The Association Adviser Podcast

Don’t Test Your Emails and Other Email Marketing Advice

An episode of The Association Adviser Podcast

By Association Adviser
Delivering best practices, news and leadership strategies for association professionals.

Episodes are published monthly.

Interested in being a guest? Don't want to be a guest, but want to hear about a certain topic? Email us at!
More places to listen
Delivering best practices, news and leadership strategies for association professionals.

Episodes are published monthly.

Interested in being a guest? Don't want to be a guest, but want to hear about a certain topic? Email us at!

More places to listen

How to Create Better Member Surveys
We're honored to host Rachel Clemens, chief marketing officer for Mighty Citizen, a firm that transforms mission-driven organizations through branding, marketing, and digital communications.  Rachel talks with us about why associations should survey their members regularly, how to build trust in your survey process, and what specific components make up a truthful, informative survey. We also cover ways to customize your surveys for different member groups or for different surveying purposes, and we had a great discussion about incentivizing survey takers. Did you know that incentives that are too small or large can work against your surveying efforts? Us neither! Listen on for Rachel's explanation why.  Learn more about Mighty Citizen. Check out Mighty Citizen's helpful guide to creating member surveys that work! Advertise on this podcast, or any of Association Adviser's platforms, and reach thousands of association professionals eager to learn more about the businesses that can help them operate more effectively. Check out our media kit here. Suggest a guest or topic for The Association Adviser Podcast! Email us at
November 11, 2019
How to Weave Your Association’s Story
Association Adviser welcomes Tamsen Webster of The Red Thread® to this episode! Tamsen helps organizations to help people find, build, and tell stories of their ideas. She combined 20 years in brand and message strategy with four years as a TEDx Executive Producer to create The Red Thread™, a simple way to change how people see and what they do as a result. The Red Thread™ is the connection between a question and the answer. It's how you get others to care about your association's story. This could mean how you get members to join, and how you want them to engage with your association once they've joined. Weaving your Red Thread is about doing the work to know where your members are, to build THEIR case for joining and staying involved, and for creating a sense of pride in being a member of your association and industry. Tamsen taught us that people want to believe they're smart, capable, and good. You'll want to listen to how she explains "letting others have your way" when it comes to disagreements and opposing viewpoints. Learn more about The Red Thread at  Find her free Red Thread assessment for your association here: Interested in advertising on this podcast or within another Association Adviser publication? Browse our media kit.
October 15, 2019
Don’t Test Your Emails and Other Email Marketing Advice
We talk with Jen Capstraw, strategist and email geek, about today’s email capabilities and how anyone can be a proficient email marketer if they take advantage of the tools available to them. Links: Women of Email: Find them on Facebook and at the Women of Email website. Email Geeks Slack Chat Email and Cross-Channel Testing: You're Doin' It Wrong (webinar referenced during the episode) Learn more about Iterable. Advertise with Association Adviser!
September 21, 2019
The 2019 Association Communications Benchmarking Report
Join Sarah Sain, Naylor's director of content, member communications, as she explains the results from the 2019 Association Communications Benchmarking Report. this is the 8th year of the survey and resulting report, and we're starting to see a shift in association communication priorities. Sarah discusses which communication challenges are vexing associations the most, which publication types are holding strong, and why having clean member data is the responsibility of everyone on an association staff.  Want to download the report for yourself? Find it at Want to take the survey? It's open year-round! Association professionals who complete at least 50% of the survey unlock access to a custom communications report card. See where your association's strengths lie compared to industry best practices, and know which areas of your communication practices could use some improvement. Compare your performance to similar-sized associations, and if you've taken this survey over multiple years, compare your progress! Find the survey and your custom report card at Thanks to our sponsor Naylor Association Solutions for supporting this podcast!
September 6, 2019
What is Machine Learning?
