive so mobile users don’t have to zoom in and out to piece together your message – a sure way to lose readers. Also, use white space, larger fonts, and high-contrast colors.

TIP #7: Personalize



Connecting with your members through high-quality personalized content is very important. If they feel the content is not valuable or of good quality, they won’t continue to keep opening your emails.

Readers respond more to a personal email that’s directed to them specifically. For example, put first names in the subject line to grab attention. Use other information you have about your users to make your message more tailored to the recipient. And don’t forget to make a default value for those users you may not have that specific data piece for. That way, your email won’t have any blanks.

TIP #8: Automate When You Can

Use auto-responders when you can. This is hands-free email marketing for your already-busy team. For example, generate automatic emails when someone completes a task such as registering, purchasing, or attending a webinar.

TIP #9: Be Action-Oriented

Write a compelling call-to-action (CTA) for each message to entice users to click through. Put the CTA at the top and the bottom of your email message so readers can’t miss it. Use colorful buttons and bold text. Be short and concise, using strong verbs.

Do your members know the benefits available to them with your online career center? If you are unsure about this question, then it might be time to emphasize your email marketing to provide results for your association. Remember, your career center is a membership benefit so give it the same attention you give other programs and events. It’s all about exposure and messaging!  

AAFP career center

Email marketing is a great way to provide your members with meaningful and impactful information about your career center. It can drive them to the resources they need to find their next great job or the next great new hire. 

It’s important to remember that, like all of us, your members receive a lot of information and emails daily. Create your marketing plan and emails with a driven purpose that will provide the valuable content your member’s desire.  

Use these 3 effective ways to use email marketing to get members more engaged with your online career center: 

1. Get the word out

Once you have launched your career center, let your members know about this new benefit and career growth opportunity. It’s a great idea to have the first email about this come from the executive director or the president of your association.  

In addition, when it’s time for your membership dues renewal season, make sure you are outlining the career center as a membership benefit. Career resources and resume coaching are assets that can help provide your members with the tools they need for their career journey. To connect with your members, highlight career success moves with testimonials from current members and what resources they utilized to help them reach that next step. Write up an article or capture their full story on video, which you can include in email marketing and your association’s newsletter. 

industry resource

2. Send monthly marketing emails 

Connect with the job seekers on your career center by providing them monthly updates. This may help your job seekers understand the state of your industry as well as new opportunities that are available on your career center. Encourage your members to sign up for job alerts so they can be one of the first to discover and apply for new opportunities.

Help the job seekers succeed with career advancement opportunities as this will help keep up the traffic and show your career center is credible. Think of your career center as a brand extension and make sure your email campaigns keep with the brand and tone of your association.  

3. Promote offers for employers and special events for your job seekers  

Have you thought about ways to help market your career center to employers so they will post their jobs and career opportunities? Find ways to market to these employers by educating them on how a niche job board can help provide them with top quality talent.   

For the job seekers, make sure they are aware of upcoming job fairs through your career center such as virtual or in-person events. This is a great opportunity for a face-to-face connection with the employers posting on your career center.

Members will open your emails if they find value in the content you are sending and if you allow them to choose the way in which you communicate with them. Give members what they want, in the way they want to receive it, and watch your email open rates increase.

Take advantage of YM Careers' extensive, industry-relevant marketing support for association customers.

Request a personalized demo.

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