3 Tips for Chapters experiencing #EmailFail

In three different chapter leader programs this year, communication came up as a big challenge. For most, its about email and the fact that (a) nobody reads it and (b) everyone gets too much. What’s a chapter to do to overcome those challenges and get their message to their key stakeholders?

First, don’t ditch email. Adobe’s recent survey found email is holding its own, especially in the workplace. Erie Smith writing in Associationsnow.com shared that the average consumer spends about five hours a day checking email which breaks down to three hours for work.

Do make the switch though – from bulk, spray-and-pray to targeted emails. For chapters that may seem a hurdle. So, make it simple. Take your member list and segment into lists by a simple set of criteria. Maybe it’s based-on organization type or discipline or age group. So, for PRSA Maryland, we sort by company type (agency, NFP, government, corporate) or discipline (PR, media relations, marketing etc.). We can also sort by independent practitioner vs corporate or agency.

Then, send emails with different subject lines or intro info. Say we’re doing a session on content marketing. Those who are involved in PR or media relations would get the lead focusing on the fact that our panel includes two local journalists. Our marketing members get the lead paragraph on optimizing SEO.

Second, don’t use the go-to subject lines. You know, the “Assn to Hold Event – Register today”.

Do spend ample time crafting a subject line that will capture eyes. Think short, compelling and a call to action. Start with an action verb. Include numbers. Need help? Check out 164 Best Email Subject Lines  and these additional tips from OptInMonster.

Third, vary your email content. So many chapters only email when they want you to attend an event.

Look at your email history. If more than 50% are marketing (think = attend this, deadline now, register today), then you might be your own worst enemy. You’re triggering email fatigue and deletes. Use the channel to create a conversation. Share interesting info and tips and tidbits. That way, members are open to the marketing messaging.

There are many resources on emailing practices. Creating lists, writing new subject lines and mixing up the content are easy first starts. What will you try?


Photo credit: “Drowning in email” (CC BY 2.0) by -Xv