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Email Marketing and Making a Good First Impression

Subject lines are key in email marketing.  They determine whether a contact reads your message or not.

In October 2011, I posted a blog about understanding Email Marketing & Designing the Right Message for your Members.  This blog post focused on understanding which browser or device (desktop computer, tablet, smart phone, etc.) the recipient uses to view your message.

Along the same lines, your subject title deserves planning.  Consider the following:

LENGTH: Some research suggests keeping subject line to no more than 50 characters for desktop users, and less than 30 characters for people using mobile devices.

Because it can be difficult to determine how your messages are read (unless you survey those receiving your content), we would recommend aiming for the middle (between 35-45 characters maximum).  Within that short space, you need to deliver a subject line with impact, so that people see potential value in the content and want to open your email to view the rest of the information/offer.

PROMINENCE:  Because your subject line could get cut off, put your most important information first.  Instead of “XYZ Association’s National Conference Registration Now Open” try “Register Now - XYZ Association National Conference”.         

PRECISION:  Vague messages are less likely to be opened than those with a specific topic (e.g. Your Information Request).   Be careful about static email subject lines, as they may get overlooked over time.  For instance, our newsletter is titled “Greenfield Insights”, and it appears on our website as such, however when sending it out via email our subject line focuses on the topic of the email first. Examples are:
BUILD TRUST: Maintaining trust with your members/subscribers will ensure that they continue to be engaged with your messages, and act on what you have to say.  One way to ensure that you build and maintain trust is to ensure that your subject line coincides with the message your email contains.

TEST-TEST-TEST:  Test your message with different subject lines to see which subject line is more effective.  Always test at least two different approaches.
  • Example 1:  Subject Line A:  XYZ Tradeshow – Registration Now Open
  • Example 2:  Subject Line B:  Five Reasons to Attend XYZ Tradeshow
 If you can, deploy the test first, and then use the most popular subject to deploy the rest of your messages.
Give it a try, your audience may surprise you with more engaged activity!

Event Promotion and Twitter

Twitter is rapidly growing in popularity to engage your potential delegates for your upcoming event. When it comes to event promotion, it’s a great place to:
  • Connect with other marketers and influencers
  • Generate general buzz about your event
  • Create conversations which in turn generate interest in attending your event
Here’s how it works (and some tips to help you along the way):

Create a Twitter Account
Create one for either your organization as a whole, or specific to your event (i.e. you can have a twitter account specifically for your National Conference & Tradeshow).  Do your best to stay away from using your own personal twitter account for this purpose, as those following you on a personal level may be confused about your event posts.

Creating your Twitter account, by including design elements your target market will recognize or will easily relate to.

Create brand recognition by using your organization’s logo, the logo of the event, etc.  You have the ability to customize your background as well – try to keep it consistent with your other branding material, visually appealing but not “cluttered”.  Ensure that when it is found, followers recognize it for what it is.

Create a Hashtag for your event (#eventname)
What is a Hashtag and how do you create one?  Its simple.  It’s a keyword or acronym with a pound sign in front of it.  Anyone can include it in their tweets.  Twitter users can search hashtags and save their search to follow conversations and updates about the event.

When creating a hashtag for your event, keep it simple.  Make it easily identifiable for your followers and short so that tweets can have the hashtag included.

To create one that is unique to your organization, you can research existing hashtags first to ensure it is not already in use, thus, causing confusion when promoting your event.

Ensure you are advertising the event hashtag in all other areas (membership emails, print materials, signage, etc) generate more Twitter chatter.

Encourage Tweets with the use of your Event Hashtag
Using the hashtag will engage members who are attending, and those who are not able to attend your event to be kept up to date on all of the action!
  • Prior to the event:  When there is an update about speakers, sessions, sponsors, etc, tweet about it through your event’s Twitter account, and use the hashtag in the message.    Promote early registration deadlines (i.e #eventname register by Jan 15 and get $200 off conference fee), celebrate goals (#eventname just hit the halfway point for registrations), promote your sponsors (Its official! @sponsorname is hosting the opening reception at #eventname).
  • During the event:  Encourage your delegates to tweet about sessions, start a Q&A by tweeting questions to presenters.  Request your presenters Twitter handles and promote them in the conference materials.  Ask them to tweet about speaking at your event.  Prior to commencing the presentation, encourage speakers to promote their Twitter handle and the event’s, so that questions can be directed. 
  • Have someone monitor tweets with your hashtag and respond in real time at the event.  Though some organizers find this risky, display a feed of the tweets in common areas of your conference (or, if you can, in every session) to encourage users to keep the conversation going.  Yes, some delegates may tweet negative comments or may even diss the speaker.  But this is the ultimate audience feedback system!  Answering a negative tweet will show how you care about member engagement.
  • Remember that those who have not been able to attend will be watching… so give them something to talk about!  Tweet findings, “quotable quotes”, photos of the event.  Those monitoring the chatter will re-tweet, meaning that your event will get more exposure.
  • After the event:  Keep the conversation going!  Ask for feedback, suggestions on future topics, locations, etc.  to be posted with the use of your hashtag.
With over 380 million users, Twitter can be a great tool to help you engage delegates, sponsors, exhibitors and members at large.

