Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Is Junk Cluttering Association Membership Appeals?

One day's snail mail (Left); Inserts in Sunday paper (right)

You’ve crafted a well-designed, well-worded appeal to recruit new members. The call to action grabs the recipient.

But, despite these superior marketing aspects, your response rate is well below expectations.
What is going on here?
In a word: clutter.
  • Note the two photos above: on the left, our snail mail for just one day (no political campaign mail in this!). On the right, the undesired ad fliers that came with our Sunday newspaper.
Your brilliant appeal probably did not break through the clutter of your recipient’s inbox (whether that is a snail mail box, social media or email.

I was thinking about this when I saw a comment from Glenn Tecker, Chair and Co-CEO of Tecker International.
  • We find that if you approach content strategy, digital strategy and content marketing through the eyes of the provider you lose. If you approach content strategy, digital strategy and content marketing though the eyes of the user you win. 
  • Through the eyes of the user value and relevance are key, so all three have to be driven by behavioral insight and not just member and staff leader opinions. It's the difference between saying "here's what we have let's see who wants it" and "here's what they need, let's figure out how to make it accessible".
And, when considering what vehicles to use to deliver your messages, don’t forget email. Here are comments from the Forward Dash nonprofit newsletter:

Email is still very much alive. In fact, email is one of the most effective ways to convert and retain donors and volunteers.
Here are a few notable stats:
  • 72% of adults in the US send or receive emails at least once a week, using a smartphone. - Forrester (2014)
  • More than 122 trillion emails are sent every hour. - MarketingProfs (2014)
  • Email is converts a whopping 25% of potential donors. - Blackbaud (2014)
So email is far from dead, and in fact is the most effective way to attract and retain donors! Especially during year-end appeals.

Three elements are vital to your success:
  • Message ... from the viewpoint of your recipients, not your association. 
  • Media ... using the media that your recipients prefer. 
  • Timing ... carefully selecting the best time to reach your recipients.
Test all three of these elements and find ways to improve and increase your response rate.

And, always keep in mind the jammed inboxes of your members.

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