Thursday, October 29, 2009

The "Right Mix" of Direct Mail and E-Mail and Frequency Produces Incredible Results

In the October, 2009 'Tipster," my good friend Tony Rossell, Sr VP of MGI, wrote about the incredible results we're seeing when we combine both direct mail and email together. In Tony's words, here is a quick review of the program and the results.

Working with one client organization that offers institutional membership, we put these principles to the test. We found that when we appropriately integrated these components, response rates and program economics really popped.

In the first test, we developed a split test and measured results using channel integration, connecting with prospective members through multiple media. We split our audience into two segments. One received only a direct-mail solicitation. The second received the same direct-mail package, and then a follow-up email with a link to an online microsite that provided more details about the benefits of membership. The combined mail and email group produced an 87% lift in overall response.

In a subsequent campaign, we based our control on the “winning” mail and email effort. Then, as a test, we added two additional emails to the mix with links to microsites containing exclusive and useful content.The first content microsite featured specfic answers to frequently asked questions prospective members might have on how to access funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.The second content microsite offered a webinar sharing a detailed explanation of how the Act could help prospective members.In addition to providing content, each element of the campaign focused on moving a prospect to a decision to join.The test group that included the additional online content was the decisive winner. Allowing for a statistical margin of error, the test group outperformed the control group by over 300%.

What did we learn? First, just as in an exercise program, intensity is an important component in a marketing strategy. More touches delivering valuable content over a short period of time gets prospects' attention and helps convert them to members. In addition, it is key to have all of the communications push toward a membership sale and not simply provide good information. The proper integration of frequency with content, channels, and intensity clearly produced the greatest ROI.

Please feel free to contact me if you'd like a little more detail.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Upcoming Webinar: MGI's Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey Results

The interest in MGI's Membership Marketing Benchmarking survey continues to grow.

As you may remember, the results were presented at ASAE's Annual in Toronto and were well received. I've reported on them in this blog as well.

Since the show, Tony has also presented the findings at some brown bags locally. Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to attend has been able to in person due to distances. So, given the requests, Tony will be putting on two webinars to share the findings.

The two webinars will occur:

  1. November 5th Thursday: 11-Noonish
  2. November 10th Tuesday: 2-3ish

"Seating" is limited. So if you're interested, please shoot an email ASAP to Jim Doyle at so we can reserve a spot for you, as well as send you the details. If any questions, shoot him those too.

Have a great day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Master Strategist Gives Us a Successful Strategy

John Day, the Director of Membership Development for IEEE, is most likely one of the best membership pros that I'm fortunate enough to call a friend. A real "strategist" in every sense of the word. We met a few years ago at CESSE and have exchanged ideas for a while now. Recently he related to me that he has had tremendous success this past year in growing membership. I asked "how?" The following is what he wrote back . I hope that you'll find it useful information.

"The growth came from different channels, and fortunately compensated for the decline in year-over-year recruitment in professional grade members. We instituted a massive and well-coordinated reinstatement campaign, that returned about 3,000 members more than the prior and uncoordinated year (a large proportion professional grade members).

We instituted a campaign for members who did not complete the online application, which brought in 16,000 members (a large proportion students). And, through an intricate and expansive renewal campaign, we increased professional grade retention by 1%.

Between e-mail and postal direct outreach, 3+ million contacts - furthermore, we concurrently mobilized our Volunteer ranks worldwide in ways we hadn't before. All messaging reinforced career-related benefits, job site, and reduced-dues assistance provided to unemployed members. Our thought better to keep them, albeit at a lower amount, than lose them."

John, thanks for sharing this.

I think that we can agree that this was a well coordinated, multi-channel strategy that took into consideration several different niche-markets within a pretty expansive base. What's important to look at here is that, while John does work for a power-house of an association, his strategy could be implemented by any one of us who has taken the time to understand the markets he is serving and develop the offers, tactics and channels to attract and effectively communicate with them.