We speak with Chris Knoch of Big Squid, a company that produces automated machine learning platform for business insights. Chris explains what machine learning and artificial intelligence are, and how associations can use machine learning to better position themselves for success. Plus, he discusses how associations can use data they already have, such as membership renewal or event registration data, to predict how successful their recruitment or event marketing efforts will be in the future. It's a great conversation, especially if you're interested in machine learning but haven't had the time to dive further into how you could apply it to your operations. Thanks to Chris for joining us!  Want to share your message with the Association Adviser community? Advertise on this podcast!  Association professionals will hear about your business and your solutions as they listen for in-depth features about what’s happening now - and next – in the association community. Your business belongs in this community, too. Go to for more info.    Want to be a guest on our podcast? Drop us an email at with your topic ideas! Want to stay behind the scenes, but have a concept you want to know more about? We're always accepting episode ideas at the email address above.  
July 24, 2019
Don’t Let Cynicism Overcome Passion: Association Advocacy
We spoke with Kevin Daley, director of government affairs for Naylor Association Solutions, and Dr. Madelaine Feldman, president of the Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations. CSRO advocates for access to the highest quality medical care for rheumatic disease patients with autoimmune inflammatory and degenerative diseases. They provide a network for state societies to exchange information regarding issues surrounding high quality care to Rheumatic disease patients, and collaborate with patient organizations, national and international societies and others whenever possible and appropriate in order to achieve better policies and care for rheumatic patients and their families. Dr. Feldman is passionate about her work both as a doctor and as an advocate for patient access to the right medicines, streamlined healthcare processes, and fair policies for all patients. We loved talking with her about her experiences educating patients about their rights, speaking on Capitol Hill, and facing opposition. If your association is wondering how to get into advocacy activities to enact change in your industry, this is definitely an episode you will want to hear. Kevin Daley is the Director of Government Affairs at Naylor, where he tracks and analyzes state and federal legislation and regulation of impact to clients.  His insight into the legislative process and how associations can become involved, is valuable for anyone wanting to learn more about association advocacy.
June 27, 2019
Building Career Connections with ASCE
We recently caught up with Courtney Ross and Tirza Austin of the American Society of Civil Engineers to talk about the variety of career resources ASCE offers through its online career center, called Career Connections. Started in 2003, Career Connections has grown strategically and organically into a multi-faceted resource that includes a job board, education hub, salary surveys, and information about career paths in engineering. But their career center is more than an information hub. Through initiatives like their Mentor Match mentoring program and a comprehensive directory to local ASCE branches and sections, the pair is working hard to encourage members to network offline and get involved in association-sponsored activities that can truly change their career paths.  Tirza and Courtney share how they're overcoming the perception that Mentor Match is an engineering version of, and how they're letting each bit of feedback about ASCE's career resources guide their decisions about what to do next. If you're involved in your association's professional development or career resource programming, this episode is full of information and mini case-studies you'll definitely want to hear. Want to share your message with the Association Adviser community? Advertise on this podcast!  Association professionals will hear about your business and your solutions as they listen for in-depth features about what’s happening now - and next – in the association community. Your business belongs in this community, too. Go to for more info. 
May 28, 2019
Modernizing Your Association: WRLA
Kelly and Kaydee speak with Liz Kovach and Jessica Cranmer of the Western Retail Lumber Association about the work they and their staff are doing to modernize WRLA's events, industry talent pipeline, and government relations.  WRLA began in 1890 as an organization to facilitate the success of the building industry. Today, it represents 2,400 member businesses and 262,000 Canadians employed in building material-related industries. Liz and Jessica talk about updating WRLA's Buying Show with an educational track (it never had one until last year!), their partnership with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology to show students that working lumber industry doesn't mean you become a lumberjack, and their plan to regroup with related associations and create a strategy for advocating for the lumber industry at the federal level.  It's a great conversation to hear if your association is considering becoming more involved in government relations. Thanks to Liz and Jessica for joining us!  And thanks to our sponsor, Naylor Association Solutions. 
May 2, 2019
The Leading Edge of Change
