Membership Communications: Breaking Through More Clutter

Membership Communications: Breaking Through More Clutter

Written by Tania Galarza, former Managing Consultant

Research on email marketing trends note that more than half of an individual’s Inbox is comprised of alerts and notifications. What does this mean for associations? This is a reminder that we are competing with a variety of sources vying for our members’ attention. It also means that associations are challenged to make their communications stand out.

McKinley recently hosted a discussion with a small group of our clients to tackle the question, “How do you break through the growing communications clutter?” Of most concern to association execs is being top of mind for members when they are in need of a benefit, product or service that the association can deliver. Our discussion focused on the following obstacles that may prevent your communications from receiving members’ full attention:

  • Competing priorities in the association – Demand from departments and volunteer leaders to promote their programs, services or initiatives through unique communications results in an internal competition for members’ attention. So many communications are being pushed out that there is a lack of understanding of the overall volume being sent to members by the association. As volume increases, communications are more likely to be ignored by recipients.
  • Lack of a strategy –Without a strategy in place and an understanding of how audiences use social media channels, posts made to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn tend to have a marketing feel and be more of a “push” of information that doesn’t invite participation. This can turn off followers.
  • Lack of goals and measurements – What does success look like? If communications goals and objectives are not clearly defined, it becomes difficult to adjust if efforts are not translating into results, such as member participation. We keep doing the same thing, but expecting a different outcome.
  • Technology constraints – Without the right technology in place to support an effective member database, it is difficult to apply a strategic approach to targeted communications. The inability to capture and track profile and behavioral information specific to a member or prospect leaves you with “one-size-fits-all” communications.

Understanding and addressing the obstacles in the way of producing effective communications is a great first step to getting you closer to your members anticipating rather than disregarding your emails and posts. Stay tuned for a future post outlining a disciplined methodology for increasing communications effectiveness.