Your data holds the keys to your membership-campaign strategies. GRC MemberTrends analyzes your data and reveals immediately actionable strategies that you can use to drive renewals, new-member campaigns, and other efforts aimed at strengthening your organization. And you won’t have to break your budget in the process. Using GRC MemberTrends, you will learn:
Each GRC MemberTrends report is delivered with both in-depth analysis and easy-to-digest charts and graphics that summarize the major takeaways. They also include recommended action plans based on the specific results generated from your data. This sample report gives you an idea of what to expect, but remember–each GRC Member Trends report is customized based on results generated from your data.
Ready to gain new, actionable insight from your data? Contact us today
These days, developing your membership-building strategies around data is paramount. Knowing who your members are, how they interact with your organization and its offerings, and why they stay (and go) is key to developing effective and cost-efficient campaigns.
Before you launch a successful campaign, however, you must have solid data. Collecting the right data–and in ways that do not put barriers in front of members or prospective members–is where the entire process starts.
By the time a prospect becomes a member, you probably have at least some information about her. She subscribed to an e-mail list or is on a prospects-campaign list. This is your foundation–a solid start. The goal from here should be to build on it carefully and consistently as you interact with her.
The first major opportunity to collect data is during the sign-up process, when your prospective member is making the transition to active member. It’s the ideal time to grab most of the data you need, right?
Not so fast.
Your new member is excited to be joining your community, and something you offer–likely a few things–is what pulled her over the line. One thing you can bet on: the sign-up process is not one of them. Sign-up and on-boarding should be as painless as possible. This is the time to stoke that enthusiasm by fast-tracking the process, so she gets to what she wants, as quickly as possible.
Once your new member is in, she should be experiencing a different level of engagement. This is an ideal time to build on your data foundation. Among the tactics we’ve seen work: ask simple questions in email newsletters and ask the members to respond directly, or by updating a profile. For example, you can customize the question using your member’s profile information, such as her employer’s name. Cross-reference this information with something relevant about the member’s employer–such as the number of employees it has–and you can ask, “We have that your company has X-XX employees. Is this still correct?” An accompanying link takes her to her profile, and that helps update your database. Similar questions can be linked to different fields in the member profile. Before long, you have a robust data set.
Some other ideas to consider: website pop-ups, self-service member directories, and, of course, the time-tested survey. Take care to not overwhelm your members with too many queries to complete these, however. Pop-ups should not be on every website page, and preferably not the home page. Again, think about why people are visiting that page of your site. Odds are experienced members have bookmarked internal pages and are going directly to them, while prospects are starting at your virtual front-door.
As for survey frequencies, annual member survey, or perhaps two shorter surveys spread out every six months, is not too much to ask.
Don’t forget about the renewal process, too. This is an ideal time to have your members confirm basic details.
Regardless of which tactics you use, remember to remind the members how collecting (and verifying) data will help their membership experience. Nobody likes to input data, but everyone will welcome the outcome: a more valuable experience for them, and a better association overall.
The takeaway: Yes, collecting data from your members is the foundation of a successful, sustainable membership-development plan. But it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Every department thinks its data is what moves the needle. Establish a consensus among internal stakeholders about what needs collecting as well as a steady plan to get it done. Your members will welcome the more subtle approach, and you’ll still get what you need to succeed.
In most associations, one of the perks of membership is access to a steady stream of high-quality, informative content. From magazines to videos, creating useful content for members–be it to educate, inform, or, in some cases, even entertain–is a time-tested way to add value and develop a sense of indispensability about your offering.
But if members are the only ones that ever see your members-only content, consider altering your strategy.
Some of the most effective membership-marketing campaigns leverage the very content associations use to help keep members around. The key, of course, is using just enough to entice prospective members but still protecting the majority of the good stuff for those that already pay for it. As a bonus, you can use these strategies to augment your data-collection efforts.
Here are several strategies we’ve helped put in place that balance attracting new members with keeping most content under wraps, while providing some valuable data insights.
Custom email campaigns. Odds are, your new-member-outreach efforts include sending emails to prospects. Instead of simply telling them about the benefits of your association, show them–using some content. Provide links to one or two useful articles you’ve published. Your CRM system should be able to track click-thrus, so you can get an idea of what is resonating. Set up a campaign that swaps in new content with some frequency, but not too often–once every 2-3 months, say. This keeps it fresh for prospects, while safeguarding the amount of free content being made available.
