Community Brands took a closer look at member needs versus member experiences in their latest Digital Membership Study, as well as the current technologies that have the power to motivate members and association staff alike.
One of their key findings indicated the connection between technology and member loyalty — when members perceive a strong incorporation of emerging technology from their association, they subsequently feel more satisfaction and a deeper connection with the organization.
This is no surprise during a time when seamless digital interactions are not only preferred but required for a business to receive positive feedback from the public. There has never been a time when the modernization of communication can starkly advance an organization’s mission.
Associations are no different.
Enter email marketing automation
At its core, email marketing automation has the power to be the aforementioned connecting force between technology and member loyalty through modern software and technologies that automate repetitive marketing tasks on multiple channels.
Leveraging email marketing automation as a part of an association’s marketing mix is particularly beneficial to onboarding and engagement campaigns as it is part of a new marketing reality that sets organizations with a more fully developed marketing maturity apart from the rest. Not only does it make it easier to target potential members based on their own actions or current members based on their profile or behaviors, but it also enhances efficiency across your association freeing up time for other important focuses like creativity and strategy.
In streamlining your marketing processes and increasing your response rates, automation can optimize email marketing engagement based on audience behavior and helps alleviate ongoing implementation and maintenance of email marketing by staff.
Though it requires a dedicated amount of time and energy to discover the processes you need to have in place for the most effective results, the long-term benefits of marketing automation are certainly worth it. Especially when it comes to automated email campaigns.
From our experience creating optimal email automation campaigns with our clients, associations that dedicate the necessary time and resources to selecting the right platform and planning key campaigns see significant improvements in engagement and conversion.
Once you and your team have decided to direct your focus toward this endeavor, you will want to take the time to be sure campaigns target the right audiences and rely on the right triggers for enrollment. After the campaign is launched it is not, unfortunately, a “set it and forget it” scenario. Keeping a close eye on performance of the campaign will help you evaluate and make necessary adjustments during the launch to ensure all the components are working together. And you will need to remember that the eventual ongoing results will likely far exceed the initial challenges.
Properly planning your campaign will equip your team with an understanding of possible actions and target combinations. McKinley’s process includes visualizing the entire flow of the campaign, from start to finish. The graphic below might look simple but it’s an example of scenario mapping based on strategic, evidence-based decisions that helped us identify successful outcomes to meet our client’s organizational goals.
Once you examine possible scenarios and map out the greatest likelihood of success for each audience and trigger, you can begin your campaign with the collective understanding that it will take months to show real results.
Organize, reevaluate, refresh
We recommend letting your campaign run for at least six months before circling back to make any updates. When you do, look for small but key aspects that could be altered to expand your reach. Examine your subject lines and calls to action — are they are working effectively? What might garner greater results? Stay cognizant of the kind of messaging that is already resonating, what is not and what will.
Once you create a successful email automation campaign, you will see significant improvements in engagement across the board — from email open rates to click-to-open rates. Below is an example of the increased engagement a client saw in their new member onboarding campaign after we reviewed it and made small tweaks.
Exceeding marketing effectiveness
When you communicate with members strategically and effectively, you are bound to increase your marketing reach and member engagement. With recruitment, onboarding and engagement campaigns automatically triggered by a member action rather than staff manually enrolling them and sending separate messages each time, your team will have more time for bigger tasks and a greater mental space for thinking creatively.
Association staff working in membership are always looking for ways to improve efficiencies and increase communications, and email automation is one of the best remedies — especially if you want to stay on par with leading organizations and the modernization of marketing.