Delivering Your E-Newsletter
Build Your List, Find the Right Delivery Tool, and Track Your Success
Before you can send an email, you must have home email addresses for your members. In many (if not most) places, it’s illegal to use school email addresses to conduct Association business. It’s important to gather email personal, home email addresses from your members.
Collect email addresses from your members at every opportunity.
- Anytime you hold a meeting, a workshop, a rally, or any type of social gathering, be sure to provide a sign-in sheet with space for email addresses.
- When you hold new teacher trainings, collect email addresses for your new members.
- Ask association reps in each building to collect email addresses from members in their building.
Once you’ve collected email addresses on hard paper, be sure to set aside time and resources for transcribing them into your central repository of email addresses.
An MS Excel sheet is perfect for storing your email addresses. Use at least three columns: first name, last name, home email address.
Whether you work in a large or small local, the first rule of sending emails is to track the delivery and analyze the statistics for each mailing:
- Delivery Rate – of the total number of email addresses on your mailing list, how many were delivered successfully?
- Open Rate – of the total number of emails delivered successfully, how many were opened by the recipient?
- Click-Through Rate – of the total number of emails that were opened by the recipient, how many clicked on a web link in the email?
- Response Rate – of the total number of click-throughs, how many people took the desired action? (E.g., signed an online petition, turned up at rally volunteered for attend a meeting or staff an event)
Collecting and analyzing this data will be the key to determining how effective you email campaigns are.
Avoid MS Outlook. Outlook can be an easy, convenient way to send emails to your membership, but it affords no tracking and no statistics – and therefore none of the tools you need to gauge your success.
Here are some low-cost, easy solutions for delivering your e-newsletter:
- Constant Contact – perfect for sending bulk emails, it’s simple and easy-to-use. There’s a two-month free trial, and service thereafter costs as little as $15 per month.
- MailChimp – another e-newsletter delivery service that allows you to send up to 12,000 e-mails per month to 2,000 subscribers.
The answer is everyone’s least favorite: it depends. It depends upon the needs of your Association and the circumstances of your members. It will always be a good time to send an e-newsletter as long as you ensure that each e-newsletter has:
- a specific purpose (e.g., to inform members on the status of contract negotiations);
- a goal, which should usually be an action request for readers (e.g., attend a school board meeting or staff a workshop); and,
- timeliness – an rational for why you are sending the email now (as opposed to next week or next month) and why readers need to take action now (and not later).
You must know the rules of the game to stay in it. Did you know that you are legally obligated to allow someone to unsubscribe from a newsletter if they don’t want to receive it anymore? Check out the CAN-SPAM laws so you can make your e-newsletter stays on the up and up.
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