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Association Email Marketing: Millennials And Member Engagement

In the world of online marketing, two statistics tell you a lot about the effectiveness of an email: the percentage of recipients who open it, and the percentage of those who click through to explore at least one of the links.

In the world of online marketing, two statistics tell you a lot about the effectiveness of an email: the percentage of recipients who open it, and the percentage of those who click through to explore at least one of the links.

Last year, I got a great response for a blog post on the types of emails associations send and the average number of members who open them. So when Informz published its 2012 Benchmarking Report on Association Email Marketing, I eagerly downloaded the update. The year-over-year comparison tells an interesting story:

The differences are relatively small, and it would take a third year of data to point to a lasting trend. But these metrics show important differences in the way members and stakeholders are reacting to your association’s messages.

  • In both 2011 and 2012, the research showed more members opening survey emails, but fewer of them actually completing the surveys.
  • The statistics for event and delegate attendance showed fewer members opening them.  There is a significant increase in those who are clicking-through on links however.  For both years, the percentages demonstrate the need to reach out widely and often.
  • With email appeals, 2012 saw 5% more members opening their mail, but a decline in click-through rates offset most of the increase in active readers. These results underscore the need to cleanse your data and segment your email lists, to make sure your message goes to the right people, and to help members understand how they benefit from responding to an appeal and helping to build their community.
  • Small declines in both the open and click-through rates for e-newsletters reinforce the idea that short, snappy content is becoming more popular with members with too much to read and too little time.

The above information is all well and good (and helpful, especially if you have an older membership base). However, what is not indicated in the above information and stats are the age ranges and difference in generations when it come to email marketing. This is just as important when it comes to marketing strategy and sustaining your association’s growth.

Email may or may not be the best way to communicate with your younger members. This is up to you to dig into further and find out before sending out your next mass-email campaign.

IS EMAIL DEAD TO MILLENNIALS?

Forty-one percent of teens and college students AWeber Email Marketing Scholarship stated agreed that “email, like many forms of communication, is dying out.” Why is this important to you? Because if your association relies solely on email marketing (or print communication) you will sadly be missing all of the younger generation that you’ll very soon be dependent on to sustain and grow your organization.

Find out how your younger members prefer to be communicated with. It’s not about “marketing” with this generation; understand their wants and needs and how they prefer to receive your message.

MIX IT UP

You may not have an overwhelming amount of Millennials joining your association (and if not, that’s another topic for consideration). But, you must prepare for your association’s future and that means putting practices in place to foster great communication and engagement wherever, whenever your members need.

Whatever mix of communication formats you choose, the big-picture strategy is the same: with so much competing content, you have to make every message count by understanding what your members want you to send them, how they want to receive it, and what every part of your campaign will do to increase member engagement. This includes mixing up the channels and broadening your messages across multiple platforms.

Take the first step towards your future.

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