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  • Writer's pictureColby Horton

6 Reasons Why an Enewsletter is a Must-Have for an Association’s Communication Plan

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, there’s been a resurgence in the use of enewsletters. These newsletters are becoming more and more imperative in taking an association’s brand marketing to the next level, while consistently staying in front of industry professionals and becoming established informational authorities.

Digital elitists have tried to “kill” email since 2009. It’s funny looking back at the Wall Street Journal article that started it all, coining the phrase email is dead: “Email has had a good run as king of communications. But its reign is over.”

Wait, what?!

Here we are more than a decade later and email’s reign is more powerful than ever. You can thank a couple of recent events for the uptick in the importance of email marketing.

First, Google’s plan to phase out support for third-party cookies with no alternative to track user data has put even more of an emphasis on the importance of first- and zero-party data. Brand marketers, agency execs and email marketing experts say email marketing will reap the benefits of the decision, even though the cookie removal has been delayed until late 2023.

Then came a global pandemic, which experts say actually grew email’s prominence as marketers looked for an additional touchpoint for brands to build engaging relationships with their consumers. Because of this, eMarketer believes global email growth still hasn’t peaked, forecasting the total number of email users in the U.S. reaching 277.7 million in 2024, representing 81.2% of the U.S. population.

And like a phoenix rising from the ashes, there’s been a resurgence in the use of enewsletters, even among brands and big box retailers that have not traditionally embraced them. Most are seeking to own the direct relationship with customers that email newsletters can provide, while improving first-party data strategies and growing revenue.

For associations, the most effective email marketing strategy centers around an enewsletter. These newsletters are becoming more and more imperative in taking an organization’s brand marketing to the next level, while consistently staying in front of industry professionals and becoming established informational authorities.

Here are 6 benefits of having a member enewsletter for your association.

Building Expertise and Authority

The key to success for an association enewsletter is to deliver messages industry professionals actually want to hear - messages that correspond to their individual preferences. And when delivering those messages, an organization is building expertise and establishing informational authority. In essence, an enewsletter opens the door for better understanding and knowledge of an association’s brand, its mission and vision, and the benefits and services offered - all through the words and imagery created for each issue of an enewsletter.

When done correctly, the expertise inherently comes. By consistently publishing, whether it be daily, weekly, twice monthly or monthly, enewsletters build confidence and credibility in your association as a key supplier of industry knowledge. Bolster is further by including curated articles that have important industry information and market trends. And don’t forget to include details of any upcoming conferences and presentations. The end result is a resource for “all things industry” and positions an organization as a leading, respected authority.

Connect with Members and Prospects

Consistently sending enewsletters at regular intervals is a must. The end result creates a communication vehicle that truly connects with members and prospects and builds ongoing relationships. When enewsletters include strong, personalized content delivered on a schedule, subscribers stay connected and engaged. As a starting point, we find that weekly enewsletters produce the best results regarding engagement.

Drive Renewals, New Membership, Tradeshow Attendance

Email marketing has always been a great way to drum up sales. In fact, for every $1 your association spends on email marketing, you can expect a return of $51. That’s up from $39 last year! This phenomenal ROI doesn’t have to be built only through dedicated email marketing campaigns. Include data-driven content into your enewsletter, integrating individualized renewal messages with a unique link to renew online, or a link to join for only those subscribers that aren’t members. Or, drive traffic to your tradeshow registration page with a unique promo code created specifically for enewsletter subscribers.

Increase Website Traffic

Every association marcom professional wants to drive more traffic to their organization’s website. Sure, you should invest in good SEO, SEM, and paid search. But your association’s enewsletter should be part of that traffic acquisition plan. And in the long run, it’ll be much cheaper with well-qualified results.

The mentality of “if you build it, they will come” no longer exists. Organizations need to actively work to attract visitors. Links to original website content and registration pages is a must in an enewsletter strategy. Individualizing the content, along with strong calls-to-action, will make sure you’re bringing the right audience to the right sections of your website.

Grow Your Social Media

It’s no secret: association members are hooked on social media. In 2020, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide - an average of 144 minutes per day. By 2025, that number is projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion.

If your subscribers aren’t connected to your social media accounts, you’re doing something wrong. Social media platforms are essential to your organization’s growth strategies. At the very least, your association’s social media channels should be prominently displayed and linked on your enewsletter.

Taking it to the next level, enewsletters containing social sharing buttons have a much higher click-through rate when compared to those that don’t. Allowing enewsletter content to be shared across social channels only increases an organization’s visibility, starting online and offline conversations.

Widen Your Reach

An enewsletter can help an association enhance its target audiences. Just by placing information about the enewsletter and a subscription form on a website, an organization can capture information and contact details of new audiences (prospective members) by asking them to subscribe.

Is your enewsletter sent to only members? Consider sending a separate non-member version once a month. This version could be abridged or include information only relevant to non-members. Show value in the newsletter and create a “fear of missing out” if the non-member didn’t join your association.

Final Thoughts

Enewsletters aren’t new. Heck, I sent out my first listserv newsletter for a national trade association over 20 years ago. But as technology changed, and enewsletters became more eye-catching and robust, enewsletters are among the most important pieces of an association’s marketing scheme. When designed and published correctly, they can make an organization stand out from the crowd, encouraging subscribers to retain membership, join the association, or register for an upcoming event.

How Can We Help?

Association Briefings has a team of association-focused experts excited to help with your enewsletter needs. Let’s chat about how we can help engage your subscribers through individualized, data-driven tactics. Reach out here to get started.

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