How to Fix Up Your Association’s Low-Engagement Emails

Engagement Audra Hopkins

When email engagement is good, it’s great. But sometimes, engagement rates just aren’t what they used to be.

So, what gives? Why is your association seeing a decrease in email engagement with certain campaigns, or even in overall engagement?

There are a lot of variables that can affect the engagement of your association’s emails. Whether it’s email overload, outdated email strategy, or other technical issues, poor engagement can lead to problems for your association.

According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, the average email list decreases by 25% every year.

That’s right, every single year, your association’s email list has the potential to decrease. That means it’s up to you to turn those low-engagement emails around, making them re-engage your email recipients.

But how is this done?

If you’re looking for ways to fix your association’s low-engagement emails, you’re in the right place. We’re going to go over why an email can fall into the low-engagement range, and how to prevent this from happening in the future.

Let’s get started.

 

How do emails risk low engagement rates?

As mentioned before, having low-engagement emails can be quite the mystery for many associations.

There are many reasons why your emails are getting low engagement rates. And with many different variables at play, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly which one is doing the most damage on your engagement.

This is why it’s important to break every reason down. This way, your association can prepare itself for every possible scenario.

Let’s go over one of the most threatening factors to your email engagement rates: Competition.

Yes, believe it or not, the email marketing world is a very competitive place. In fact, your association’s email recipients are receiving an astronomical amount of emails to their inbox every single day.

According to Hubspot, email volume within associations increased by 12.3% in the year 2016 alone. On top of that, MediaPost claims up to 74% of American consumers claim to be overwhelmed by email abundance.

With that many emails flying into your member’s inbox, it becomes a contest to see which emails get opened and which get ignored.

On top of email competition, email fatigue plays a big role.

With the amount of emails sent per day, it can become so overwhelming to email users that they simply shut it out. They ignore a mass amount of emails, too stressed out to engage with your association’s messages.

However, there are other culprits that could be affecting your engagement rates.

Certain email platforms like Gmail are starting to include features that will allow email recipients to to easily unsubscribe from emails.

While this is a good feature for those looking to rid themselves of pesky emails, it could mean trouble for your association’s emails. You want to make sure your email list stays subscribed and engaged with your messages.

 

How to combat low-engagement problems

So, with all of this mind, it’s important that your association comes up with ways to fight back against low-engagement emails.

It might seem impossible to fix a problem that’s already occurred, but that isn’t always the case.

There are a handful of strategies your association can adopt that will not only fix some of the damage done by low-engagement emails, but will prevent emails from being ignored in the future.

Here’s what your association should consider when trying to combat a low-engagement email situation.

 

1. Personalized/Responsive emails

Having trouble getting email recipients to open and engage with your content? Design an email campaign that speaks directly to them- and that requires a response!

Creating responsive emails doesn’t have to be a hassle. There are many different options your association can try to reach members on an intensive level.

To start, you can create personalized emails.

According to the Hubspot blog, emails with personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened. That’s right- adding something as simple as your member’s name to an email can convince them to open it up and see what’s inside.

Try adding a personal touch to your association’s emails in order to draw in the eye of your email recipients.

Looking for another way to get responsive results? Incorporate a mobile-friendly email platform.

44.7% of email opens occur on a mobile device, which is more than tablet or desktop opens. On top of that, 80% of email recipients will delete an email if it doesn’t read well on a mobile device. You want your emails to reach that percent of audience.

So, if you want your emails to get the engagement they deserve, it’s time to think about responsive approaches.

 

2. “While you were gone” emails

When members stop reading emails, they become detached from your association and its constant changes.

So, you want them to know what’s going on, before they fall so behind that they end up leaving altogether.

One strategy you can adopt that reels members back in while also updating them is the “while you were gone” email approach.

So, what does this entail?

Essentially, you want this email to sound like a letter to a long lost friend. What would you want to tell them? What have they missed? And out of all your information, what would be most important for them to read?

This email should have a subject line that is equally as catchy.

According to co-schedule, 35% of email recipients choose what emails to open based on subject lines alone. Yes, your subject line could make or break your email engagement rates.

Choose something that fits the theme of the email, like “We’ve missed you” or “Here’s what happened since you left”. A subject line that begs more context will help your emails get noticed.

Then, create emails that link back to more information.

You can list out some of your new benefits and provide links where your email recipients can check out more information on your website.

Or, you can go for a more sly approach, and just leave a general link to your website for all information. This way, email respondents have to go straight to your website, call-to-action, or any other provided link.

When email recipients stray from your association’s path, bring them back with a “while you were gone” email.

 

3. Strategize your send times

When it comes to email open rates, timing is everything.

You need to make sure your association’s emails are hitting members in the right place and at the right time. If you can catch members in their timing sweet-spot, you have a much better chance at getting them to engage and respond to your emails.

This is where creating a killer email schedule comes into play.

Scheduling your email content is quick, easy, and effective when it comes to great member communication. It’s also a great way to make sure your emails get sent out at the ideal time for your members to engage with them.

So, how do you start strategizing your schedule? Find the best time to reach your members.

According to Informz, there is an optimal time of day to send an email- and it may not be what you expected. Most emails are sent in the middle of the week.

In fact, 64% of email volume comes from emails sent Tuesday-Thursday. However, Informz reports that Friday is the most successful day of the week for email open and click-through rates.

As for time, late afternoon tends to be the most successful time to send out emails.

According to this chart from Informz, mid-day emails account for the highest volume and click rate. However, emails sent later in the afternoon have the highest open rate at an astounding 36.5%.

While these statistics help for email scheduling, results vary. Your association could see better results with a different timing schedule.

 

So, there you have it. Why your association could be experiencing low-engagement email rates, and what you can do to stop it from happening in the future.

While there is no perfect way to track down the true result of your low-engagement emails and get rid of the root of the problem, there are ways you can combat and prepare your association for whatever comes its way.

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