Unlocking Email Marketing Success: Insider Tips for Association Executives

By Courtney Rienerth • August 16, 2023

The Naylor Client Marketing team had the privilege of attending this year’s esteemed ASAE Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference (MMCC), a prominent annual gathering held in the heart of Washington, DC. This year’s event was an enlightening hub of diverse perspectives, featuring discussions spanning vital subjects like social justice, content personalization, mental health, and the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence. Amidst this wealth of knowledge, a standout session and speaker captured our utmost attention: Jay Schwedelson’s presentation on “Do This, Not That: New Email Marketing Techniques for Associations and Event Marketers!” 

Jay Schwedelson’s presentation proved to be engaging, and brimming with actionable insights that could be immediately implemented without incurring any additional costs. Below are key takeaways that association executives and marketing professionals can achieve from Jay Schwedelson, the founder of SubjectLine.com, as observed during ASAE’s 2023 MMCC. 

Email Marketing Insight 1: Crafting Compelling Subject Lines 

The subject line of an email stands as the gateway to engagement—an initial touchpoint that can shape the recipient’s decision to further take action. It’s the difference between an email opened with anticipation and one sitting at the bottom of an inbox. Schwedelson advocates the strategic use of the word “most” within subject lines to boost open rates. According to his data-backed insights, incorporating terms like “most read,” “most watched,” and “most popular” can elevate open rates by over 20%. Furthermore, including a number, an attention-grabbing all-caps phrase, or integrating a colon can increase open rates. These seemingly minor adjustments can remarkably influence the recipient’s inclination to explore further. 

Email Marketing Insight 2: The Power of Personalization 

The art of personalization is a catalyst for immediate engagement. However, it’s more than just addressing recipients by their first name. Schwedelson advocates a subtler approach, recommending the inclusion of identifiers such as industry, title, company size group, or company name instead of addressing them by their first name. This personalized touch not only resonates on a deeper level but also leads to an increase in open rates by more than 25%. Particularly in the context of webinars, the magic lies in personalizing subject lines to spotlight a specific topic rather than relying on the ubiquitous term “webinar.” This shift led to a staggering 27% increase in overall open rates for webinar-related emails. 

Email Marketing Insight 3: The Timing Equation 

Effective email timing is essential, and as it turns out, sending emails on the hour is akin to getting lost in a bustling crowd. Schwedelson offers an alternative—strategically avoiding sending emails on the hour and opting for slightly unconventional times. For instance, sending an email at 9:40 am instead of 9:00 am can enhance open rates. Moreover, Schwedelson shatters the myth of over-emailing, highlighting the importance of frequency. In event and webinar promotions, his message is clear: sending an email within the last 90 days before the event and on the event day (within four hours of commencement) significantly boosts attendance rates. 

Email Marketing Insight 4: Crafting Persuasive Call to Actions (CTAs) 

Call to actions (CTAs) are the heartbeat of email engagement, directing recipients toward desired actions. Schwedelson introduces a subtle yet powerful tweak—focus on CTAs that emphasize the benefits to recipients rather than mere commitments. Replace “download” with “get the tips” or shift from “register” to “save my seat.” This shift from Commitment CTAs to Benefit CTAs can yield a remarkable 24% increase in click-through rates. A well-crafted CTA wields the potential to captivate recipients and drive them toward desired actions. 

Email Marketing Insight 5: The AI Advantage in Content Creation 

Jay Schwedelson strongly believes in using automated tools to create email content, which he thinks is helpful in email marketing. One example of this is ChatGPT, a famous AI. It can improve email subjects and change email requests to sound more exciting. This kind of AI-powered content creation makes the work easier and saves time. Schwedelson’s support for AI content creation shows how you can take your email campaigns to new heights.


In the world of email marketing, the insights of Jay Schwedelson show us special strategies that are out of the ordinary. These insider strategies, sourced from his remarkable session at ASAE’s 2023 MMCC, serve as a compass guiding association executives and marketing professionals toward unlocking the true potential of their email campaigns. 

About The Author

Courtney Rienerth is a Senior Revenue Marketing Specialist with Naylor Association Solutions. Reach her at [email protected].