Chapter 2: Don’t treat members/non-members the same way in email.

Welcome to Chapter 2 of the new series at iPost called “Don’t do this, do that,” where some of the best minds in email marketing will use dozens of years of both client, agency, and ESP experience to guide you the email marketer with pragmatic advice. This chapter is strictly for Associations where members and non-members are your audiences.

Chapter 2: Don’t treat members/non-members the same way in email.


It is no secret that associations thrive on member growth, engagement, and involvement. Consequently, the decision to become a member is often a strong belief that the Association will provide professional and personal development that aligns with their values. However, membership is a two-way street and requires work from both sides. Therefore, membership in your Association should be exclusive, and therefore, the content and value proposition you send in an email should reflect that exclusivity.

The way you structure the email program, its content, and messaging, especially to members and non-members, should always put your members first while showing the value and exclusivity to those that are non-members. The intent of treating your non-members differently in email is not to guilt them but to show them that membership has its rewards. Here are a few ways to show non-members that becoming members might be worthy of a click/commitment:

  1. Gate or lock the content/offer inside the email and on the web to show for members only.
  2. Create a banner inside the email that indicates distinctively that this is a member or a non-member edition.
  3. Have a snippet of text at the top of the email that says something like “Member since 2007” and/or “Membership Pending.”
  4. Highlight the content inside the email that shows it is for members only by using things like a lock or color variations of icons or images.
  5. Have a dynamic banner at the top of the email asking for them to become a member
  6. Have a dynamic footer/recovery module that states the benefits of becoming a member or highlights their membership.
  7. Dedicated email to tease out an exclusive benefit (reduced costs for events or services) shows it is for members or non-members via creative or messaging elements.

There are many ways to show your audience that membership means something. The goal is to do it in such a way that will create curiosity in those non-members to take it one step further.

Don’t treat everyone the same, yet do just enough to create the desire to be a part of something different.