Did a Mistake Happen While B2B Marketing?

Much to my chagrin, it just happened to me.  Recently promoted, I embraced my new role and decided to start with an email marketing campaign to attendees from a conference I attended recently.  A lot of time went into preparing a series of targeted messages, stressing the value of creating a membership renewal process, member engagement and keeping your database clean.

WomanFrustratedA fellow team member researched each organization on my list, so I could select the best organizations to target from the entire list of conference attendees.  Since I had not met these people at the conference, the plan was to send introductory messages with educational resources about our company's services, with appropriate follow-up calls.

I was so excited press the “send” button (on my birthday to boot), only to find out a few hours later that data was corrupted during the list upload.  Somehow the marketing automation software used to deploy emails changed about 20% of my recipients' first names to "Sylvie".  Yes, all those important association Executive Directors, many of them men, received a "Dear Sylvie" message.  I was HUMILIATED!

Getting over the initial shock (and avoiding my first instinct to crawl under my desk and pretend this was not happening), I had a great conversation with my boss and realized that these circumstances were beyond my control.  Still, something needed to be done.

I have now come up with my apology note, that will accompany the correct message (as it was supposed to look), advising that there was a technical glitch and that while it was unfortunate, there are some great lessons to learn here.

What are the lessons? Everyone is human, things happen.  No software solution is perfect.  Even after testing, some things may go wrong.  And while the software Help Desk people heard an earful from me, they cannot 100% guarantee that it is going to work 100% of the time.  The human element is always there, and with that, come mistakes.  I hope now that I will get more respect owning up to it instead of pretending it didn't happen. Oh, and I think it’s time to start taking the day off for my birthday…

Occupy Wall Street: What Will It Mean for Associations?

99% Occupy Wall Street Protest SignTwo weeks ago, I wrote a post regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement and how it could affect the hospitality and meetings industry.   While the media have decreased its coverage of demonstrations, it would appear this social phenomenon is not going away.

On, Dave Kovaleski describes how Occupy protester targeted two Chicago meetings of the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Futures Industry Association and how the American Bankers Association was preparing for demonstrations at their annual convention in San Antonio, TX.

So what could this mean to membership driven organizations?
  • With this movement targeting corporate greed, any association with well-known corporate members could become a target, as evidenced above.  This could curtail attendance as some members stay away for fear of exposure.  Sponsorship revenues may be negatively affected as some associations’ stakeholders become more sensitive to the financial relationships between their professional association and for-profit entities, or sponsors themselves grow afraid of bad press.
  • But the Occupy Wall Street movement may not be bad for all associations.  Earlier in October delegates from Massachusetts Nurses’ Association convention actually joined an Occupy demonstration in Boston and reportedly garnered great media coverage.
  • Some associations may be called upon to take a greater advocacy role to protect the interests of individuals and the public at large.  Members may be looking more closely at their professional association’s involvement in corporate social responsibility programs.
  • With the general public's increased mistrust of larger organizations, associations may face increased scrutiny of their financial affairs.  Proposed increases in membership dues may be more closely scrutinized.  The allure of alternative revenue streams from affinity programs may need to be weighed against the negative views held by some members about these relationships.
  • Finally this movement may force groups to use social media whereas they previously would not have been inclined to do so.  This may not only be as a means to communicate with their audiences; using Twitter and other social media to listen to relevant conversations may also help associations maintain their relevance.
So, Association Executives, what do YOU think this #OWS movement will mean to you and your organization?

Event Promotion and YouTube

Looking for a creative way to promote your event to the world?  Try YouTube.

With so many other social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) who serve to get information out to your members or connections, YouTube is a platform to publish video content to promote your events.

