Much Ado About New Membership Communications

Justin Bills

Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stage,” and if that’s true then keeping your audience engaged should be a top priority. Membership communications are often a difficult thing to figure out. Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I sending too much email?” “Not enough email?” “Am I even sending anything at all?”

Today we are going to look at some fantastic ideas on how you can leverage Transactional Module and the Campaign Designer (originally a topic from our 2016 Informz Superfan Summit) to create a dialogue with your new members in five easy Acts! You may be thinking that this must be a midsummer night’s dream, but fear not, these tips and tricks will be just as you like it!

Act I.  Puttest thine thinking cap upon thine head

If you want to create a communication plan that doesn’t turn into a tempest, you must craft a solid plan. By spending time up front and mapping out each part of the plan, you will help ensure the largest return on investments. Here are some things to think about:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • Who is heading up the initiative?
  • How long will the engagement be?
  • For what purpose?

Act II.  Thee Transactional Module

Normally transactional module and campaign designer do not really communicate together. They are two separate modules within Informz that each have their own function and purpose.  Transactional module is designed to create custom emails with or without PDF attachments. Imagine sending a welcome email to your members, with a thank you pdf attachment full of important information. Think of this module as a kick off to your new member engagement, but follow these rules!

  • Keep content less than 60% promotional in nature.
  • Create a custom mailing (certificate, “thank you” attachment, letter.)
  • User custom personalization with our subscriber upload ability or iMIS SQL view.
  • Remember: while the Transactional module is not tied to the campaign designer, you can get creative with how you bring the two together.

Act III.  Taming of the Campaign

We already know that campaign designer is one of the best ways to automate your message to your subscribers and understanding exactly how it can work for you is going to help make all’s well that ends well! One important acronym is M.O.L.E.

  • Map it out: If engagement is the treasure, don’t be afraid to draw out the treasure map before jumping into a new campaign. It can save valuable time by creating a visual representation of your goals
  • Organize: Keep your thoughts together and make sure you know exactly what role everybody is playing.
  • Label: One of the best things you can do with a new campaign is use the comment boxes to label mailings, campaign goals, and important notations. Remember, a campaign makes sense to you but does it make sense to anyone else looking at it?  It will with a comment box!
  • Engage with Content: Keep your audience coming back for more with content that is engaging and relevant. Use Informz reporting to really identify what works with your mailings and use that in your new campaigns.

Act IV.  I Love it When a Plan Comes Together

Once you create your Transactional mailing, it’s time to think about your campaign! Don’t think of them as star-crossed lovers, but rather, perfect campaigns to engage your audience! Start by creating your initial list. This group will be the start of it all. It will get the initial membership transactional email, as well as be the target group that starts the new member/upgrade campaign.  You needn’t worry that two mailings most foul will be delivered right away, in your kick off campaign, we’re going to use a wait step right at the beginning! This ensures the transactional module is sent with a set amount of time until the first mailing in the campaign goes out.

membership communications wait step

Speaking of campaigns, here are some great tips and bullet points to remember when building campaigns and how you can stack multiple campaigns.

First campaign would be some type of welcome campaign.

  • It could be highlighting member benefits, explaining membership perks, offering exclusive deals, etc.

Second campaign is dependent on the goals of the first.

  • Change in membership? Highlight those changes.
  • Nurture Campaign – drive focus to specific aspects of membership. Annual events, online communities, etc.

Last Campaign – The Renewal

  • Figure out when is the best time to have those renewal talks.
  • Campaigns can focus on benefits of renewing as well as any special value for early renewal.

Act V. Measure for Measure, a.k.a. goals!

Way back in Act 1, we talked about planning and purpose. Now we can get to the climax of the show and see if our efforts are working!

  • Robust reporting in both the transactional module and campaign designer will give you an idea of how many people are receiving your mailings and what they are doing with them!
  • Set up a goal in your campaign!
    • Create a target group that indicates renewed student. We’ll take care of the rest!

target-group-membership-communications

  • People Change. Campaigns can too!
    • Don’t be afraid to make changes to the flow if you’re seeing negative trends!
    • Also, if you notice something working extremely well, you can incorporate those successes in other parts of the campaign.

Epilogue: To Email or Not to Email!

If you feel like this is a lot to take in, and you may have to catch the next showing, that’s okay! This “play” should serve as a stepping stone for a discussion with your advisor on how to use any or all of these tips. Remember, the first step is planning, and that’s what we love to do!

*End Scene*

Need a few more tips to get you started on creating engaging membership communications? Check out our ebook, How to Create Effective Automated Campaigns.

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About the Author
Justin Bills

As an Advisor at Informz, Justin loves working closely with clients and turning them into Superfans! When he’s not at work, Justin can be found painting miniatures, playing tabletop games, or just hanging with his best dog friend, Lily.

  • Great , interesting and informative blog, thank you for sharing the blog, well done.