Here are some of key findings, in an infographic designed by Ocean Design:
So, what should membership organisations and associations take from the findings?
I think there are three key issues that membership bodies should consider:
1) Organisations are increasingly using automated emails. Automation should be a low cost (once the systems are set up) way of delivering good customer service to members. By triggering emails based on members’ actions or a time period, e.g. two months before renewal, you can deliver what feels like a personal service using your email/CRM software.
The emails can also be customised, so should feel quite personal to members. In theory there should also be time savings internally by automating messages. However, it is really important that you regularly review the content of these emails; messages can date quickly. I always suggest that the membership team is signed up to all emails to monitor the content.
2) It was heartening to note that 61% of organisations send tailored information via email. But if this is ‘just’ invites to special interest groups or regional events, I think that membership bodies could be doing more to provide a personalised feel to their email communications. If you are using your CRM system to collect data, how can it be used to reflect your members’ interests?
Members’ expectations have been greatly raised by the sophisticated personalised email marketing that retail giants like Amazon are able to use – it is likely that they are expecting their membership organisation to offer something similar.
3) You shouldn’t just be concerned with open rates analytics. It was good to see that 27% of organisations are looking at conversations as well as open and click-through rates. The fact that members are reading your email and content is great, but often you are looking for your audience to do something next – what is the call to action? Your email marketing should feed into a wider analytics report, which brings together all your channels to show what activities are generating the actions you want – e.g. renewal of membership, purchasing publications or encouraging members to volunteer.
What do you think? How does your email marketing compare? You can download the full Harnessing the Web 2016 survey summary report here…
This guest blog was written by Abby Wright-Parkes, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health.