When asked why members don’t renew, 43% of associations say the top reason is a lack of engagement with the organization, according to the 2020 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report. This represents an increasing concern for associations since that figure was 41% in the previous year’s report.
What’s more, lack of member engagement poses a bigger risk right now, compared to recent years. That’s because the current economic crisis has created additional stress and distraction for members, making it more likely for them to feel disconnected from your organization.
It’s true that some members are self-sufficient when it comes to engagement. They’ll find plenty of value in your association, without any extra encouragement. But what about those members that start slowly drifting away: the unengaged members?
You’ve put effort into attracting and onboarding new members — but when they lose interest, do you have an effective method to reignite those members’ enthusiasm? To engage at-risk members, you need a targeted communication approach. But that might not be possible with your current technology, because it would require an unreasonable time commitment from your staff.
Fortunately, there’s a better way — one that associations are already using to improve their member engagement. With automated email campaigns, associations are experiencing double-digit increases in engagement and retention and avoiding the burden of time-wasting, inefficient processes.
Check out our full guide to re-engaging members, where you’ll learn how to build a re-engagement campaign and send more effective emails.
Let’s discover how that works, and why replacing old school generic interactions with a targeted member engagement strategy can help your association keep members active and connected — and protect membership dues. You don’t want to wait until renewal time to remind unengaged members why your association is so valuable — if you make that mistake, you’ll have a much smaller chance of convincing them to stay. A great membership renewal letter alone won’t save the relationship.
How to Build an Automated Re-Engagement Email Campaign
Unfortunately, most members aren’t going to raise their hand and say, “Hey, just thought you’d like to know I’m feeling unengaged and uncertain about my membership renewal.”
That’s where automated email campaign software can help. It provides your association with a way to first, identify disinterested members throughout the year, and second, communicate with them in a focused, strategic way that continually conveys your association’s value.
With automated campaigns, you can plan in advance to control which members receive emails, and when that happens. Choose the re-engagement threshold that fits your association best, and that will trigger campaign emails. For example, your threshold could be that an unengaged member equals an email open rate below 5% for the past 30 days, 45 days, or 60 days.
Although plenty of associations run these campaigns at 60 days, it’s much better to create an earlier threshold at the 30- or 45- day stage. This allows you to influence member behavior and encourage involvement before disengagement becomes a deeply ingrained habit.
Visit this resource to see a sample automated campaign structure.
5 Tips for Writing a Great Re-Engagement Email
When member engagement drops, generic messages won’t solve the problem. To convince members they should interact with your association, emails need to feel personal and highly relevant. With that in mind, here are five email copywriting suggestions to help create compelling content for your re-engagement email campaign.
- Show your concern. The emails should mention you’ve noticed the member isn’t engaged — but don’t leave it there. Emphasize your genuine interest in why that member hasn’t interacted much lately. Make it clear that your association values their feedback to help make improvements.
- Include quick links to resources. Don’t tell the member, “We have some cool stuff that you should check out sometime.” Instead, provide a clear call to action, like a brief blog post for them to read, or a lively discussion thread in your online community. By taking a few baby steps, they’ll make great strides towards more engaged habits.
- Keep it short. This type of campaign usually has no more than two messages. The idea here is to help shift behavior with a quick check-in — so be brief. Big blocks of text will make eyes glaze over. Show that you respect your audience’s time, by making each message relevant and concise.
- Focus on what’s meaningful for members. This is the time to highlight your association’s value proposition. What are the top reasons people join in the first place? Emphasize what matters, whether that’s opportunities for networking, advocacy, or education. Show members you understand their most pressing issues — and let them know how your offerings can address their priorities.
- Use social proof. Showcase testimonials from your most enthusiastic members, and have them mention specific ways they’ve benefited from being highly engaged with your association. This kind of social proof is a powerful marketing tool. When these passionate advocates share their stories about association involvement, it’s a persuasive message that members can’t ignore.
And Don’t Forget the Subject: Tips for Writing the Best Re-Engagement Email Subject Lines
When it comes to subject lines, avoid generic! At least one-third of email recipients decide to open messages based solely on subject lines, according to some studies. Don’t let dull subject lines hurt your open rates. The best re-engagement subject lines will use words that tap into emotions or appeal to your audience’s sense of curiosity.
This could be as simple as the member’s name, with a question mark: “Ryan?” Or it could be a question that’s hard to ignore, like: “Was it something we said?”
Plenty of organizations use the subject line, “We Miss You.” Here’s why that’s a mistake you should avoid: It’s written from the association’s perspective. The email should focus entirely on your audience, not you. Whatever subject line you choose, make it member-centric.
Identify and Reconnect with Unengaged Members to Strengthen Retention
By tracking engagement on a deeper, more detailed level, your association can set highly targeted goals for retention. Automated email campaigns can help refine your communication strategy by showcasing your value. It’s a powerful way to ensure long-term member engagement and higher renewal rates — and minimize the time you spend managing the process.
That’s what associations like Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) have discovered. After switching from outdated email marketing strategies to automated email campaigns, FAIA saw a 201% increase in email engagement and a 40% online renewal conversion rate.
By highlighting your association’s knowledge, training and community through personalized emails, an automated campaign can help forge lasting relationships with your audience, and persuade members that your association will remain an essential investment for years to come.
Looking for more? Download our full guide to member re-engagement.
Senior Implementation Project Manager
Greg Khaikin is a Senior Implementation Project Manager with more than 15 years of experience in B2B email communication and marketing. As a member of the Implementation team, Greg supports new users as they set up and launch their Communications Professional accounts, with an emphasis on email deliverability, design best practices, and automation. When not at work, Greg loves dogs, movies, and roasting coffee beans.
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