Hi, Ed Burzminski here from Chamber Marketing Partners. We’ve been talking about WACE’s recent opinion poll about how chambers are communicating with their members. Let’s talk about e-mailed newsletters.

According to the July 2017 WACE Opinion Poll, 92 percent of chambers produce an e-mailed newsletter. But the question really becomes how many people are actually reading it?

What’s Your Open Rate?

What is your open rate? The average open rate for chambers that send e-mail blasts is 30 percent, and yours may be a little bit higher than that or maybe a little bit lower. But let’s say you have a thousand members and you have a 30 percent open rate, you’re really only connecting with one third of your membership. You’re not getting your message out to everybody. And if you’re inundating your members with e-mail blasts, you know, it kind of becomes low on the totem pole. So while you may have a good strong message, it may not be reaching everybody.

Tell Your Chamber’s Story

An example of a very good emailed newsletter is from the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce e-newsletter has been reformatted recently to tell the chamber’s story. Articles communicate what the chamber is doing, why it is doing it, and how these actions are good for the membership and/or community. So it’s telling the story to its members and people who are getting that newsletter.  And that’s a very important thing to keep in mind.

So emailed newsletters are positive, they’re inexpensive because you’re emailing them out. But the challenge with the newsletter is that you’re really only getting about 30 percent of your members. So keep that in mind too. There is a resurgence of printed newsletters going out just because of that. Print died off for a while, but then people started to ask for it back.

Ask Your Members

So my suggestion. Ask your members whenever you can. Do a poll of your membership. How do you prefer to consume the newsletter? Do you prefer to receive it digitally in an email or prefer to receive it in print?

If you can print several copies and mail it to those people that want it in print you’re reaching the audience the way they’re asking to be reached. It may cost you a little bit more but it’ll be a tremendous value.

Actually, recently the Western Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, WACE, asked its membership how they want to receive their newsletter, whether they wanted to receive it digitally, or whether they want to receive it by email. Personally, I want to receive it both ways. I like to sit and look and read through it and touch it and dog ear it, and I also like to save them when I’m done. I’ll toss the printed version, but I’ll save the digital newsletter so I can refer back to it. And I don’t have to rummage around my desk or keep it in my office.