Our Marketing Movers and Shakers are leading the way with innovative ideas, great processes, and sharp marketing! We’re excited to recognize our six association winners in this series of blog posts. Today, let’s meet Andrea Huggins.
Andrea Huggins is Senior Marketing Manager at The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Their members are colleges, universities, and businesses worldwide who seek to advance sustainability.
Andrea’s Marketing Advice
Data is better than best practices
Marketers are often tempted to lean on “best practices” for things like the best day to send an email, best time to tweet, etc., but those best practices may not align with your association membership. When Andrea dug into the data, she realized she needed to take industry-wide statistics with a grain of salt and set her own benchmarks based on her own member activity. For instance, their membership seems to love long subject lines. They open emails later in the day. But these are two things that best practices might recommend against. Watching and acting on AASHE’s member behavior has led to more opens, more clicks, and more actions taken by recipients. Andrea’s not stopping there though, she’s always re-evaluating member behavior to make sure what they’re doing will lead to the most engagement.
A smaller but more engaged email list is always better
Have you considered letting members unsubscribe from emails or topics that don’t apply to them? Before using Higher Logic’s marketing software for associations, AASHE generally emailed most content to members. Andrea says, “It was like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks, and what stuck was a high unsubscribe rate.” So she introduced a new subscription process and ran an automated campaign to tell members about it. Members learned they could now unsubscribe from emails/topics that weren’t relevant to them. Andrea says at first, they were shocked, because their list went from 75,000 emails sent to 35,000, but now, they know that those 35,000 are segmented and of higher value to the organization because they’re engaged.
Andrea’s association followed the new subscription process with a big data cleanup. They did a automated drip campaign that went to anyone who hadn’t opened an email in a year, asking if they still wanted to hear from the association. They were able to suppress a lot of email addresses after this. Now, they know their lists are cleaner and populated with recipients most likely to act, which led to higher engagement rates and improved email deliverability. Don’t worry – they still send an annual email to the ones who are suppressed to see if they want to get emails again.
Automation makes life easier for the whole team
Automation has been a life-changing time saver. When Andrea shared these tips, she’d been on parental leave for three weeks and loves knowing that key email campaigns are still going out as scheduled. This also gives the staff flexibility so that if anything big comes up, they have time to deal with what’s at hand instead of working on emails.
As for influencers in the space Andrea follows, she suggests Gini Dietrich and her LinkedIn newsletter that seeks to push the boundaries of marketers’ thinking. She’s also a member of the Women in Marketing Facebook group, with 50,000 female marketers who exchange ideas, talk through things, and share cool marketing tips.
Want to hear more from Andrea? Check out the on-demand Marketing Movers and Shakers webinar.
Want more content? Check out our Resource Center.
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