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5 Ways to Write Compelling Emails Your Lapsed Members Can’t Ignore

Win-back email campaigns represent a powerful way to reconnect with former members and pique their interest, reminding them that your association provides outstanding value. But your emails will fall flat if lapsed members feel like they’re reading a sales pitch.

Instead, your audience needs to believe you’re speaking directly to their needs. To that end, here are five suggestions for effective win-back email campaigns that grab lapsed members’ attention:

1. Focus on What Matters to Lapsed Members

Pretend you’re on the phone with a former member who wants you to share reasons they should rejoin. Let that feeling guide the content you choose. This is the time to highlight your association’s value proposition. Show lapsed members you’re aware of their most pressing issues— and explain how your offerings can address their priorities.

2. Let Current Members Help You Showcase What’s New

Resist the urge to use a photo of your association president in these messages. Instead, use images of current members. You can include quotes from those members talking about your association’s specific new benefits. This kind of social proof is a powerful marketing tool. Feature members from different segments — such as a young new member who’s recently renewed, and longtime member who’s enjoyed the community for decades. When these passionate advocates share their stories about association involvement, it’s a persuasive message for lapsed members.

3. Include Quick Links to Resources

Don’t tell the lapsed member, “We have some cool stuff that you should check out sometime.” Instead, provide a specific call to action, like a brief blog post for them to read, or a popular recorded webinar to watch.

4. Show You Understand Them

Use language that makes your audience think, “Hey, they really get me.” Make your audience feel you’re speaking directly to their needs. Will your association be a one-stop resource that helps them develop a meaningful career? Will you provide on-demand access to industry news, the latest research, or continuing education that helps them flourish? Spell out what membership will do for them.

5. Segment Your Messages for a Personalized Approach

When you segment former members by membership type, length of time lapsed, length of tenure, and other demographic data, you can write more effective messages that speak directly to them. This allows you to tailor email subject lines and content based on targeted member segments. The more relevant your communication, the more likely it will be for members to keep reading and consider your offer.

Lapsed Members Don’t Have to Be Lost Members

To make your win-back campaigns effective, the key lies in avoiding a generic sales pitch and, instead, focusing on addressing the specific needs and concerns of former members. By centering content around the association’s value proposition and showcasing real stories and testimonials from current members, these campaigns create a compelling narrative. Providing direct and actionable calls to action, such as links to relevant resources, enhances engagement. Employing language that resonates with the audience and segmenting messages based on demographic data contribute to the personalization members want (they told us in the 2023 Association Member Experience Report!).

While cultivating relationships with potential new members is essential, the value of reconnecting with lapsed members should not be underestimated. A thoughtful and tailored win-back strategy can not only rekindle interest but also strengthen the association’s bond with its existing community.

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The 2023 Member Experience Report

We surveyed 350 association members to ask them what they value from most from their associations.

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Sarah Spinosa

Sarah Spinosa is the product marketing manager for the association line of business at Higher Logic. Sarah is a veteran of the association industry, with over 15 years of marketing experience. She had been using Higher Logic products for nearly a decade prior to joining the Orange Army in February 2022. She has also worked with SaaS organizations. Sarah served on the 2023 ASAE MMCC Program Advisory Council and as an ASAE Gold Circle Award judge.

Sarah holds a BA in Political Science from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two daughters, and two rescue dogs in northern Virginia.