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Three Tips on Writing Emails Your Members Will Open

When thinking about your email communications to your members, there is one thing to keep in mind: their inbox. Much like your inbox, their email 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 16.06%

Use that as a reference when analyzing where your email communications stand. Follow these 3 tips to increase your email open rate and help boost member engagement.

TIP #1: Deliver Value + Quality over Quantity

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.

The same goes for the how many times you are emailing them. We get it, 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: Writing the Perfect Subject Line

35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone [Convince&Convert]. What works in a subject line varies depending on your audience. 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

It’s direct and timely with a hint of tease, it doesn’t discuss “Registration Now Open” which can get left unopened and saved for later and then forgotten if it’s not an action the user was ready to take at that time. Depending on the message that you are conveying, a direct approach might work best, again – go back to A/B testing.


TIP #3: Segmentation and Relevance

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.

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.

Learn more here.

The Takeaway

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. Spend some time on strategic personalization, A/B testing and segmentation of your email lists. Give members what they want, in the way they want to receive it, and watch your email open rates increase.

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