Your member database is a treasure trove of valuable data for email personalization.
But with an endless amount of information right at your fingertips, it can be tough to decide how best to segment and where to focus. How do you know which data points will power the most successful marketing campaigns?
A recent Formation.ai report found that hyper-individualization – not just personalization – is extremely important to today’s audience. In particular:
- 75% of consumers said the marketing emails they open frequently contain macrosegmentation and/or microsegmentation tactics, indicating these are now table stakes.
- 73% said the brands they engage with the most recognize them on a 1:1 level.
- 73% said they feel 1:1 recognition to a moderate or significant extent from their most-loved brand.
But to provide an experience like this, you need to collect the data. But what data do you really need? It’s important to focus your data requests so that you’re able to personalize, tailor, and target your communications.
We recently had a conversation all about getting personal on the Higher Logic podcast, The Member Engagement Show, so if you want more insight, here’s that episode. In the meantime, use these ideas to get you started.
1. FIRST NAME
Using a subscriber’s name in a campaign is basic, but effective. Go beyond using first name in the initial greeting of your email, and try incorporating it into the body content, preheader, or subject line.
For example, let’s compare an email I get with the subject line, “Beth, the call for proposals is now open!” to an email that reads “We’re accepting proposals for our conference.” Which one is more compelling to the reader? The one that uses my name, or the other?
But don’t forget – being personal goes way beyond just using a first name. You need a strategy that ensures you’re sending relevant content to your prospective and current members. Let’s say the sender knew I had submitted a proposal in the past. They took note of that and used that data to send me an email inviting me to submit a proposal again this year. That’s successful personalization that will get results.
2. MEMBERSHIP ACTIVITY
Your member database is your go-to resource for digging into a member’s relationship with your association. When did they join? Have they ever lapsed? Have they volunteered, donated, or sat on a board or committee?
The answers to these questions will help you further nurture relationships and engage members, whether they’re brand new to the organization or lifelong supporters. You can start with the data you collect in your member welcome and renewal and event campaigns.
Member onboarding campaigns are popular for good reason – they set expectations for members, create a warm and fuzzy feeling, and pave the way for a great member experience.
When members join, you’re probably already sending some type of transactional messaging that confirms membership details, shares login details, and reiterates benefits. Why not try using that action that occurs in the database – a new membership – to add members to a workflow that nurtures them over time?
One Higher Logic customer did this and saw a 201% increase in email engagement. Before automation, the association sent one email with a lot of content. By staggering the content, staff saw more engagement and higher open and click rates.
Replicate this with long-term members, too. Trigger renewal campaigns based on membership anniversaries, add members to automated drip campaigns when they’ve renewed at higher membership levels, or simply enroll members in a “welcome back” campaign after renewing a lapsed membership. Leverage membership history to nurture all members, not just new ones.
Want to learn more? Check out our Renewal Campaign Cheatsheet.
You can also use your members’ demographic data to fine-tune event messaging and craft a powerful call to action in your event campaign.
One of Higher Logic’s customers used this tactic to speak to different segments of their audience based on membership type, such as vendors, administrators, or facility groups, with impressive results. Since each type of member gets something different out of attending the event, the registration ask should sound different, too. They pulled the data from their AMS to customize the message and saw a 45% increase in event attendance (that’s $20,000 more than previous years).
When trying to decide who to invite to future events, look for similar or related events you’ve hosted in the past. Or look for members with similar titles or interests as those who have registered.
3. PAST TRANSACTIONS
A member’s past activities are helpful in improving future outreach to them.
For example, you could borrow from Amazon’s playbook and make recommendations for future purchases based on a member’s past behavior. Just like we can look at previous event interest to identify a target group of members to invite, we can reference past buying behavior to promote new sales.
- Releasing a new book? Identify members who have bought courses, attended events, or visited pages on your websites related to the content.
- Looking for mentors? Consult your member database for experienced professionals who have participated in events or other programs that show they’re willing to invest time to help others.
- Doing a webinar? Check out members who have downloaded content on the webinar topic from your website, or engaged in your community around this topic, and promote the webinar to them.
KEEP IT SIMPLE WITH STRATEGY
Overall, the more you can create a rich, full profile of your members through database information, the better. When you do ask for data from the members, make sure it has a purpose. Taking the time to analyze what data you want and why you want it can help keep your strategy simple and straightforward.
You can always ask for additional data through email, landing pages for content, preference updates, etc. But if the person won’t fill out the form in the first place because you ask too much, it will be harder to ask them in the future.
Beth Arritt is the Association Strategist at Higher Logic. Beth’s marketing experience encompasses more than twenty-five years of marketing strategy and member/customer engagement in various industries, including puzzles and games, training, education, and aviation. In addition to marketing, Beth has worked in event management and web development, wearing a variety of hats in different positions.