Landing pages. Setting up a landing page with a simple data-collection form–name, email address, and perhaps one relevant piece of information germane to your association’s membership types–is an ideal way to let non-members read content. Put an article, white paper, or perhaps some presentations from a recent conference you held behind the landing page, and promote the effort through existing channels–e-mail, social media, etc.
“Freemium” website content. If you publish regularly to a news or blog section, consider setting up some of your content so that anyone can read it, so long as a name and email address is provided. This approach allows your website to work its search-engine magic naturally, while both supporting your membership-development and data-gathering strategies. News websites use the strategy often to turn browsers into subscribers; associations can follow the same path.
Webinars. One of the more popular and effective ways to inform and interact with members is via webinars. They’re used as both lead-generation tools and members-only educational benefits. If your association does the latter, consider opening one up to non-members. We recommend giving access to a recorded version, which helps keep the webinar’s main target–your members–feeling like they received the exclusive benefit of participating in the live version. If you have the resources, consider a special webinar that targets prospective members. Pick a topic that you know resonates with members, but perhaps is covered elsewhere via their members-only content. Then promote the webinar through your current prospective member-outreach channels.
These approaches can be used in combination, and they aren’t the only ways to use your existing content to attract prospective members. When developing the strategies, it’s important to strike a balance between providing value and giving away too much content. Establishing the related data-collection and analysis strategies is also key to ensuring your efforts pay long-term dividends.
Helping set up and improve new-member campaigns is part of our expertise.
If you have a campaign you’re building, or one that could use some freshening up, we’d be happy to sit down and talk.
How is social media influencing our perceptions?
Trust in social media is low, and Americans have been spending less time on Facebook, partly because so much of what they see online is negative and dubious, a recent article in The Economist says. Globally, users spent around 50 million hours less per day on Facebook in the fourth quarter of 2017, which translates into a 15% drop in the time spent year after year, according to Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for relying too much on social channels to get your message out. Let’s be clear: social media is nowhere near dead. But it does suffer from a major credibility problem. Many people no longer trust the platform to deliver high-quality content or persuasive messaging because it is simply too easy to manipulate by nefarious actors.
That’s one reason we always advocate for a direct-mail component in every campaign–fundraising or political.
When your organization’s constituents cannot be safe in the certainty that the appeals and ads in front of their eyes are not the work of propagandists or fake news peddlers, then your online campaign will suffer. Donors will close their wallets, not wanting to chance being duped into funding a scam.
A beautifully written personalized appeal letter, on the other hand, addressed to your donor buys you instant credibility in a way social media simply can’t.
Using today’s digital channels—from Facebook to e-mail—is wise to consider when putting together your distribution strategies. But don’t forget to complement those efforts with tactics that offer a contrast, both in where they will be seen, and how people feel about them. Direct mail fits right in here.
It’s time to get back to the basics. Let us show you why high-quality direct mail still delivers.
Another long-time client of ours—a performing-arts venue—faced an interesting challenge. Its primary venue was undergoing a major renovation, but the shows had to go on! A temporary venue would host events while the main complex was being improved.
The situation created two immediate needs. First, patrons had to know what was going on—how long would the temporary venue be used, what were the changes coming in the new venue, and the like. Basically, expectations had to be set and managed.
The second need was more subtle but no less important: The organization wanted to make it as easy and convenient as as possible for customers to use the temporary venue.
Working closely with the client’s marketing and outreach teams, we developed a multi-channel strategy designed to get customers excited about the new venue and keep them engaged during the transition.
A direct-mail campaign used personalized URLs—or PURLs—on postcards that gave each recipient a customized web page that had directions from their address to the temporary venue and back. It also included recommendations on where to eat in the area.
The site also gave customers a customized view of the new theatre from their future seats.
All of it was backed with reminder emails to keep the information handy—and provided easy access to the PURLs.
“The idea was to turn an inconvenience into a chance to elevate member service, while getting members excited about the big picture,” Rapoport says. “The client was happy, and most importantly, so were the customers.”