We’re happy to welcome back Sharon Newport, Executive Director for the Door Security & Safety Foundation and Director of Operations for the Door and Hardware Institute for today’s episode.  Sharon continues our conversation about association leadership and how great leaders are nurtured within organizations that make leadership training and knowledge transfer part of their organizational culture. “Leading” associations are firmly grounded in their mission, and while they might adopt some of the latest leadership or staff development trends - they stay firmly grounded in their WHY so they don’t lose sight of the leadership or succession goals they’re striving for.  We talk about transferring leadership and organizational knowledge across roles and generations, why it's important that leaders accept failure, and the difference between mentorship and sponsorship. We’re so glad Sharon could make time to share what she’s learning about leadership with us! Check out the Door Security & Safety Foundation at Thanks to Naylor Association Solutions for sponsoring this episode.
March 22, 2019
Refresh Your Association Brand
Updating your association's brand can seem like a gargantuan task, but it doesn't have to be impossibly difficult. Josh Spradling, CAE, and Steven Stout, CAE, both of the Texas Society of Association Executives, share the process of their organization's recent brand refresh. They detail how the impetus for an update began with their board leadership, how they involved an outside research firm to learn where their reputation stood and how to move it into the next decade, and how they formed a task force intentionally made up of people with different perspectives and experiences with TSAE so that everyone the association reaches could contribute to the new brand.  "Better together" is TSAE's new tagline from the refresh process, and we think you'll agree that "together" is how a vibrant, impactful association brand like TSAE's is made. Listen for Josh and Steven's two most important pieces of advice when it comes to refreshing your association brand and how to ensure a positive reception from your members upon revealing a new association look.  Check out TSAE's updated brand at! Thanks to our podcast sponsor, Naylor Association Solutions. Learn how your association can achieve more non-dues revenue and greater member engagement at Want to be a guest on our podcast? Drop us an email at with your topic ideas! Want to stay behind the scenes, but have a concept you want to know more about? We're always accepting episode ideas at the email address above. Thanks for listening!
February 3, 2019
Change Leadership and Leading with Curiosity
Changes in your work and team are inevitable, but they don't have to be difficult. Sharon Newport, director of operations at DHI - Door Security & Safety Professionals, shares about leading through the lens of change, and the benefits to using the power of change leadership to mold your association's culture and programming. She details how leading with curiosity can help you explore the hidden strengths and great ideas of your team while improving your leadership skills. Sharon was once a documentary writer, producer, and actress, and has found many parallels between the structure of the media community and the association community, which she says is the tribe she never knew she needed. We think you’ll love her insights into the power of change leadership.
December 15, 2018
Programmatic Advertising: Retargeting
UPDATED 11/9 with full retargeting conversation! On this mini episode we welcome back Kerry Walter, Naylor’s director of programmatic operations. Kerry explains how retargeting on Naylor’s programmatic advertising platform can benefit associations, their members and their advertisers. Retargeting is advertising online to certain individuals or groups of individuals based on their demographic characteristics or their recent online behavior. An example of retargeting that Kerry gives during our conversation is event registration. Using programmatic technology, an association can track who hasn’t yet registered online for an event, and continue to advertise to those individuals through display ads, pop-ups, or other online messaging. In addition to events, associations can use retargeting to advertise membership, to solicit sponsors, or to thank vendors. I’ll let Kerry explain how it works in detail. It's worth the listen and will get you excited about breathing more life into your association communications! For more info about programmatic advertising, visit Thanks to our sponsor, Naylor Association Solutions for their support of this podcast! Visit us at Thanks for listening to The Association Adviser Podcast! If you'd like to suggest a topic or a guest (even yourself!) for a future podcast, reach out to us at Connect with Association Adviser: Twitter: Instagram: @AssocAdviser Website: Subscribe to Association Adviser monthly:
November 9, 2018
Tradition vs. Technology in Association Communications
