Friday, May 17, 2013

The Importance of Brand in your Email Marketing: 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report shows email to be a primary promotion tool to increase awareness and drive member acquisition/renewals/reinstatements. So, Above or Below the Fold? Where do you place your logo?

The 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report clearly shows the use of emails as a TOP 3 channel to promote association awareness, promote membership, fuel member engagement, and drive member renewal and reinstatement (see the data presented below).

Experience and research shows that the offer should be presented "above the fold" so it is one of, or THE FIRST, thing the recipient reads (do any of you remember "The Johnson Box" from direct mail?). However, given how small an amount of "real estate" it is, if push comes to shove, should you also place your logo or provide a brand element in the space as well?

The unwritten rule that I have always followed regarding this question is to include both branding/logo and a CTA/the offer above the fold/in the preview pane.

It is valuable real estate and you are quite limited with your space but it is important to incorporate both elements in this area.

Brand provides the reader with justification to read the email answering the simple, but very important, internal question the recipient asks themselves, "Should I really even bother with this email?"

Hopefully, your brand strategy successfully associates your association with the services and quality that the recipient wants - needs - and they say to themselves "YES, I've gotta read this now!" as the one time recipient and now engaged reader proceeds to devour the content of your email.

One of our e-Production leaders was asked recently by a colleague if emails are like mailed postal pieces – in that it is OK to create a different appearance for each campaign and allow for there to be some initial mystery as to who sent the email…that by doing this with emails could somehow increase engagement.

She indicated that in her experience, this is not the case with emails though – "recipients should be very aware of who the email sender is when the email is initially viewed. There are so many factors that contribute to an email’s success – a major factor is trust the email recipient has that the email they received is valid – from a source opted in to and recognize. The branding/logo included in this section reinforces the from line of the email and contributes to allowing for this trust."

I concur. In today's content-enriched market, individual's are looking for ways to perform "Attention Triage" so, similar to when you are first introduced to someone, you 10-seconds to prove that you are worthy of their attention and ENGAGEMENT.

If you have any questions concerning your brand or your e-marketing strategy, please feel free call me.

I look forward to your comments and observations.

                                     2013 (n=685)   2012 (n=685)
Word-of-Mouth                      58%               54%
Association Website             33%               34%
Email                                   31%               37%
METHODS FOR CREATING AND MAINTAINING ASSOC. AWARENESS                                     2013 (n=691) 2012 (n=683)

Association Website            33%               34%
Email                                  31%               37%
Word-of-Mouth                      58%               54%

*2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Potential IMO Revenue Model - Presented for your consideration

The 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report will be released in June at the Marketing and Membership Conference here in DC.

I recently used the results of the study to help a client develop a revenue model for her association. To do this I cross-tabbed two questions: Operating Budget by Revenue Streams. Here's the result:


Rev. Stream/Prod                 Under $1MM           $1MM to $4.9MM         Over $5MM

Dues                                           43%                             35%                            31%
Conf/Web (Events)                      29%                             27%                            26%
Cert/Bks/Affinity                          14%                             23%                            27%

It's interesting to see the changes in revenue impact as the Operating Budget increases, and this makes perfect sense. Every association or business must be responsive to the market and have product which is readily available to sell. Small IMOs may not have built up the inventory of products so they heavily rely on dues. As they grow, their market base increases, their revenue increases and they have more support in the development of product that can be sold through multiple channels.

While conferences seem to remain stable in their revenue contribution, what's of great interest is the increased participation of certification/books/affinity programs which is primarily driven by certification (see below).

So, if you're an association with an Operating Budget of $5MM+, and you're demanding Dues to provide over 31% of your revenue, are you properly allocating your resources to maximize your renvenue potential? Also, are you positionining yourself for future growth, OR, are you really driving your associaiton the other way?

In case you don't agree with the way I've grouped the categories, I've provided the crosstabs below so you can perform your own analysis.

I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts on this. Do you think its viable? Does it reflect your association? Let me know.

Operating Budget         Less than $1Million          $1 to $5 Million          More than $5 Million

Dues                                       51  43%                      40 35%                       35 31%

Conferences                            23  19%                      22 19%                       21 18%

Certification                               5    4%                      10   9%                       12 11%

Webinars/seminars…                12 10%                        9   8%                         9   8%

Books/products                          6   5%                      14  12%                      13  11%

Affinity programs                        7   6%                         2   2%                         6   5%

All Other…                              14 12%                        16 14%                       18 16%

                                              118 100%                    113 100%                   114 100%

* Data used for this analysis was pulled from the MGI 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Results indicate that Membership Associations Who Performed Member Research in 2012 Had Higher Acquisition and Renewal Rates.

Results from the 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report continue to get more interesting everyday!

This year we learned that 65% of membership associations that introduced member research in 2012 saw an increase in new members. 59% saw an increase in membership and 45% realized an increase in renewals.

If your leadership needs it, these results provide a strong rationale to perform member research. The trick is to design the survey in such a way as to allow interpretation that lead activities that are immediately actionable and measurable.

If you have any questions concerning this information please feel free to contact me at 703.706.0358.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Increasing Member Engagement and Acquisition remain top goals for Membership Departments according to the 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report.

Results from the soon-to-be-released 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report indicate that an equal percentage of responding associations (74%) indicate that “increasing member engagement” and
“increasing both membership acquisition and retention” are the top two membership goals.

Trade associations are significantly more likely than individual membership associations to set a goal to
increase member engagement (83% vs. 71%).  I'll be speaking at the upcoming Alexandria Brown Bag providing a "Sneak Peak" at the 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report results. I hope to see you there.