There is no doubt that a multi-media approach to membership acquisition is the preferred methodolgy. Here at MGI we've found that the use of e-mail in conjunction with direct mail, increases overall response rate by as much as 50%.
That's why its interesting to note a recent post by Don Dea, Co-Founder of Fusion Productions and the Chairperson for the ASAE Membership Section, on DigitalNow Community.
In short, he cites a recent study by MailChimp (aren't these names great?!) that points out that the users of specific email services have greater open and click-thru rates than teh users of other email services. He writes that..."A study of success metrics for marketing e-mails sent throughMailChimp’s distribution service showed that Gmail users were most likely to open and click on e-mails."
He continues "Open rates varied from a low of just over 20% for e-mail sent to AOL users to a high over nearly 31% among Gmail users. The click rate on e-mails sent to Gmail accounts was more than 7.4%, compared with rates between 4% and 5% for Yahoo!, AOL and Hotmail users. "
The implication is obvious...all email addresses are not the same! While some of you may be saying that this is nothing more than a "blinding flash of the obvious," have any of us actually started looking for different response metrics by email account in our email campaigns or are using different response metrics by email account in your forecasts? And, if we are using email in conjunction with direct mail, are we selecting lists by this new variable? I believe the answer is obvious as well...most likely not.
While this is simply one more thing on our plate, I believe that it will turn out to be somewhat important. Not so much as the actual number of members generated, but in helping us to better understand our markets and refine our overall on-line tactics to maximize awareness and support our association's membership acquisition and marketing strategy and ultimately its mission.