Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5 Ideas About Information Overload for Association Members/Donors

Information overload and the number of times you email association members has been an ongoing topic on ASAE’s Collaborate.

My question is whether “information overload” is the right topic and the right question that association professionals should ask when it comes to communicating with members and prospects. 

Over the last 30+ years, I’ve found that staff and boards tire of association messages before most members have caught on. As a result, we often stop communicating way too soon.

In Your Members Need Help with Information Overload, Joe Rominiecki of Associations Now summarized the discussion well.
  • Are you helping your members with managing all the information that’s thrown at them or just piling on? This challenge presents a major opportunity for associations, but it also calls for a big shift in thinking.
  • Managing information overload topped the list of member concerns identified by association executives in Association Laboratory’s “Looking Forward 2014” report, released last week. In fact, it was a theme in five of the top nine concerns in that survey (red bars, below):

In preparing this post, I discovered this quote:
  • Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. —C.S. Lewis
Let’s revise C.S. Lewis from an association perspective:
  • “Effectiveness comes not from talking about your association so much but from focusing on your members/prospects/donors more.”
Rather than focusing on how many emails we should send members or how members should handle “information overload,” let’s look at how we can improve the effectiveness of our email marketing.

Here are five ideas for you and other association executives or association marketers to consider:


It’s only JUNK MAIL (or SPAM) when you don’t want it or when it does not meet your needs.

Based on extensive reading of a “bunch” of association news releases, blogs and websites, it seems that most associations have forgotten the advice that all members/prospects/donors tune in to radio station WII-FM (What’s In It For Me).

#2 Power of Repetition

Repetition works and increases results.

It takes a minimum of six times of contacting a prospect before they’re ready to purchase.

You’ll also learn that most salespeople stop after just three contacts. Look at the gap of potential business represented there.
—Al Lautenslager

The Power of Repetitive Marketing

  • Studies show it takes nine penetrations of the mind to move a person from total apathy about your business to purchase readiness. For every three times you put out the word, people will be paying attention only one of those times. That means establishing yourself in the minds of your prospects will probably take twenty-seven exposures —Jay Conrad Levinson

#3 What makes email content work?

Email provides associations the most direct line of communication for conversion to sales … which is why the most savvy online marketers have no intention of giving it up any time soon.

Good email content deepens your relationship with your audience through effective subject line writing (getting your messages opened), your distinctive voice (getting those messages read), and delivering quality, niche specific content your prospect needs and shares with others (inspiring referrals and word-of-mouth).

For more information on this topic, Brian Clark of Copyblogger offers a free ebook on email marketing. 

#4 Customer (Member) Service

Knowing your members and their needs helps power your marketing and turn it from junk mail to valued information.  

Micah Solomon wrote about this in a Forbes Magazine article headlined You Can Party - And Advertise - Like It's 1984, But The Customer Experience Is All That Matters In 2014

We are in the era of extreme lifetime network value.

Get to work on improving your customer experience.

  • On hiring more empathetic employees.
  • On improving the training those employees receive, even working on the language they use with customers.
  • On your returns procedures and policies.
  • On the instructions that come with your products.
  • On how quickly you respond to customer queries, compliments, and complaints.
  • O the hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of touchpoints that create a great brand–a brand your customers want to tell their friends about.

#5 Move Relationship from Capture to Partner

John Haydon offers a great video on moving prospects from “capturing their email” to nurturing to converting to partnering. While he focuses on donors, the same strategies work for member recruiting and/or conference registration. Note that content or email marketing fits well within the nurture focus.  Here’s his video

What do you think? 

 Please share your thoughts and comments on our comment page.

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