Here’s how it works (and some tips to help you along the way):

Start by creating your own YouTube channel
Your channel will serve as the central spot to publish your video content.  When creating a channel, you need to create an account with YouTube.  Tip: Use a corporate email address if you can (events@, etc) instead of a generic email address (i.e. yahoo, etc).

To help your potential delegates find you, ensure you align the name you give your channel with your company/organization.  There are opportunities to add channel tags (or, keywords) as well, so do your best to align those as well.

Make sure your fill out your profile.  Those who are searching you will be able to confirm that they have come to the right place.

Event Dates
This section (under Modules) can be used to promote the dates of your upcoming event.  When promoting an event, you can list here hey information such as a brief description, the dates of the event, the venue/location, and links to full event information & registration sites.

Create and post videos
Drive interest around speakers and sessions that will take place at your event.  To start, you can film someone within your events department, who would discuss the hot topics being covered, and any key points of the event that your delegates may be interested in.  In addition, you can continue the communication by asking a member or volunteer lead to discuss networking opportunities and social functions, and how much fun they had, etc.

If you can, ask your speakers/presenters to participate.  By submitting a 60-second video discussing what they will be presenting at the upcoming event, your speakers/presenters will be providing all potential delegates with a “snapshot” of what kinds of information they will be learning about while they are attending.

Capture your event on video
Many conferences are recorded these days.  Use these recordings as a marketing tool for future conferences, by showing potential delegates what they missed this time.

You can assign someone in your events department to be the “official” videographer – by asking for live feedback from delegates, or post-presentation interviews with the presenters.

You could also consider holding a contest, calling for delegates to record feedback, etc. on their mobile devices – as an example, the top 3 submissions would be used as a marketing tool for the next event, and maybe they could save on the registration fee for winning!

With over 3-billion daily views on YouTube, and a user-friendly platform to develop your own channel, event promotion with this media avenue, if done and managed consistently, will assist you in engaging your delegates.

Social Media for Professional Associations

Social Media
In September 2011, I attended the CSAE National Conference and Tradeshow in Saskatoon, SK.  One of the sessions I attended and that I retrieved the most valuable information from was “Social Media – Two Years Later… What have we learned? Where are we going?” presented by Larry Mogelonsky, of LMA Strategic Marketing & Communications.

Here is a quick snapshot of the statistics Larry used when showing how Social Media has grown:

Social Media Site
Two Years Ago
Today (as of September 2011)
% increase
Facebook 250 million users 695 million users +278%
YouTube 0.9 billion views per day 3.2 billion views per day +355%
LinkedIn 42 million users 150 million users +357%
Twitter 12 million tweets per day 140 million tweets per day +1166%

A quick summary:  Social Media is not a fad – it is here to stay, and we better know how to use it effectively.

This statement is what concerned many in the room – association leaders know it is important, but they don’t know either how to use the various sites, or how to integrate it in their communications strategy.

Before, you would have had to pay for advertising (via magazines, ads on TV, etc) – and while these are still important channels to market your organization, Social Media has created a free way to get your message to your audience, who in turn, have the opportunity to freely share it with their connections & followers.  In short: your members can now be your marketers.  If you create ways for them to do so.

Here are some of the key tips I walked away with from the session:
  • Give people what they want – and only what they want.  Larry advised that the information that you are sharing should be relevant to the members and non-members of your given industry.  Ask yourself before you post “Would I find this interesting?” 
  • It is a forum for personal interaction – to share ideas, information and shared values with your members
  • It is not just a marketing function.  Social Media should be fully integrated into your overall communications strategy – not just an afterthought.
  • It is a forum to actively engage in discussion that furthers the learning process for all.
In addition, here are some of the questions that organizations should ask before embarking on the Social Media journey:
  • What are you trying to accomplish with Social Media? (Are you building awareness?  Are you providing valuable information?   Are you showcasing or building your industry’s influence?)
  • How will you accomplish these goals with Social Media? (How are you going to deliver value to members and non-members?  Will you be beta-testing to user groups?)
  • What tools will you have at your disposal? (Will you have a Fan Page on Facebook, an official Twitter account, create a private group on LinkedIn, post videos on YouTube?)
  • How will you execute your Social Media strategy? (Will it be someone currently on-staff?  Will you need to hire? Will you be outsourcing?)
  • Does your website currently have an area to post timely information? (Do you have a blog or an area to post research papers/articles?)
  • Do all decision-makers within your organization understand the costs that will be associated with your Social Media strategy? (While these sites are free to join, it costs to manage or outsource)
But the main point is that social media IS here to stay.  As younger cohorts enter the workforce, membership-based organizations will be forced to accommodate how they wish to communicate.  And this increasingly includes social media.  How will you take on the challenge?

