Picture this: Last month, your marketing department sent five emails to members promoting your annual event, while your membership department called members three times about the event. On top of this, your events team sent out two reminder emails. But everyone thought everyone else was on top of reminding members about the upcoming advocacy initiative, so no one sent them anything about it.
Sound familiar? If so, interdepartmental silos might be keeping you from an effective member communications schedule.
Member communications often hover between extremes like this – too much and too little, or both. The best place to be is just right (Goldilocks’ porridge, anyone?). But too often, departmental silos and lack of communication tip the balance toward extremes.
Getting over this interdepartmental communication hurdle is key to achieving the ultimate goal for a member communications schedule: increasing engagement by personalizing content for each member, based on their needs and interests.
Align Your Staff for an Effective Member Communications Schedule
So here’s the secret. If you want to get your member engagement strategy up to snuff, begin with aligning your internal strategy. When departments are aligned, it prevents inefficiency and feeling overburdened, and, members receive organized communications, especially the important ones. Let’s get started.
- Use the same communication tools.
- Create consistent messaging.
- Pull the latest, most accurate data.
- Automate your tasks.
- Create workflows based on member segments.
1. Use the same communication tools.
Getting everyone to use the same communication tools is key to having a good membership communications schedule. If one department is using one email marketing tool, one department is using another, and the others aren’t sure what they’re doing, it’s probably time to get organized, people.
This will look different depending on what tools you’re currently using. Maybe it means adding additional tools, like marketing automation, so you can all access the data and campaigns. Or, if you already have a marketing automation tool, AMS, and an online community, your next move would be to integrate them, so the data is consistent.
2. Create consistent messaging.
Do you have anyone who’s responsible for creating your organization’s messaging? If not, either delegate someone to manage messaging or assign someone from each department to be in a messaging committee.
No matter who creates the messaging, you’ll need to have an agreed-on set of details and messaging for any communication. Make sure it aligns with your organization’s tone, voice, and brand.
Read more: Are Your Teams Cooperating or Collaborating?
3. Pull the latest, most accurate data.
This step depends on step one. If your teams are using separate communication tools, member data won’t be synced across them. The best way to ensure accurate and recent data is to integrate your software.
Your marketing automation tool, online community platform, and AMS need to be connected on the backend, so that data moves back and forth without getting lost or confused.
4. Automate your tasks.
Sending one-off emails or making individual calls about membership renewal? When you have engagement tools with automation capabilities, this task becomes so much faster and more efficient for staff.
And, when your tools are integrated with your AMS, creating email lists becomes so much faster – the platform can pull the end dates of membership from your AMS and sort them for you into the appropriate segments.
5. Create campaigns based on member segments.
Once you’ve got your teams aligned around your communication tools, create your communications campaigns with two things in mind: Your member data and your initiatives. With the behavioral data you have on members’ interests (from your online community, website, and email campaigns), you’re poised to align those interests with your communications agenda.
Your goal is to match up the content you’ve got with the members that will be most interested. Through automation, you can create email workflows that continue to send communication to engaged members and suppress messaging if they don’t engage – it’s like your schedule is building itself.
Read more: Create the 3 Most Common Automated Campaigns
Do it for Your Members… and Your Staff
Communication is one of the most important elements of growing and maintaining your organization, not to mention building strong relationships with members. The timing, coordination, and relevance of your communication is key.
But your staff will also appreciate the alignment and coordination these steps bring. They’ll have less manual work and busywork, and their time can be used for more creative and strategic initiatives to help your organization grow. The biggest payoff? Time well spent delivering relevant information to your target audience.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2016 by Carol Valora. It has since been refreshed to make sure we’re bringing you the latest and greatest.
Elizabeth Bell is a Content Specialist at Higher Logic. She’s passionate about communities, tech, and communicating about both effectively. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her cooking, reading, gardening, or playing volleyball.
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