Give Your Association Newsletter the Attention it Deserves

By Association Adviser Staff • March 21, 2022

Amongst the various ways you communicate with your members, newsletters perhaps play one of the more critical roles in the vitality of your association. It requires a lot of work to plan, develop, and release these newsletters so you can keep your members informed on vital news. But, what do you do if your members don’t read them? 

Unfortunately, in today’s digital age, where attention is being vied for at every turn – and every screen – your members need content that grabs and keeps their attention. The problem with many associations’ newsletters is that they lack a strategic plan and the right insight to tap into their members’ attention. When a newsletter doesn’t resonate, engagement drops and so does non-dues revenue. The good news is that you can augment your newsletter’s efforts with a little expert insight and some relatively straightforward adjustments – remember, engagement is the key and first impressions matter!

Here are 25 Ways to Take Your Newsletter to the Next Level:

  1. Consider your audience and internal team when planning newsletters.

Don’t keep your newsletter in a silo; involve other teams across the organization to build a well-rounded perspective of updates and content creation. Your internal team talks to your members the most,  so they can provide valuable input for you to create meaningful content that resonates with your members. 

  1. Utilize member data to decide if your newsletter should be “one size fits all.”

Create a content strategy to ensure that you remain the number one source of information that your members and industry professionals want and need.

  1. Give your newsletter a personality or style.

Develop a consistent personality for your newsletter. Decide the voice and tone that your newsletter portrays and keep it consistent so that your voice becomes a trusted source in a sea of confusing information.

  1. Decide on the most appropriate send frequency.

Think about how much content you’re producing and use that as a springboard to decide on frequency – if you’re producing a lot of content, send more often. Conversely, keep in mind striking a balance between reaching your members’ inboxes and the risk of unsubscribes.

  1. Optimize email “from” names and get creative.

People scan their inboxes left to right, so a friendly “from” can be even more important than your subject line because people might decide to delete your email even before they get to your subject line. 

  1. Craft appropriate and eye-catching preview and pre-header text.

Pre-header and preview text is a key opportunity to grab your members’ attention and show them why it’s worthwhile for them to spend their time opening your email and digesting your content.

  1. Optimize your subject lines – make them searchable.

Make your subject line searchable so it becomes a constantly available and valuable resource to your members!

  1. Optimize email send time and send day and automate the newsletter send process.

10 a.m., 8 p.m., 2 p.m., and 6 a.m. are the best hours, and Tuesday through Thursday are the optimal days to send most association newsletters out – international associations should take time changes into account.

  1. Personalize your news content.

Address your recipients on an individual level – you can obtain this from their emails and the information they submitted on your subscription pages. Personalized emails can improve click-through rates by as much as 14%!

  1. Optimize with AI: Recommended content, jobs, events, send time, content placement, etc.

AI and automation can recommend content in the same way your social media recommends products and services. There are lots of tools available to take advantage of this technology.

  1. Highlight your organization’s key content.

Visually highlight your own content so that it’s prominent and the reader can easily identify your headlines amongst the rest of the content.

  1. Leverage external content.

There are many great tools available that can produce content that’s relevant and trustworthy, which demonstrate that you’re their number one resource and that you are staying on top of the latest news and headlines.

  1. Incorporate “evergreen” content into the mix.

Evergreen content is what you deem to be a highly valuable piece of content that is not time-sensitive and can be used and recycled year over year.

  1. Infuse your “voice” and other important messages.

Your members want to hear your perspective on current events and news in your association’s space – make sure to strike the right tone that is representative of your organization’s mission and core values.

  1. Include links to your subscribe and/or membership renewal pages.

Have a bold call to action that is easily seen and clickable so that if your content gets forwarded out to non-subscribers, they can subscribe and follow along.

  1. Make your social profile info easily available and leverage footer real estate.

People want to engage with all of your channels, so make sure there is a visible and easy way for them to connect.

  1. Leverage calls to action for important events, promotions and updates.

Make sure there’s an appropriate amount of real estate devoted to these pieces to keep advertisers happy and your content actionable.

  1. Hack your members’ attention spans by providing short summaries of articles.

Members can quickly find articles that pique their interests. It’ll also help cater to association members so it needs to contain as much information in as few words as possible. 

  1. Segment your newsletter based on what you know and then allow AI to create CTAs to provide customized, recommendations for readers.

Divide your newsletter into relevant segments based on data you already know – AI can then be leveraged to optimize CTAs, which can drive engagement in your newsletter.

  1. Make the newsletter creation process easy to repeat.

Decide on the strategy, develop a workflow, agree on the branding, the format, the template and who’s doing the work, then be sure to stick with it to ensure consistent value and performance. 

  1. Review your success metrics regularly.

Auditing the success of your newsletter is a vital piece in helping your newsletter get better at engaging with your members and providing them value. At the start of your newsletter, identify your goals and what metrics correlate to those goals, then review those metrics frequently to see if your newsletter is in fact a success. 

  1. Using AI, review member behaviors to improve the reader experience further.

With AI, you can analyze reader behavior to continue optimizing newsletter strategy and performance – this will better inform what content is working and what’s not.

  1. Review your most successful newsletter sends, identify the success factors and replicate them.

Dig into the “whys”  and identify if there are factors that you can control and replicate.

  1. Change something about your newsletter then review if that simple change impacted engagement.

Take risks with your communications with members to test whether they’re getting what they need and want. Changing one thing at a time allows you to easily pinpoint exactly what led to that improvement in your engagement.

  1. Increase engagement by utilizing reader interest.

Producing your newsletter digitally means that it’s easy to find reader favorites. Take time each month or quarter to see what articles and information have been clicked the most, and review what those topics are.

All these tips will be helpful in taking your newsletter to the next level! Recently, we partnered with rasa.io to bring you: 25 Ways to Take Your Newsletter to the Next Level.  Check out the full webinar by clicking here. 

To learn more, reach out to our team at Naylor to discover how we can build your newsletter – and your association – stronger. Request a Meeting