Email Marketing and Designing the Right Message for your Members

You have carefully written and edited your message, but have you considered what it looks like before you press “send”?

Knowing what your association’s members are using to view your electronic messages is an important part of ensuring your message is delivered and read by your audience.

I subscribe to many electronic newsletters.  Often I have unsubscribed because the message was hard to read, or not laid out properly.  It may have been great content, but I was not willing to struggle through reading it because it was visually very unappealing.  Likely this is because the content provider did not consider my software requirements prior to developing and sending the message.

Make a practice of inquiring about what e-mail software your members may be using to view your message.  Are they using desktop software like Outlook, a web-based tool like Gmail, or a mobile device like the iPhone?  If it is Outlook (or another desktop software) – what version are they using?  Are they using the iPhone or the iPad?

A recent Benchmarking Report released by Informz (who collected their data in order to release their report based on over 400-million emails sent by over 500 associations) found that the number of members using desktop software decreased from 67% in December 2009 to 61% in December 2010.  It also showed that in December 2009, 6% used mobile devices to open email, but a year later this statistic more than doubled (up to 13% in December 2010).  The use of mobile devices is expected to grow dramatically over the next few years, while desktop usage is expected to drop.  While the Informz report focuses on Association’s e-mail marketing, these metrics are supported throughout other industries as well.  A blog post from Jordie van Rijn, says “Mobile email will account for 10 to 30% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product and email type.”

As your members continue to get busier and as mobile devices continue to grow in popularity, it may be time to check in with your members to determine how they are viewing your information.

It can be difficult to have your message render properly in all the various e-mail software and browsers out there.  But at the very least, designing your message layout for the most popular tools used by your membership will increase your open and click-through rates, and your overall membership engagement.

Professional Associations Trends in 2012 and beyond

Revenue GenerationIn September, I had the pleasure of attending the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) National Conference & Tradeshow in Saskatoon.  During the educational sessions, I attended “Ready or Not! Association Trends for 2012 and Beyond”, presented by the Association Resource Centre Inc.

After conducting their own research, they focused on 5 trends affecting Associations – Volunteerism, Revenue Generation, Board Structure, Social Media and Succession Planning.

Leaving the session, I walked away with tons of information.  Two areas stood out for me:

Revenue Generation
As many professional associations are already aware, members are feeling squeezed, non-members are not spending as much, governments are cutting back on their funding, and membership models are changing.  So, how do you generate more revenue for your association?
  • If you can offer a professional certification, start working on a program.  Members and non-members alike will be interested in furthering their career by obtaining a designation.  This may mean additional monetary compensation by employers, or finding a better job. 
  • Produce and promote research papers in your industry.  People will pay for expert opinions – give them a taste of the research paper by making some of the key points available for a free download, and advise them that the rest is available for purchase.  Geoff Thacker & Carol-Anne Moutinho (the presenters) spoke of one association currently seeing some success when they produce research papers and offer it to members for one price, and non-members for another price (the price increase being the cost of a membership with the organization).  Some savvy downloader’s will realize this and may become members instead for additional value-added services…
  • Have speakers pay you – one of the most amazing things I walked away with was not from the presenter, it was from an attendee.  He indicated that they do their research on who would be most interested in speaking to a room full of professionals in a particular field – and charges a per minute fee to do it!  When looking for presentations to your members in a niche market, this can provide a lot of revenue!
Social Media
Thacker & Moutinho reported that using social media was going to be associations’ biggest challenge – as all are encouraged to use it, but few have been able to measure that ROI.

Associations are finding that they do not have the staff, expertise, and time to focus on social media the way they think they should.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn are the top sites that associations should be focusing on. These sites should be where associations communicate, network, fundraise and market both to their members and to the general public.

Thacker & Moutinho encouraged delegates to find the time, the staff, etc in order to create the knowledge base within your team to be active on social media sites.  Should the association not have that person currently on-staff, outsourcing may be the next step in the process.

In the end, marketing to existing members & new members will keep your association from being left in the dust… and it will increase your associations’ presence as industry experts and thought leaders.  Do what you can to keep them thinking of you!

Canada Post Changes Could Affect Association and Event Mailings

Return To Sender
Canada Post will be making some very important changes effective January 2012.  Association and meetings industry professionals should pay attention to these as they could affect the deliverability of membership renewal and event promotion material.

