What if you could expand the reach of your communications and spread the value of membership and importance of your organization to non-members? What if this expanded reach lead to a huge increase — we’re talking nearly 50% — in membership?
NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, did exactly that. With a revamped communications strategy and an integrated communications plan, NAADAC was able to increase membership by 48% in one year’s time. Last week, NAADAC shared their story on an Informz webinar, and spoke about their plans for continuing their membership growth streak using marketing automation.
A 50% increase in membership is nothing to sneeze at, but the potential for an even larger increase was still there. Knowing that the majority of names on their email list were non-members, NAADAC is in the process of shifting their strategy to ensure meaningful first impressions with new audience members, and marketing automation is a clear fit for this tactic. But before they could automate campaigns, they first had to define who they were communicating to so they could ensure relevancy and make the most of each and every touchpoint with potential members. That’s where Cathy Counselor came in.
Misti Storie, Director of Training and Professional Development at NAADAC, worked with Viv Swertinski, Sr. Digital Marketing Strategist at Informz, to conduct a detailed examination of NAADAC’s audience. With such significant membership growth, it was important to reevaluate their current member base to make strategic decisions about future communications. Are they a homogeneous group, or are they made up of vastly different groups of people? What are their primary job functions? Do they have similar work settings? What motivates them to work in the addiction field?
Once they put themselves in the shoes of their members, Viv and Misti developed Cathy Counselor. This persona is a fictional representation of a very real audience. Naming her helps humanizing her. We know that Cathy Counselor:
Understanding the counselor persona will help NAADAC tailor communications that speak directly to her and illustrate the value of membership that will help her reach her personal and professional goals.
With Cathy Counselor’s persona and so many non-member names being added to NAADAC’s database as a result of their educational programs, NAADAC is armed and ready to automate campaigns that will help acquaint prospective members to the services offered by NAADAC and the value of membership. NAADAC has setup a welcome series of five emails, triggered over the course of a few weeks, to welcome prospects to the community, alert them of advocacy and educational opportunities, share membership benefits, and ultimately encourage membership.
This strategic plan has NAADAC on the right path to keep their membership streak going strong.
To hear Misti and Viv share their plan on last week’s webinar, watch here!
Love Your Kidneys, a monthly enewsletter sent to over 300,000 subscribers by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), delivers news for patients and families on kidney health. When email metrics fell, NKF utilized Informz reports to identify unengaged subscribers and conduct a re-engagement campaign. The results? Over 13,000 subscribers with renewed interest and open rates that were 155% higher and click rates that were 14% higher than in the past.
Let’s see how they did it.
Love Your Kidneys was facing a below average open rate of 11% month after month. By utilizing their Informz reporting tools, they also identified that 57% of the long-time subscribers (six months or more) had not opened or clicked on the newsletter in over 12 months.
“We recognized that some of our subscribers were no longer reading our emails and decided that we wanted to perform some type of list ‘clean up.’ At first, the thought of identifying and removing subscribers seemed overwhelming,” said Lindsey Kellman, Communications Manager, National Kidney Foundation.
In an effort to improve their enewsletter engagement rates, NKF enlisted the help of an Informz eMarketing Strategist. Together they developed a re-engagement plan to update subscriber preferences, gain feedback and remove inactive list members. The plan consisted of the following steps:
In an effort to reduce any extra noise and distract the subscribers from seeing the re-engagement emails, the inactive subscribers were temporarily not sent the enewsletter.
Over a series of three weeks, emails were sent encouraging the inactive subscribers to update their preferences. In the email there was a sample of the newsletter, a survey and an opt-out link. As an added incentive to receive feedback, respondents were entered to win a gift card. Each consecutive email increased in urgency, informing the subscriber that if they did not opt-out or complete the survey, they would be removed from the list.
Using Informz Surveys, NKF created a brief, three-question survey to include in the emails to identify who wanted to continue to receive the newsletter and provide insight into the interests of these subscribers.
“The assistance of the Informz Strategy Team and the easy-to-use tools in Informz made the project simple to manage,” said Kellman.
At the end of the campaign, a total of 13,561 subscribers engaged in the email and/or survey and were not removed from the enewsletter. Of those that answered the survey, only five percent opted to be removed. The survey results also provided NKF with information that will be used in follow-up emails, such as interests that relate to other topic-related enewsletters that NKF offers, further customizing the subscriber’s experience. The most impressive result was the improvement and accuracy in the engagement levels. By removing subscribers that were not engaged and using data received from the survey, Love Your Kidneys saw a lift of over 150 percent in open rates and a 14 percent lift in click-thru rates.
“The great results speak for themselves! We will be using the feedback we received from subscribers to enhance Love Your Kidneys and expect to continue seeing great results,” said Kellman.
