6 Reasons Why Email Marketing Doesn’t Work Well for Your Association

Over 79% of associations use email to engage new members.* Do you rely on email marketing to reach your members? Are you finding that it’s not really working like it used to? That’s because it isn’t. It’s a one sided campaign that gets little reaction on the other. Over 42% of associations increased spending on email marketing programs in 2018, sticking with a strategy that won’t necessarily work (*p. 48).


  1. Most email goes into spam folders. Your email blasts from third party servers aren’t ending up in your members inbox, they are ending up in the spam box. That’s a sure way for them not to read it.

  3. Your members get so many emails that they lose relevancy, even if it’s from an organization they interact with. They just lose them in the clutter.

    Note: Members receive, on average, four emails a week from an association. (*p. 70)


  5. Your content isn’t targeted to the recipient. Yes, your target is a member of your organization, but not all members are alike. Each member has a different interest and reason for joining your group. Maybe one is interested in the issues that face your organization, while another only cares about engaging with other members. You need to send the right message to the right person.

    Note: Only 9% of associations use model driven personas to target their members, and one quarter don’t even use segmentation to target their members. Most just use membership level and type. 38% cite lack of ability to model and segment members and customers as one of their biggest data challenges. (*p. 67)

    Note: 55% of associations experiencing a new member increase have used personalized content as a way of attracting new members.


  7. You don’t track engagement, and even if you do, the stats aren’t that helpful. Are you tracking reporting and seeing who opened the email and how long they spent perusing it, and did they click into any sublinks? And even if you do track it, isn’t this reporting so top level that it’s not really helping you. You need more granular data.

    Note: While most associations with an 80% or higher renewal rate are more likely to have a compelling value proposition (*p. 66), 40% of associations don’t measure the marketing effectiveness of that proposition with strong data analytics. And over half of associations report that lack of marketing results tracking and analysis reporting, and inadequate membership dashboards and reporting tools are the two the most significant data challenges facing associations. (*p. 53)


  9. Email is a one way street of engagement.

    Note: The top reason for members not renewing with an organization is lack of engagement with the organization. Over 36% of all associations list this is the top reason for non renewal (*p. 46). And one of the top reasons cited for members joining an organization is the ability to network with others in the field (*p. 28). And even though 50% of all associations cite increasing member engagement as a top membership goal, close to half of all associations do not offer some kind of engagement platform. (*p. 52)


  11. A younger audience is less likely to respond to email marketing. Reaching out to acquire younger members is one of the best ways to increase membership. (*p. 71) Yet millennials have so many other channels of information that they follow, and they spend most of their time on their mobile devices.

    Note: Associations showing increases in one year and five year membership numbers are significantly more likely to convert younger members to regular memberships.


    The Takeaway

    You need to make a stronger, more compelling connection with your membership that goes beyond email, encourages engagement, and provides strong analytics for targeting.


*Data source: 2018 Association Membership Marketing Benchmark Report

TripBuilder Media Team