New guidelines were introduced regarding standardized mailing addresses.  This change was to come into effect January 2011, but due to overwhelming response from businesses, changes were postponed until January 2012, to give businesses more time to prepare.

They will be looking for more exact mailing information going forward; otherwise, mail will be returned.  Here are a few examples of what will no longer be an acceptable mailing address:

1234 Main Street, 10th Floor
Toronto,ON M2M 2M4

Going forward, this address will need to be changed to reflect the exact suite number:

1001-1234 Main St
Toronto,ON M2M 2M4


1234 Main St Suite 1001
Toronto,ON M2M 2M4

Another example is if you mail to a company headquartered in a building with multiple other companies.  Unless you indicate which suite number they are located at, your mail will be returned even though it was the right building and right postal code.

How will this affect you?
If you are a professional or trade association, you likely mail materials at least annually to all your members, exhibitors or sponsors.  If you are a meetings industry supplier – a hotel, event venue or DMO, you may use mail to distribute meeting promotions or destination planning guides.

With the new guidelines, some of your data may no longer be deliverable,  and it could affect first class and bulk mailing discounts. Please follow the link below for more information:

What can you do?
  • Encourage your staff to update your database with the new standards.  Help them by posting what the new addresses should look like;
  • If you have an annual mailing campaign at the end of this year, provide an incentive for recipients to update their information with the full address;
  • If you use a mailing house for a mailing before the end of 2011, ask them to send you the “questionable” addresses report so you can have your staff call members, clients or other stakeholders, to update the information;
  • Or give us a call at Greenfield.  We will be happy to scan your list and help you determine a strategy to update the information effectively and efficiently.
These changes will affect everyone, whether it is a small portion of your list, or a larger one.  To ensure that you get the biggest ROI on your mailings, take a look at your mailing list and implement changes now to increase your reach in 2012 and beyond.

Emailing to Professional Associations' Members - When is the Best Time?

Recently email marketing provider Informz issued its 2011 E-mail Marketing Benchmarking Report containing some very interesting statistics regarding the better times of the day to send an e-mail.

Two key statistics jumped out at me. First, email messages sent in the morning reportedly have the highest open rate.


In comparison, the report claims that emails sent in the afternoon have the highest click-through rates:


These statistics made me think about the time of day we are sending emails on behalf of our clients.  It may be that information-based emails (newsletters, etc) are best sent in the morning, when the contact is getting ready for the day (before all the meetings, calls, etc).  Emails that contain calls-to-actions (registration for events, etc) may have better results if sent in the afternoon.

But there are no “silver bullets” here.  The only way to know for sure is to test and monitor the results closely.  You could, for instance, split your test into two and send to list #1 in the morning, and the same e-mail to list #2 in the afternoon.  Randomize your lists and do this with at least 3-4 emails of a similar nature (e.g. your regular monthly E-newsletter).  Make sure you keep all other factors consistent.  This is the only way you will know with as much certainty as possible what works for your members!

Other things to test may also include:
  • Subject lines:  should you use a directive subject line? (“Register by…”) or a provocative one (“Don’t be left out in the cold!”)?
  • Day of the week: some reports say never send on a Monday or Friday.  But what is true for your audience?
  • Length of message: are you better off giving snippets of the information with a link for members to “read more”, or are you better off having the entire text in the e-mail?
The goal of testing is learn about how members react to different elements of your messages so you can more effectively reach them.

Professional Associations - How many members are opening your emails?

How Many Members are Opening Your Emails?
Informz recently published a report on Benchmarking Association Email Marketing.

It was based on users located in Canada, US, and abroad that use Informz as their solution to send email communication to their respective members. One of the first metrics that I found interesting was the results on the Types of Emails sent. It displays the following information:
% of contacts opened 35.22% 40.73% 26.66% 28.84%
% of contacts clicked through 34.36% 15.46% 16.56% 22.75%