What balance between traditional forms of association communications, such as printed magazines and newsletters, and newer, trendier forms such as podcasts or online communities, should associations strike? We talk with two leading communicators in the association community about maintaining this balance: Evan Sparks of the American Bankers Association and Bill Thorne of the National Retail Federation. Both Evan and Bill head communications at their respective associations, and focus not only on producing content that their members value, but on delivering that content in a way that is accessible and convenient for as many members as possible. While association professionals have ranked traditional face-to-face events and print magazines within their top three communication channels for three years running - AND printed member newsletters broke into our top ten for the first time since we’ve run this survey - newer, trendier forms of communication are gaining prominence. Private online communities, apps, and podcasts were all rated at very or extremely valuable by 40 percent or more of association professionals surveyed. We talked about the logic of publishing quick updates and in-depth features on different platforms. We touched upon integrating advertiser content into member communication in a way that presents product and service info without determining an association's content strategy. And we cover how to find out which communication platforms are effective among members and other stakeholders, who should be making those decisions, and how often you should be examining those preferences. Thanks to Naylor Association Solutions for sponsoring this podcast! Check out our programmatic advertising product at Show links: ABA Podcast: NRF's annual STORES Magazine: American Bankers Association: National Retail Federation: Thanks for listening to The Association Adviser Podcast! If you'd like to suggest a topic or a guest (even yourself!) for a future podcast, reach out to us at Connect with Association Adviser: Twitter: Instagram: @AssocAdviser Website: Subscribe to Association Adviser monthly:
October 17, 2018
How Programmatic Advertising Benefits Associations
Heard of programmatic advertising, but wondering what it is and how it works? Join us for a conversation with Kerry Walter, director of programmatic operations for Naylor Association Solutions. Kerry explains how programmatic advertising is an auction-based style of buying and selling ads that can help your sponsors reach more of your members. Programmatic also helps associations reach more members and potential members with important programming messages through retargeting capabilities. In short, it helps suppliers reach their target audience, and helps your association reach the people you want to involve more! This mini episode is the first of a series on programmatic advertising. Thanks to our sponsor Naylor Association Solutions. Email us with your topic ideas at
September 12, 2018
Foresight is the Future of Governing
On this episode we’re pleased to welcome Jeff De Cagna, FRSA, FASAE, executive advisor of Foresight First, LLC. Jeff is a respected contrarian thinker on the future of associating and associations. He talks with us about the need for high-performing boards of directors and the necessity of adopting a future-oriented planning mindset he calls foresight first. Jeff explains how associations need their boards to focus their attention on understanding and preparing for an uncertain future for their organizations and stakeholders. We're also excited to debut a new eBook in collaboration with Jeff: "Foresight is the Future of Governing." Download it at or Going to #ASAE18? Visit Naylor at booth 423! We'll have Garrett Popcorn and furry friends from the Canine Therapy Corps to help you relax and recharge. Find out how Naylor can help you achieve more by talking with one of out team members about solutions for your association.
August 23, 2018
3 Things Associations Should Do on Social Media Right Now
What should your association be doing on social media to effectively communicate with members and potential members? Kelly & Kaydee break it down: BIG idea: Control your message. Take ownership of your brand and your association's voice on the social media platforms that are most relevant to your audience. You don't have to be everywhere, but you do need to be SOMEWHERE. Small idea #1: Build stories using Twitter Moments. Moments are collections of tweets that you post, or that others post, that you gather under a “Moment” that is accessible through your profile. They're a great way to tell a story about an event, a program, or a person. Small idea #2: Use association-branded hashtags in your posts. Hashtags are such a simple tool that help people find and focus on info they want. Use hashtags to recognize members, brand your social media, get members to take action & more. Let us know what you think & drop us suggestions for future podcasts at
August 7, 2018
Make Content Planning Work for You
Chances are your association members interact with your association in more than one way. They attend events, open your emails, and read your publications at a frequency and level of involvement that fits their professional role and aspirations at the moment. But not all members prefer to receive communications in the same way, at the same time and in the same format. But, through our 2017 Association Communications Benchmarking Study, we found that more than 50 percent of associations surveyed say they have just one overall content strategy for all members! Content planning isn’t easy, so we talked with Monica Dutcher, editor and content director for the National Asphalt Pavement Association, and Ashley Williams, Communication director for the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, about how they tackle content planning. Monica and Ashley share their processes for planning magazine issues and online content, how they source content, who makes decisions about content plans and who is respo