If you'd like to communicate with John, I'll be happy to forward your information to him.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Job Post for AHDI MTIA

For those of you looking for a new position or know of someone looking, here is a lead. I was talking with my good friend Linda Brady of the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity and the Medical Transcription Industry Association during a conference call for the ASAE Membership Counsel, and she is looking to hire a "Member Relations Technology & Social Media Coordinator."

Here is the job description:

Position Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00AM - 5:00PM

Supervisor: Linda Brady, CAE
Director of Member Relations
Position Overview:
Provides the technical coordination and administration of Member Relations programs and services, including webinars, electronic communications, and database reporting, with the goal to enhance Member engagement and communicate the key role of the medical transcription profession and industry.

Skills Required:
Ÿ Experience working in a fast paced environment
Ÿ Strong attention to detail, including organizing a multitude of activities and ensuring complete follow-through.
Ÿ Professional oral and written communication skills.
Ÿ Expertise in MS Office Suite, Crystal Reports, HTML, database management software use. Experience using Personify is preferred but not required.
Ÿ Total comfort in the online world and a high degree of familiarity with social networking tools and protocol.
Ÿ Creativity and innovative ideas and concepts
Ÿ Association experience preferred but not required

Here is Linda's contact information if you are interested or know of anyone who is interested:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Are Your Member Communications Relevant?

In discussions centered around the Membership Lifecycle, a key ingredient from the perspective of the member is 'relevance.' I know that this is a "blinding flash of the obvious" as an old friend from my Tyson Foods days would say, but I'm always astounded by how quickly marketers forget about it in their promotions.

If we follow the Membership Lifecycle, starting at "Awareness," the only reason we become aware or acknowledge an association or a product is that, at that point in time, it became relevant to us - in either a good OR bad way. We continue to grow that awareness by continually proving the relevance of the membership or product to the individual.

At some point, we "ask for the sale" but not until we usually demonstrate one final point of relevance to the now member/customer. They "Join."

We then ask them to "Engage" with the association by filling out surveys, buying more product, attending conferences or participating in delivery of some value that the association provides to its membership (committees, articles, etc.). Again, relevancy is key to continued engagement. If the Annual Softball outing is not relevant to me, why would I participate?

At "Renewal," we ask the member/customer to continue our relationship. But, if we're not relevant to the member, why would he/she? Therefore, many of the most successful renewal programs continually remind the member of why they are relevant to them.

Now to my point...

If we agree on the importance of relevancy in our on-going, ever increasing, communications with our members/customers, why do we continue to offer up one-size-fits-all tactics? While many don't have the technology necessary to subset their data based upon buying behavior, age, sex, length of membership...or the like...that doesn't mean that they can't do some level of personalization using simple overlays (that don't cost an arm-and-a-leg), or by source, or other ways. It simply takes a little imagination and some time.

If doing this will increase your renewal rate a few points, isn't that 'relevant' to you?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Be Prepared: Your Domain Names May Increase Next Year!

September, 1969, (40 years ago), a group of American teachers sent the first message over the ARPANET, the precursor of today's Internet. Since then America has exercised control over the Internet - primarily in the area of addresses. But this is about to change.

As reported in the 26, September issue of The Economist, a substantial portion of America's influence over ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) will be transferred to oversight committees that "include representatives of foreign governments to conduct regular reviews of ICANN's work in four areas: competition among gereric domains (such as .com and .net), the handling of data on registrants, the security of network and transparency, accountability and the public interest..."

This could mean trouble for many associations: the money spent to establish an online brand could be 'lost;' more addresses means more to keep up with which means spending more time to plan, implement and maintain your on-line marketing and membership campaigns; additional political barriers that must be overcome by associations you want to expand their reach into other countries; new system protocals and equipment to maintain your e-business strategies; and much more.

The saving grace here is that more addresses may also equate to greater revenue opportunities. I could envision new addresses that help us better target potential members and customer. Whatever happens, forewarned is forearmed. Consider this a wake-up call as we go about our 2010+ planning.