The daily distractions of modern life represent the main competition for non-profit associations trying to reach and engage members. Cutting through these distractions and effectively engaging members requires associations to formulate viable strategies using new and traditional methods of engagement. In an effort to help, let’s examine 5 underutilized digital tactics to improve member engagement for associations.
1. Send More Emails to Members:
An article on Capterra called: “How Associations Use Technology: 10 Surprising Statistics”, shares these interesting stats:
“…74% of associations send one to five emails to a member per month. But organizations that sent six to ten emails to a member per month had the highest open and click rates.”
These stats show how most associations are underutilizing email marketing to members. By simply sending more emails to members, associations can increase their open and click rates. This contradicts the erroneous thinking that sending more emails will only annoy members.
With modern CRM solutions, associations can use automation technology to create and deploy blast and drip email campaigns throughout the month. These campaigns can include various topics such as:
- event/conference information
- insights from blogs, videos, white-papers, eBooks, etc.
- related legislative and advocacy information
- information about training, certification, classes, courses
- association updates and news
- special offers, discounts, and other membership benefits
While using email to engage members isn’t a new strategy or tactic, sending nearly twice as many emails to each member every month is a new tactic for most associations. By simply expanding the volume of emails sent to members each month, associations will see higher open and click rates while improving member engagement with valuable information.
This is a powerful tactic, as a second Capterra article explains:
“…Nonprofit organizations have a 34% open rate for emails, putting them at number five among the 18 industry types studied.”
2. Develop a Social Media Strategy:
The first Capterra article mentioned explains:
“…71% of foundations who are using social media have not developed a formal social media strategy.”
Utilizing social media is important for non-profit associations; developing a formal social media strategy is how to optimize this utilization.
An article found on Associations Now called: “Adopt Social Media ‘Next Practices,’ Not Just Best Practices”, written on May 2nd, 2017 by Emily Bratcher, explains:
“And one of the most powerful marketing tools associations have in fighting for the future is social media…But it’s not enough to just…be on social media; in order to drive success, you have to leverage it to its fullest extent, within the context of your own specific organization.”
By developing a formal social media strategy, associations can leverage this important marketing channel and improve member engagement. Association management software can help marketers formulate and deploy this strategy with social media management tools, including automation.
3. Paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM):
The first Capterra article mentioned explains another underutilized tactic:
“…Only 24% of associations say they use paid search engine marketing to drive traffic to their website.”
Pay-per-click (PPC), paid search, and display and remarketing ads, are all SEM methods associations can utilize to gain visibility, website traffic, and conversions. SEM can be used to both attract new members and engage with existing members by using creative ad campaigns (upcoming events, free resources, etc.).
An article on Forbes explains the benefits of SEM:
“Investing in paid advertisements will guarantee that your small business information will appear at the right time in the right place. SEM produces fast results by targeting an audience that is already interested in the product, information or service your business has to offer.”
4. Text Messaging:
Another underutilized tactic to improve member engagement is communicating with members through text messaging (SMS). The first Capterra article mentioned explains:
“…56% of organizations do not communicate with their members via text or plan to.”
Text messaging can be used for different communication reasons, such as:
- updates with legislative activities
- to send a link for mobile app download
- feedback polls
- membership help services
- reminders of upcoming events, classes, courses, conferences, etc.
Used in addition to a custom mobile app, SMS gives associations another effective mobile method to engage with members. It’s especially effective in getting members to download mobile apps; an article on Target Marketing explains:
“…the text-the-app-link messages to customers results in a 42 percent download rate.”
Using this underutilized tactic will give associations an advantage, especially considering over half of associations aren’t using SMS. Also, considering 95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind and 77% own a smartphone, SMS can be a way to reach members without the ability to download a mobile app.
5. Using Comprehensive Association Management Software:
While all associations with an online presence use some form of management software, many haven’t yet adopted a comprehensive association management software solution. This broad underutilized tactic will support all other tactics and efforts used to improve member engagement.
The comprehensive aspect of this tactic includes tools such as:
- custom mobile app
- built-in CRM
- legislative tracking system (bill tracking, collaborate on legislation, etc.)
- advocacy management system (connect with legislators, action alerts, etc.)
- optimized, integrated, and branded website (turn-key management)
- training and certification system (online registration, credit tracking)
- custom email domain and dedicated IP address
- events and conference management (interactive maps, online payment integration, online registration for events)
- member communication tools (surveys, push notifications, targeted email campaigns, etc.)
This type of comprehensive solution gives associations the tools needed to optimally manage every aspect of membership engagement. By using the most innovative tools available, associations can improve member engagement while saving money and time.
Basically, associations can meet and exceed their members’ rising technological expectations when they have an optimized website, a custom mobile app, and the expanded tools offered with a comprehensive association membership software solution.
Gaining a competitive advantage over the myriad of distractions in daily life will help associations reach and engage their members more effectively. Using these 5 underutilized digital tactics will go a long way in helping associations achieve this competitive advantage. If interested in learning more please contact Engagifii today.