July 31, 2018
How Associations Can Earn More Non-Dues Revenue
Why is non-dues revenue important to associations? In addition to supporting year-round programming and keeping member dues low, non-dues revenue (the kind of revenue your association can earn from any source other than membership dues) helps associations expand programming as well as expand their membership roll. This month, Kaydee Brown and Kelly Clark talk with Tara Ericson, Group Vice President for Member Communications at Naylor Association Solutions, and John Bacon, a group publisher also with Naylor, about the ways asosciations can earn more revenue that will support their mission and goals. We cover ways of earning more revenue including the sale of advertising space in publications, charging for exhibit space at an event, and collecting fees to view content from an educational course or your association’s conferences and workshops. Tara and John give useful insight into how a vendor that specializes in publication design and production or event management can help an asoscia
May 29, 2018
Why You Should Work for an Association
What are the benefits of working for an association? Why would a young professional want to start a career in association work? Kelly Clark and Kaydee Brown of The Association Adviser Podcast discuss three reasons working in the association community comes is a solid career path: 1. Opportunity to work in ANY industry 2. Opportunity to come from ANY background 3. Opportunity to work in a variety of roles 4. Opportunity to grow your career parallel to the growth of an organization We then discuss ways to keep your association career moving forward, including self-improvement book recommendations from Erica Halmstad of the National Fluid Power Association, taking online or in-person courses, attending conferences and workshops, and where to find quick association career tips online. As promised during the podcast, these are some of our favorite association blogs and online resources: htt
April 30, 2018
Event Security: What to Anticipate and How to Plan For More Secure Events
On this podcast, Kaydee and Kelly discuss event safety and security, and how associations can prepare for an event-related crisis. Does your association have an event crisis plan? Do your staff know what to do when someone at an event is injured, or when a hurricane is bearing down on your venue? Safety and security is the No. 1 trend in the Meetings Outlook Surveys held by MPI (Meeting Professionals International) twice each year. This is the first time in the history of the survey that safety and security has ranked as the number one trend meeting planners pay attention to when planning an event. Surprised? Considering recent events that have negatively impacted concerts, church services, schools and other events, not to mention the usual risks of sickness or weather that event planners usually anticipate, you shouldn't be. While some crises are more preventable than others, you and your staff can and should prepare for all types of crises. On this podcast, we review the most re
March 28, 2018
New Year's Resolutions for Associations
Did you know that University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year's goals? Furthermore, the New York Times estimates that 40% of resolutions are broken by Jan. 8. That's a short life for goals many people say they want to achieve! On this episode we’re talking about New Year’s Resolutions: Why we make them, tips for making and keeping a new year’s resolution, and how associations can adopt resolutions that help achieve their goals. Kaydee and Kelly run through the most popular New Year's resolutions and what research says about why people break them. We cover tips for keeping your resolutions and for setting goals/resolutions that are realistic and achieveable. We also share different ways of making resolutions, including the increasingly popular One Word or Word for the Year method of focusing your new year goals. Finally, we discuss how associations can get into the New Year spirit and set resolutions for their organization - after all, resol
January 22, 2018
The Association Adviser Podcast Intro
Welcome to The Association Adviser Podcast! Association Adviser is a hub for trade and professional associations looking for best practices, news and leadership strategies. We shine a spotlight on the fun and successful things associations are doing! We also listen to what our association partners tell us they want to improve, and we research what tools and processes are available to help associations overcome those challenges. Our goals for this podcast are to host a space for association professionals of every background, every title, and every experience level to talk about what you all have learned and are continuing to learn about working in associations. This includes working with members and boards of directors, marketing, advocacy, technology use and everything in between. We also want this to be one more way you can connect with Association Adviser. Busy professionals like to have options for getting information, and we aim to deliver! We hope this podcast can become a re
November 30, 2017
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