Member marketing is in a downward spiral. Better technology gives us inexpensive email and free social media, which allows us to message our members whenever we feel like it. Our members are literally being attacked by messages. Every day they receive more promotions and content than they could ever possibly read.
Think of your inbox. How many messages are not relevant to you? Additionally, some are spam and some may even be a scam. No wonder we have grown distrustful of marketing messages. This onslaught of messaging, our marketing, is hurting our ability to connect with members.
Watch for this cycle. Members open fewer emails so we send them with greater frequency. There is a trend where members sign up for events closer to the date. But even though we know this we panic and send out a greater volume messages a few weeks prior to the event. A new product isn’t getting the interest we think it should be getting so we double up on messaging but then give up on it too quickly.
Members don’t need more messaging from us; they need better messaging from us. So many of promotional emails read like a phone book. A list of logical, dry benefits that don’t do much to activate interest. Other promotional messages are full of hype. They promise amazing value, happiness and world peace and are so inauthentic they barely get a passing glance.
Rarely thought about is the damage poorly conceived promotional messages can do. We only have a few tries at capturing our member’s interest before they tune out all our messages.
Whether a promotional email, ad, post on social media or direct mail before it is sent outside your association’s doors ask yourself:
Does this matter?
Does this product or service matter to members? Sometimes you may find that the thing you are promoting matters far more to the association than it does to the members. If it doesn’t matter to members no amount of promotions will make them care. Stop promoting the things that don’t matter to members and work on finding more things that will.
Why does this matter?
What problem does this product or service solve for members? Figure out how to articulate your member’s problem in their words. Next pretend you are a member, from this point of view how the product solve their problem? Now how will your member feel when this product has solved their problem?
Who does this matter to?
The old marketing funnel relies on developing a product and then finding customers for that product. More and more organizations are finding that focusing on their customers (members) first and then developing products for them is far more effective. Try selling your product or service to just one person. If they are delighted ask them why. Use those insights to try to attract more buyers like them.
Most associations need to focus far less on marketing volume and more effort on better marketing messaging. If you are running at a breakneck pace, and most associations are, try carving out some time to think strategically about what really matters to your members.
First published in MASAE’s PACE Magazine.