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Keeping Non-Members Engaged, Email-Style

How many readers of this blog get emails from various organizations inviting you to an upcoming conference or event? Or, as an association executive, how many times have you used your non-member list to promote attendance registration for one of your educational opportunities? When was the last time your list was tidied up?

How many readers of this blog get emails from various organizations inviting you to an upcoming conference or event? Or, as an association executive, how many times have you used your non-member list to promote attendance registration for one of your educational opportunities? When was the last time your list was tidied up?

I get emails all the time inviting me to one event or another. Many of these emails (no, they are not spam) I have signed up for ages ago, when I was looking into professional associations to obtain a designation, to increase my knowledge and expertise base in project management.

HOWEVER, HERE ARE WHY THESE ASSOCIATION EMAILS ARE NOT BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY:

First, when I contacted these organizations 2-3 years ago, I got a very abrupt response regarding my membership inquiry (something along the lines of “all of the information you need is on our website”…). As a result of their lack of interest in speaking with me, I never joined.

Second, it has been a few years, and while they are still trying to communicate with me, they have not bothered to call to find out if:

  • I am still with the company
  • I am still interested in their organization
  • I am still in the role/job function I was in all those years ago

And yet, I am still being asked to spend my money by attending their conference.

Before I move forward – YES, at least they are reaching out now – but it is clear that these organizations have not done their research in quite a while to determine who (if anyone) on their non-member list is still worth marketing to.

While it is relatively inexpensive to send a text-only email out to a list of contacts, what is the cost to the associations’ image and reputation?  It is the same feeling I get when I receive course catalogs offering me courses in Project Management, Employee Engagement, and other Operations functions.  Since these topics applied to my former role, the company sending these to me is wasting a lot of money!   I do not even take them out of the plastic packaging anymore; I just toss them in the recycling bin.

BEST PRACTICES TO KEEPING YOUR NON-MEMBERS ENGAGED (AND YOUR EMAIL LISTS CLEAN):

  1. Know the Statistics: An estimated 30% of your data becomes obsolete each year (or more in some cases). While this ratio is very dependent to industry, etc. it is important to understand that your profession has turnover – and just how much is important to know in order to ensure that your data is kept clean.
  2. Do your research: Whether it is Web research to find if the person is still at the company, or if it is a call that needs to take place to update information, it needs to be done. No matter what amount of money you are spending on marketing to your non-members, a lot of what is being allocated is being wasted if you cannot keep your list up to date. At Greenfield, we recommend that this is done annually, and that consistent budgets are planned each year to account for it.
  3. Take the Leap: People are more willing to provide you with what you need if you offer them something in return. For example, if the association I referenced above had offered the feedback and information I was looking for in the first place, or if after they had put me on their non-member communication list, tried to connect with me every so often to ensure that I still belong on that list, I would be more likely to have told them by now that I have completely changed roles and as a result am no longer interested. I may have even given them the name of my replacement.

If you are looking to improve your numbers – whether it is for courses, conferences or membership – you need to know who you are marketing to – and that starts with a clean list.  From there, you can assess the real costs of creating a strategic marketing plan.

What have been your experiences with your non-member list?

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