Using Email Data to Boost Member Activity and Grow Revenue

Kate Jones

Today we welcome a guest post from Michael Roach, Executive Vice President of Communications at NY Capital Region Chapter of the American Marketing Association (NYCRAMA.) Michael will also be speaking at the Informz Users Conference this fall in Virginia.

When did your organization feel like it was in the zone? Was it a time when membership numbers were up? Organizations feel unstoppable when members are engaged and you can see them getting value from being a part of your community.

On the other hand, if you notice a decline in membership, it should raise flags for further questioning. Data can play an important part in answering these questions.

Realizing your power

Like most associations, revenue from member dues allows your organization to carry out its activities and pay expenses. Unfortunately, relying solely on member dues makes growth difficult. Now, in a time when budgets are typically low and resources are scarce, you have to be creative with growing your organization. Did you know that your role in managing email communications gives you tremendous power? You have the power to uncover insights about active and inactive members and use those insights for growth.

Common reasons members become inactive

Members can become inactive because their priorities change. Perhaps they are transitioning out of the trade industry. Some members may even take a new job in which membership to your organization falls outside of the job’s scope. There is also the case that inactive members just don’t see immediate value in being a part of your community. Infrequent get-togethers and rare email communications with your audience could make someone wonder if there is member value. It’s unfortunate and uncomfortable when this happens, but it’s a reality that many organizations face.

When members in your mailing list show patterns of inactivity, you should take notice. However, you may be able to re-engage them with a little effort and key insights from your email metrics.

Take time to learn more about your audience

Before you begin to dig deep for the answers that explain member inactivity and membership decline, take time to learn more about your audience. Your members are not just rows and columns in a data-table, they are human beings. Schedule time to speak with members about their participation and find out why they have been inactive. What you find out may be eye-opening. By speaking with your members, it will become clear that they are multidimensional. They all have various goals, responsibilities, successes, and disappointments. Their current professional situation may explain why and when they have become inactive. Your understanding of your audience will help you communicate better and help boost your numbers.

Digging into email data insights

For additional information-gathering, email reports will show individuals that seem to have lost interest over time. Start investigating if you have been using the right mix of email marketing techniques to reach your member audience. For example, are you writing compelling subject lines to increase chances of your emails being opened? There are simple things you can do right now to engage your members like send emails at the best times and on the best days. Utilize the valuable real estate in your member’s inbox with preheader text, the text that is often displayed after the email subject line. Want to dive even deeper with data? Consider marketing automation to streamline processes and automatically respond to your audience’s online behaviors.

Member re-engagement campaigns with non-dues revenue alternatives

To reach out to inactive members directly, consider a re-engagement campaign by email. Target this segment wisely with existing email data. After knowing who you want to reach, what will you say? This is where the creative part comes in. Along with your organization’s leaders, see what else you can offer members, that in the end will generate non-dues revenue.

Some alternatives to non-dues revenue:

  • Webinars
  • Events (networking opportunities, mixers, luncheons, etc.)
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Online resources (templates, worksheets, whitepapers, e-books)

Simply putting a price tag on webinars, events, and online resources won’t increase your organization’s revenue immediately. Think about using member discounts or free offers to entice inactive members. Make it a point when trying these alternatives that you communicate clearly, politely, often, and in a well-written manner. Use email marketing best practices to reach your audience.

With a little creativity and email data insights, you can learn more about your members and communicate better. Experimenting and implementing non-dues revenue alternatives get you back in the zone for organizational success. You have the power. Harness that power with Informz to increase your organization’s revenue and bring added value to members.

Want to hear more from Michael? He’ll be at the Informz Users Conference November 15-17 in Arlington, VA.

About the Author
Kate Jones

As Digital Marketing Specialist at Informz, Kate manages the company website, social media strategy, press releases and marketing collateral. Outside of work you can find Kate chasing her toddler and dog and laughing at the chaos with her husband.