Earlier this year I attended a presentation that provided tips on elevating the quality of your newsletter. Prior to this presentation, I had not put too much thought into the newsletter process and how effective it can be for your association membership.

According to the 2021 Association Communications Benchmarking Report, association newsletters are the most important form of communication outside of your association’s conference.

I have compiled a list of my top 10 tips to help make your association’s newsletter stand out and be noticeable.

Tip 1: Consider Your Audience

Get input on the newsletter from all areas. Involve other team members for content creation and ask for feedback from members – what do they want to see? Read my colleague’s article, Creating Web Content to Keep Members Engaged for more on how to tailor your newsletter content to your members!

Tip 2: Give Your Newsletter its Own Style

Does it capture the attention of the members? Decide the voice and tone your newsletter displays and keep it consistent. You do not want the member deleting the email before even opening it.

Tip 3: Select the Best Time to Send Your Newsletter

First, you will need to decide on the appropriate sending frequency. Are you sending out a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletter? Next, select the best day and time for sending the newsletter. Tuesdays to Thursdays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm is the ideal time to send. Avoid sending out newsletters first thing Monday morning as individuals are bogged down with emails from the weekend.

Tip 4: Create a “Friendly From” Name and Creative Subject Line

A ‘friendly from’ name is the name of whoever the email comes from. Instead of using the generic email info@, set it to be sent from someone, for example: ‘Jen Kowaluk from Strauss’. Approximately 1/3 of people decide whether to open an email based on the subject line. Here are some ideas for effective subject lines:

  • Numerical lists of tips, tricks, value propositions – “Top 5 ideas from…”
  • Recent news headlines or relevant announcements
  • Intriguing questions – “Wonder how to….?”
  • Action oriented language and commands – “Register by August 1…”
  • Urgency – “Only 4 spots remaining!”

Tip 5: Personalize Your News Content

Personalization can improve click through rates by 14%. Start the message off with ‘Dear Jen’ or ‘Hi Jen!’ I will always open a newsletter personalized to me.

Tip 6: Highlight Your Organization’s Key Content

Visually highlight your association’s own content if you are sending it out with other external information. Place this content at the top of the page so it can be viewed first. Also, make sure to include links to your member renewal and join pages.

Tip 7: Infuse Your Voice and Other Important Messages

Include a note from the editor, association president, or board chair on certain news articles. Highlight a member by having a member spotlight section with their picture.

Tip 8: Make Your Social Media Profile Easily Available

The best place for your social media links is in the footer real estate. Make sure to include all the necessary links to all your platforms. Also, you should regularly update your association’s social media with new content at least as often as you send a newsletter.

Tip 9: Provide Short Summaries of Articles With Links to the Article Page or Attachment

This keeps the attention of your member as well shortens the length of the newsletter. Do you really want to be scrolling through pages of articles? Most members will jump ship before they reach the end.

Tip 10: Review Your Newsletter

Regularly review your success metrics. How many members are opening the document? Who is clicking on articles? Select those newsletters that were most successful, review and identify why they were successful, and replicate that. The easiest items to change for success are the date/time of distribution and subject line/topic.

Small Changes Can Make a Big Impact!

As someone who sends out a weekly and monthly newsletter for two different associations, these tips have been extremely helpful for me. I have implemented a couple of changes; the first change I made to the monthly newsletter was Tip 9. Instead of having a long newsletter, I shortened it with links for easier review. I also updated the newsletter header. From February to march, our newsletter’s open rate rose by 3%, its click rate rose by 5%, and clickthrough rate rose by over 6%.

I hope the above newsletter tips will be as helpful to you as they have been for me.

Want to learn more about association communications? Read my colleague’s article, Word of Mouth: The Association’s Need for Communicative Media