If you’ve spent any time in association marketing or membership-recruitment, you’ve no doubt heard about the advantages of using data. Whether you’re looking to build your membership, retain members, or simply serve them better, data can help. Or so you’ve been told.
We’re not going to disagree. As our strategies have evolved over more than two decades, data’s importance as a marketing tool has steadily grown. One thing we’ve found, however, is that while our clients understand that they can be using data more productively, they’re not always sure how to go about it.
While there are myriad ways to leverage datasets, we wanted to present two recent real-world examples in which, working with association marketing executives, we helped develop data-driven campaigns with very specific goals.
Our first example is a large professional organization with more than 100 regional chapters underneath a national governing body. Their goal: increase membership through a coordinated campaign that also worked in targeted messaging on, in many cases, a chapter-specific basis.
The task was a challenge, but well worth the effort. Coming up with chapter-specific messaging helped prospects feel more connected to the organization—a simple yet effective example of personalization. Delivering chapter-specific messaging also allowed letters to come from chapter presidents, rather than the national leadership.
Execution required driving messaging based on ZIP codes, which were grouped based on the chapters they are in. The effort was coordinated through the national organization—this ensured that messaging, while customized, had common content that was relevant to the organization as a whole.
“By having the national organization drive the campaign but programming it by demographics, a unified message could be sent out that appeared to be coming from the local chapter,” Grassroot VP-Sales and Marketing Sherene Rapoport explains. “There was enough customized content to make the messaging unique, yet the underlying theme supported the national organization’s goals.”
The campaign was a success, driving membership numbers up from across the country
If you’re a marketer and you haven’t been hiding under a rock for, oh, the last decade, you are well aware of how important data has become in developing successful campaigns. For a long time, the battle cry was, “More data!” Capture information from your customers and prospects–the more, the better.
But data quantity is only one ingredient in the recipe for successful analytics-driven marketing. Data quality matters as well–and it’s arguably more important as your dataset grows.
Why? Because data is only as good as it is accurate, and customer data points change over time. The simple act of getting older shifts a person’s data profile through the major stages of life: student, young professional, parent, retiree, and so on. An analysis by Biznology found that data can decay at a rate of 70% per year if left untouched.
Decaying data simply leads to more problems. If your team is working with bad data, they will get bad results, or the equally undesirable task of trying to hunt for better data to make the campaign work. The Harvard Business Review estimates that inaccurate or incomplete data can lower a marketing team’s productivity by as much as 50%.
Fortunately, a few simple steps will ensure that a good quantity of data will keep its quality over time.
One other strategy worth considering: Automation. Processes such as de-duping can be done automatically. Use the power of digital not just for outreach, but to sharpen your outreach tools!
Developing and maintaining quality data sets is one of our core competencies. We’d love to talk to you about your challenges, and work with you to create more opportunities. Contact Sherene, our VP of Sales and Marketing, to start the conversation!
For more data-quality tips and insight, see the related infographic from our friends at Connext
Savvy association executives know that technology is a key driver in serving membership—from user-friendly websites to apps that help keep members connected and engaged. What may be a surprise, however, is how pivotal technology is at making a member feel like they are part of the community.
A recent study by software provider Community Brands makes strong links between how well associations leverage digital tools to serve members better, and how connected—and satisfied—those members feel.
The study, Examining the Gap Between Member Expectations and Association Technology, surveyed more than 1,000 members of professional associations and 400 staff members in fall 2017. The takeaways show that associations have significant opportunities to drive member loyalty through technology, but many organizations are not taking advantage of them. The ones that are investing in technology to connect members—primarily through personalization of communication and content—are reaping tremendous benefits.
“In our study, we discovered technology and personalization play pivotal roles in driving member loyalty, but there is a growing disconnect between where members believe their organization is delivering the best experiences and what they value,” said Sig VanDamme, membership software evangelist at Community Brands. “The experience gap is especially pronounced with personalization. Members who believe they are receiving personalized content feel significantly more satisfied and connected with their organization.”
The survey shows that most associations—at least 60%–are using four primary digital tools: email marketing, CRM software, events-related tools, and webinar services. Other tools that align with member needs and priorities—such as job boards and learning management systems for training–are less common. Mobile apps are used by only half of the organizations surveyed as well.