I found these metrics very interesting.  As these metrics were generated based on 500 associations sending 400 million emails, it does not get into detail regarding the surrounding action plan by each association (it just focuses on the email component).  With all the e-mail campaigns we have handled in the past, I have seen the results with the following:
  • Surveys:  Reach out to your membership base in various ways to advise them that a survey is coming before it is deployed.  The simplest way to do so is to advertise it in an upcoming newsletter, explaining why it is important as a member to participate, and what you will be doing with the results.  Another option is to gain permission first to send them the survey.  Reaching out to them by phone will show that as an association, you care about your membership, and you will also be gaining explicit permission to participate.
  • Events:  This metric seemed pretty straight-forward.  Many members are interested in upcoming events, and will actively open emails to see what educational and networking opportunities are coming up.  Based on Greenfield’s experience with event promotion, the numbers pertaining to click through and registrations seem to be in line.  It can take several emails spaced appropriately to encourage someone to register.  Also, it does not factor in any other promotional activity you are doing for your event – mailings, advertising in your newsletter, follow-up calls, etc.  Ensure that you have a well thought out marketing plan to boost attendee registration.
  • Appeal:  This is really an area that your database will come in handy, if set up properly.  While appeals can and should be made to all members – targeted messaging should apply depending on the job-level of your member.  Do not plead for sponsorship/monetary funds that are out of reach to coordinators, when that type of message should reach Directors/Presidents.  Planning your appeals based on job-levels, or member-levels, will start to increase the open & click rates on your emails – as the message will be relevant to whom it is being delivered to.
  • Newsletter:  While this metric surprised me, further thought about it made sense – associations that are sending the newsletter at the same day/time every month will have their members more actively ignoring what it is inside the message.  Same goes if the subject line is static.  Change it up a bit – it will raise interest with your membership database.
The final thing is to ensure that you are not sending too much to your member base at any time – I have heard members of associations indicate that they receive up to 5 emails a week from their association, and are just deleting the message without opening them now, because it is way too much communication in their busy lives.

The 2011 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report contains many more interesting statistics and best practices – and as I delve into it more I will post more thoughts – but you can see for yourself by downloading a copy now.

Association Member Retention - Are You as Member-Driven as You Think?

Association Membership
Even though the recession is behind us, we see that association members and their employers are increasingly looking at the ROI of their annual dues.

Some memberships are mandatory, based on industry requirements – but if it is not a requirement (and, even if it is), do you really know why your members joined your association?  Is it networking opportunities, access to education relevant to your industry, or because it helps them show influence in their day-to-day role?

Ensure that each member feels as valued as the next by capturing what is relevant to them.  Your membership database should house member contact information, but does it allow you to pull reports based on demographics? Could you communicate with your a sub-set of members based on specific interests, or motivations?

In many cases, a main reason for membership is the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals in their given industry. But check to be sure.  In your next membership renewal campaign, take the time to find out why – and create a simply drop-down list in your database to capture this information.  It may help you in the future when promoting a new service, educational program, or event.

Recently we worked on an association membership renewal campaign with one of our clients, and one of the members who renewed had absolutely nothing to do with the industry.  To settle our own curiosity, we asked him why he enjoyed being a member of this particular association – he literally said that he pays the membership fees each year because he enjoys getting the magazine!  While this I must admit is an extreme case, it would make sense to know this so that dollars are not spent on something the member is clearly not interest in.

For another association client, we promote conferences and courses to prospective members with a call campaign following a mailing.  During these calls, we come across many contacts who are interested in what the association offers at a very general level, but they do not want to continue to receive all their mailings until they are ready to commit as a member. This particular association spends a lot of money per mailing.  If preferences about mailings was kept in their CRM, it would not only respect contacts’ wishes, but it would save the association a lot of money on their mailings.

Find out what you could be doing to enhance a member's  experience.  Do you have an area online that is “members only” where they have the chance to ask and answer questions with their peers?  Would this be of interest to them?

Newer members are most certainly from a different generation from your long-time members.  They search for information differently.  Is there a blog on your website?  Are you tweeting?  This may help enhance the member experience with younger members.  However, do not keep the others out of the loop – keep your other methods of communication too, in order to cover all of your bases.

Is there anything else that you think may enhance your member’s experience?

Blogging for Association Managers: Be Patient, It Works!

Thank you Flower PotI was just "tickled-pink" today when I received an email from Laura Andre of the Alberta Ready-Mixed Concrete Association saying:

Good morning, Doreen,

I am writing to ask your permission to publish an article found on the internet and dated April 19, 2010, "Why Belong to an Association?" I would like very much to include this in our next edition of the ARMCA newsletter.  The information is valuable to us and very well written.

Your prompt response would be very much appreciated.

What a wonderful request this was!  After blogging for a year, this was my very first request to be re-published, and I quickly responded a resounding "YES!"

My staff and I enjoy writing about association business development strategies and other topics of interest to professional and trade association executives.  But when anyone ventures into new territory like we did with blogging a year ago, it's difficult to gauge whether we're hitting the right note with our audience.  It was very nice to have our material validated by a professional association executive in such a personable way!

In case you want to check out ARMCA's spring 2011 newsletter, here it is:
Thank you, Ms. Andre!