Overall, NKF took steps to identify and remove those that no longer found the enewsletter valuable. By doing this, these subscribers will be able to focus on other emails that come from NKF that they do find valuable. Survey results provide NKF with a guide to a future strategy in content development and customization.
To download your copy of the NKF Success Story, click here.
Some time ago, I wrote a blog about the risks associated with third party content, where I included some information on IP and domain reputation and how that might impact treatment of your messages upon delivery.
I’m bringing this topic back up because I’ve seen a few senders using shortened URLs, in the form of “bit.ly” links, in recent email campaigns. This has been problematic as the bit.ly domain is listed on the Spamhaus DBL right now, having been abused by spammers. If you are sending messages using bit.ly links, you’ve probably had some delivery issues to some domains, whether you know it or not. It may not have gotten you blocked altogether (for some, it has), but it may simply increase your spam scoring by the receiving filters, and perhaps your messages were placed in the junk folder.
If you suspect your mailing may have been rejected due to inclusion of a bit.ly link, you can do a simple test by identifying a subscriber who normally receives your messages, but had it blocked this time around (perhaps with an error that references content or even blacklisting). Make a copy of your mailing, remove or alter any links that went to bit.ly, instead simply pointing them to the ultimate destination URL. Resend the mailing to just the subscriber in question and see if there is a different outcome.
Stay off the naughty list this year!
Like many associations today, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA, was facing its challenges. Email marketing efforts were inefficient, time consuming, and cumbersome, and membership numbers were falling. GCSAA switched to integrated email marketing with Informz and everything changed for them. No more uploading lists. No more IT intervention. No more template issues. So far, they’ve eliminated over 300+ staff hours and saved $38,000.
Let’s see how they did it.
GCSAA was spending a substantial amount of time each week to get enewsletters out the door. Countless hours of IT staff time was required to create and modify templates, manage vendor relationships, and fix deliverability issues. On top of that, member retention had nosedived.
To streamline the email creation process and cut down on IT staff intervention, GCSAA partnered with Informz because of its integration with their member database and easy-to-use email marketing features.
To date, GCSAA has eliminated over 300 hours of staff time and saved $38,000 in costs using email marketing integrated with their database. Tools like user-managed preferences and mobile and social optimization are creating a better experience for members, while advertising analytics keep advertisers happy because they’re receiving a clearer picture of advertisement performance.
One year ago, GCSAA hit their breaking point with their email marketing process. It was taking five people to get one enewsletter done. IT staff was repeatedly being called in to create or fix templates, manage multiple vendor relationships, and was drowning in bounces and list management. Member retention was plummeting as well. They knew they had to make a change.
GCSAA selected the Informz email marketing platform, which would integrate with their member database, to eliminate some of the manual work that was costing them valuable man hours. They also wanted to take advantage of sophisticated features in Informz to better communicate with members and improve member retention.
With the integration, GCSAA immediately removed manual tasks from the email creation process. Subscriber lists were pulled into Informz directly based on queries setup in their database, eliminating the need for IT assistance in list pulling for every email send. Preference management forms were created in Informz allowing GSCAA members to update and modify email preferences on their own, which in turn enabled the association to better segment their communications.
GCSAA also made progress to improve member engagement by refining their mobile and social strategies. The Informz Social Posting feature allows members to easily share GCSAA emails with their social networks, enabling the association to see the top social networks where content is being shared, who is sharing it, and how it performs on those networks. Mobile reporting has helped GCSAA identify how members are using mobile devices to view their email so they can adjust their mobile strategy.
“The integration has given us our IT staff back with the efficiencies its created, easy-to-use template management, and visibility into deliverability issues,” said Lambert Tomeldan from GCSAA.
As a result of their integrated email marketing strategy, GCSAA eliminated more than 300 IT staff hours and over $38,000 from their budget. The time and money savings have inspired the association to take on an even more advanced approach to targeted email marketing going forward.
Utilizing a real-time integration with Informz and their database, GCSAA eliminated manual tasks that they used to spend hours working on. Uploading lists, running queries, managing bad email addresses and unsubscribes are no longer a part of their routine when prepping for an email send. Email activity is written back to their database, so they’re always aware of member activity.
The Informz template area makes it easy for GCSAA users to manage template creation and modification, so IT can step back and focus on other initiatives. If issues arise, GCSAA works with one vendor – their dedicated eMarketing Advisor at Informz – not multiple vendors.
The Informz reporting suite has shed light on the mobile audience GCSAA communicates with. GCSAA is in the process of adapting to a 50% mobile audience, and mobile features in Informz are getting them there. The integration has also empowered the association to allow members to customize their mailing preferences, creating a better experience for members, and increasing renewals. Informz reports have boosted the relationship between GCSAA and their advertisers. Corporate supporters can see the direct reach of their enewsletter advertisements, demonstrating the value of their partnership with GCSAA.
To download a copy of the full case study, click here.
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