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4 Ways to Avoid Email Fatigue and Keep Members Happy

Marketing Audra Hopkins

We’ve all experienced email fatigue before. Companies send mass amounts of emails to your inbox. It can be overwhelming. Sooner or later, you lose interest in the sea of emails and ignore them all together.

Email fatigue is common amongst email users. According to MediaPost, up to 74% of American consumers claim to be overwhelmed by email abundance. That statistic alone is overwhelming!

How do you make sure your members aren’t experiencing email fatigue? We’ll show you ways to combat email fatigue and keep your members happy.


Is your association inflicting email fatigue on members?

Chances are you’ve asked yourself this question before. If not, it’s important to evaluate. According to Hubspot, email volume within associations increased by 12.3% in the year 2016 alone.

Email marketing expert Dave Lewis explains email fatigue as “the result of two things: mailing irrelevant content and mailing at too frequent a cadence.” Basically, email fatigue boils down to sending the wrong content to consumers far too often. This can lead to things like lowered open and click through rates and even cancelled email subscriptions by members.

Email fatigue occurs so much because email is low cost marketing with a high ROI. Emails can be sent to subscribers free of cost at any time and at any frequency. Unfortunately, most associations recognize their email fatigue problems after they’ve already lost a considerable amount of subscribers.

If you think your association may be at risk of creating email fatigue for its members, there are a few different ways to prevent it.


Knowing your audience makes a huge difference

Your association has a list of subscribers who receive your emails. But do you really know who you’re emailing? If not, chances are your email marketing efforts are suffering from it.

A study done by MarketingSherpa shows that only 15% of surveyed email users find the emails received from marketing efforts to be useful. Do your email subscribers feel the same about your association’s emails? Knowing your audience can help you find out.

If you take the time to understand your audience, you can enhance your email marketing strategy and tailor your email frequency to your audience’s preferences. An Experian report claims that 4 out of 5 marketers are challenged by defining a customer persona. If you don’t research your audience, your marketing efforts could face the same challenge.

Study your audience. What do they like and dislike? Which features about your association do they resonate with? What information do they find most important? According to Folio, a survey is the most reliable way to study your audience.

A member survey can tell you a lot about your members and their needs. Surveying email recipients will give you the answers you need to tailor your email marketing strategy. Ask them about their experience with your association’s email efforts so far. Don’t forget to ask what they’d like to see from your association’s emails.


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Find your email “sweet spot”

How many monthly emails does your association send out? Do you keep track? Finding your email ‘sweet spot’ is key when combatting email fatigue.

According to Hubspot, 86.6% of subscribers claimed to receive 10 emails or less from an association per month. In addition, associations that sent 1 million emails or fewer per year received the highest average open rates overall.

This evidence shows an ideal number of emails sent per month that lead to optimal open rates. Experts call this number the “sweet spot,” and every association has its own unique number.

Benchmark data collected by Informz shows organizations that sent 6-10 emails per month had the highest open and click through rates. 6-10 emails per month creates a steady flow of one email sent out every few days. This number falls in the middle of two extremes of email sending among associations; Those who ttle as one email per month and those who send one email per day.

Experiment with email frequency and see how your members respond. If you’re an association who sends one email per month, try producing more emails and tracking open and click through rates. If you send out a daily email, dial your email send rates back and see if your open and click rates increase the next month.

Experimentation with your send rates will help your association find its own email “sweet spot.”


Customizable communication methods for email

Another way to combat email fatigue is to provide email communication options for members. But, what does this mean?

According to Conduit, email marketing efforts need to hold value to the recipients and include something they want to see. A customizable communication feature for email would allow members to curate their own emails from your association. Members would pick the type of emails they like receiving best- whether it’s newsletters, event announcements, ebook offers, etc.

Give your members the option to customize the emails they’d like to receive. Customizable email communication can be based two different ways: How many emails per month members would prefer to receive or what type of emails members would prefer to receive.

Include the option for members to manage their email preferences somewhere on your association’s website. Make it easy to find so members do not lose patience. Allowing members to manage their email notifications and choose their own email frequencies leads to less unsubscribes in the long run.


Using audience segmentation to send emails to specific groups of members

Not all members appreciate the same types of emails. Your audience differs in its email preference. This is where segmentation is a good idea.

Audience segmentation is the practice of separating your audience into subcategories based on similar traits and characteristics. For example, a member that is a young professional might fall under a different category than a member with seniority in their career. Segmenting your audience will help focus your email marketing strategies.

Tailor emails based on your audience segmentation. Members who are locally based might enjoy emails about events more than members who live in a different state or country. On the other hand, younger members may appreciate student offers more than members who are established in their career.

Tailoring emails to segmented audiences reduces the influx of emails sent to members by your association. This way, members can receive emails that matter to them without being oversaturated with your association’s emails.

Once your audience is segmented, you can create a database to keep your email efforts organized. Creating a database allows you to manage your segmented groups in an organized and easy fashion. Refer to your audience database when planning an email for members.

With the number of emails being sent increasing each day, email fatigue can happen to any of us. Using these strategies on fighting email fatigue can reduce the risk of overwhelming your association’s members.


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