A look at the members’ desires shows a disconnect. Among those born from 1965 to 1999—think Generation Xers and Millennials—at least 65% say technology plays a “big role” in their lives. More than 80% use a mobile device every day, and the same number pay for at least one digital subscription, such as Netflix.
It’s no surprise, then, that among the different ways that members can connect with their associations, the mobile option is the only one where more respondents said they wanted to engage than were actually engaging. This shows a gap between what associations are offering, and what members want.
“Organizations need to take these technology experience gaps seriously and progress to more seamless experiences that align with evolving digital behavior, and meet increasing member expectations for flexibility and personalization in everything they do,” VanDamme said.
What’s the easiest way to begin closing these gaps? Start with personalization. More than 70% of respondents said that personalized content appeals to them and makes them feel more connected with their organization. The type of content can vary—from discounted offers to conferences based on a member’s history or skill set, or specific articles on topics of interest based on a member’s profile.
“A majority of members (69 percent) feel more engaged with an organization after receiving personalized content, based on their past activity, because it shows the organization is interested in meeting their needs,” the study said.
Start small: birthday wishes, congratulatory notes when certain certifications are reached, or even products and services that align with the member’s profile. The key is to ensure the data you have is up to the task.
Grassroot Communications specializes in data analytics—and our team would be happy to help you! And if you’re wondering how to jump-start building a valuable database that stretches beyond your membership, contact us.
As we discuss content planning and continue the conversation about creating content that will allow your association to engage its target audience, it’s important to emphasize the idea of repurposing.
In an age when data, information, and records are amended and updated regularly, content creators are left with a dilemma – due to no fault of their own. Like anything else, content ages. It grows old, and this can be reflected in a few different ways:
• Your content likely has a timestamp.
• Your content might discuss “current” events that are no longer current.
• Your content’s legitimacy might be affected by a recent study or new discovery.
And these are all reasons why you should make time to replenish and improve your archive of aging content. But repurposing – the idea of recycling old content and marketing it as new content – is something entirely different. It doesn’t just
“save” your content from growing old. Instead, repurposing gives you a plethora of marketing advantages.
Let’s take a brief look at several of these benefits.
1. Cover topics more comprehensively over time When you revisit something – whether it’s an article, an ad, or a graphic – you can almost always find ways to improve on it. The same goes for your content. So, next time you rewrite an old article with the intention of publishing it as brand new content, see whether you can dive a little deeper. Elaborate further on a particular point or add a couple of new facts.
2. Improve your SEO ranking by reinforcing keywords and using backlinks In terms of marketing, many would argue that search engine optimization is where repurposing presents its greatest advantage. By covering one topic repeatedly, you’re able to use the same keywords and include backlinks to your original content. This strategy will help you increase your SEO ranking over time.
3. Gain greater credibility on a subject The more you cover a topic, the more authority you’re going to gain on that subject. This becomes especially helpful when a reader is interested in a topic and chooses to reference your content as a constant source. With enough time, you build a specific audience for a niche that you know inside out.
4. Remain current on a subject And you can’t build credibility without being accurate, right? When you revisit a subject repeatedly, you’ll be able to improve your knowledge on that topic but picking up new facts and ideas along the way.
5. Save time spent researching and writing Of all repurposing’s benefits, the time you save might provide the biggest payoff. If the content is yours, why not simply rewrite it? Why not make minor tweaks here and there? You have the ability to use your content over and over again – in ways that allow you to bypass a few steps in the content creation process. Cut down on research. Cut down on writing. Focus on marketing.
6. Increase your creative palette by utilizing different content forms There are so many ways to tell a story. Perhaps you wrote an article, but you know that the same information might be just as effective when presented as a short video. Maybe the information in your short video can also be presented as an infographic. Don’t settle for one creative form when you have a variety of methods at your disposal. Use repurposing to experiment with these different forms.
7. Tailor the same content to different audiences Once you’re knowledgeable about a topic, you have the ability to narrow or broaden your target audience. A short blog post directed to a handful of your association’s members might also be repurposed as a white paper made that you make publicly available in the future.
Are you using the power of repurposing to reap the 7 benefits we mentioned above? If not, why not start today? Dig up one of your old articles or videos and see how you can reuse that information to publish something fresh and exciting!