Associations are increasingly expected to deliver the personalized experience that members (especially younger generations) are used to.
They can no longer rely on sending batch-and-blast, one-off emails to their whole member base as an effective membership recruitment and retention strategy.
Does this sound familiar? If it does, you’re not alone.
With over 40 diverse member segments, Professionals Australia found it impossible to recruit, onboard, and engage with each segment in a personalized way. They sent one-off emails where needed and the same content to everyone due to technology and staff limitations.
To be effective today, the association knew they needed a member communication strategy that delivered a personal and valuable experience to members.
Professionals Australia used Communications, a sophisticated email marketing automation solution, to look comprehensively at their audience’s behavior and set up automated, responsive email workflows based on that data.
Now, Professionals Australia can use a modern, digital approach to send personalized messages to each member segment, reaching them with the right message at the right time to drive more measurable action.
The association can see what works and what doesn’t and modify for better results. They’ve set up automated campaigns for onboarding and engagement member journeys, enabling them to acquire more members, increase renewals, and reduce member resignations.
This targeted, personalized approach has been especially successful at engaging and recruiting more members under age 35.
Check out three examples of automated email campaigns that Professional Australia has used to grow their association and deliver a better member experience. They’ve used targeted email drip campaigns for member onboarding, engagement, and recruitment – with great success.
Campaign #1: Onboarding New Association Members
A great onboarding process for a new member is one of the best opportunities to get them engaged early and retain them for the long run.
Professionals Association is maximizing this chance to prove their value by automating the onboarding process. New members receive a series of emails from them over their first six months of membership.
Stephen Gargano, Director of Member Engagement at Professionals Australia, said:
“Once a member joins, we need them to be familiar with all the value they can get out of their membership. They may have joined for one thing, but if they find out they can get professional development or courses or discounts throughout their onboarding process, they’ve now got a whole bunch of compelling reasons to remain a member. We use automated campaigns to do this, helping us enhance the value of their membership.”
Not only does this save time for staff, but it gives members a tailored member experience from Day One.
Professionals Australia integrated the Communications solution with their Association Management Software, iMIS, which enables them to send specific messages to members based on their data.
The association can send members exactly the right messaging at exactly the time they want members to receive it, which ultimately means they can tailor their membership experience in a way they could never do when they were sending one-off or batch and blast bulk emails.
Campaign #2: Engaging Current Members
Member engagement is key to retention and non-dues revenue growth. But how to do it successfully? Personalized member communication. With smart, automated email campaigns, you can set pathways to turn a semi-engaged member into a very engaged member.
Stephen, the association’s Director of Member Engagement, emphasized that the important thing is personalization. For example, the service you provide for every member could be identical, but the way you communicate it makes a difference.
If you can create tailored messages based on data you’ve collected about members, you’ll see more engagement and success.
Although it sounds like a time-consuming process, it’s not, thanks to integrations and data.
Through the Higher Logic Communications-iMIS integration, Professionals Australia collects information about their members. This process helps them then build automated email journeys based on who they are and what interests they have. Even better, this process can just keep on growing as you gather more data from their clicks and opens and community participation, making your communications more and more tailored.
For example, if one of Professionals Australia’s members uses one of their professional development courses, they can use their database and automatic marketing to recommend the next best action as a member, and set it to happen automatically instead of having to think about it the next time.
As a result of their improved, automated member onboarding and engagement journeys, Professionals Australia recorded the lowest number of member resignations for 5 years, seeing a 12.5% decline in resignations over the past year alone.
Campaign #3: Recruiting New Members
Member acquisition isn’t easy. It’s difficult to just go out and find a new member. But once you can get their email address through a form submission or community login, it becomes much easier to recruit them. How?
You can use automated email drip campaigns to send a series of emails communicating the many benefits of your association, all staggered over a period of time.
Professionals Australia has done this very successfully. For example, one of their services they wanted to advertise was bargaining and negotiation.
Before, staff and representatives would walk around an office and try to talk to employees there. Now, the association collects the email addresses of people from that company and adds them to an automated email marketing campaign.
The campaign explains why negotiations are important, how the audience might be affected, and why being together is stronger than being separate. From this single campaign, the association increased membership in that one office by about 30% in one month.
Here are a couple other examples of how the association has used automated email communications for successful member recruitment:
- Holiday Marketing: Like many associations, December usually is a quiet time for new member acquisition. But Professionals Australia ran a special campaign offering a holiday rate – taking December from one of their quietest months to the highest month of recruitment in their history.
- COVID-19: Professionals Australia has used Higher Logic Communications to test which messages resonated with potential members during the pandemic. They sent a variety of messages to potential members describing the different services they can provide. With the metrics available, they’ve been able to track which messages resonate based on opens and clicks.
Professionals Australia recorded the strongest single year of recruitment in their organization’s history –increasing recruitment by 21% – almost entirely due to the expansion of their automated marketing program. The key benefits have been to consistently get their message out to a wider audience, tailoring messages to the intended audience.
Among their younger members (under 35), they’ve seen an even greater improvement in both retention and recruitment, with losses declining by almost 16%, and recruitment rising by 25%.
Ultimately, Professionals Australia has used Higher Logic’s Communications platform to create a stronger and more valuable member experience for everyone, regardless of their interests, making the entire organization indispensable to their members, both now and for the future.
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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