Email and social media marketing can be two of the best ways for organizations to connect with their members and promote their initiatives. They are often under-utilized tools for helping to grow out your non-dues revenue program as well.
Interested in upping your marketing game to help boost your non-dues revenue efforts? Following are some best practices to keep in mind when it comes to your email marketing & social media marketing programs:
Audience Segmentation: No two members are the same, which is why audience segmentation should be an email marketer’s BFF. The more you separate your contacts based on data source, type, and interests/behaviors, the better you can target your messages and increase your response rate.
Once you have your audiences segmented, reach out to them in a variety of ways using messaging tools like A/B testing and dynamic messaging.
Personalized Emails: Just because you use a bulk messaging service doesn’t mean your emails can’t have a personal touch to them! By adding source fields strategically to your email campaigns, you’ll be able to customize your messages just enough that people will think you took the time to send them a personal note. I personally recommend adding [FNAME] to subject lines —if done correctly, you’ll see a big boost in open rates versus a standard subject line with no personalization.
Don’t forget to write your email message in a tone/language that is relevant to your audience’s interests & behaviors as well. In the case of association professionals or businesses, this is often more formal than you might find in a traditional consumer mailing.
First Impressions Count: Most emails end up in the trash bin before they are even opened. To ensure that yours doesn’t meet that fate, make sure you use a catchy & informative subject line that’ll draw the readers attention and make them want to open your message. As already noted, you might also want to consider adding a custom field to your subject line or pre-header to help boost your open rates.
Make it Mobile-Friendly: Most emails today are viewed on a mobile device (cellphone or tablet). With that in mind, it is vitally important that your email is optimized for mobile devices and various screen sizes. This includes formatting any copy within columns for mobile devices, as well as and properly sizing your images & text.
- Stick to an email- or web-safe font like Arial or Helvetica for your body text. These fonts are guaranteed to render within all common email clients, including Gmail, Apple Mail, and Microsoft Outlook.
- Don’t use text smaller than 14 points in your email copy.
- Check with your email marketing provider (Mailchimp, Constant Contact etc.) to see if they have recommended guidelines for image sizing.
Have a clear CTA (call-to-action) in your messages: There’s no point in creating an email blast if it lacks a clear purpose. In the case of non-dues revenue efforts, this could be participating in/sponsoring an upcoming event, selling ad space in your publications, or promoting a career center on your website. Make sure this goal is clear to the reader, ideally using a button or highly-visible link directing traffic to the relevant page or email account.
Track & Monitor Your Email Metrics: Your work doesn’t end once the email is published. Take the time to review your email reports and track your open, click-thru, and unsubscribe rates to gauge your campaign’s effectiveness — and then use this information to make improvements for future messages.
Social Media Marketing
Choose Your Platforms Wisely: This is a perfect case of quality versus quality. Most associations can get away with just using three social media networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) if they are managed well. Don’t worry about building up an Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok account unless your core audience/membership skews to the younger side.
LinkedIn, in particular, is often overlooked as a useful tool for reaching association professionals, despite probably being the most effective of the major networks at reaching those within the association space.
Add Photos & Video: Social media posts today should be heavy on the imagery and light on the text. As such, make sure you use high-quality images, videos and/or infographics in all of your posts to grab your members’ attention and convey your message. Consider investing in access to a stock library for access to quality images (other options for free high-quality images include Pixabay and Pexels.)
One paid tool that every social media manager needs to subscribe to is Canva Pro. Not only can you create custom image or mini-video posts in Canva for all of your social media messages, but you can also get the images automatically resized for each network you use.
ProTip: Add your logo to your custom social media post graphics wherever possible to give them that extra professional touch.
Engage with Your Online Audience: Social listening is one of the most important roles a modern social media manager can take on. Make sure you’re keeping tabs on your association’s network feeds and responding to comments/messages promptly. This is especially important if you’re using your social networks to sell sponsorships/ad space or promote an upcoming event etc. Using a scheduling tool like Hootsuite, SproutSocial or Loomly can help you manage your audience interactions.
You may want to also consider scheduling polls, RT/Like or other posts designed to elicit commentary from your audience to boost interaction.
#Hashtag Everything: Don’t forget to incorporate relevant hashtags into your posts (particularly on Twitter and Instagram!) to increase the visibility of your posts and get them before a wider audience.
You can even use a hashtag as part of your association’s branding scheme. For PAI, we use #PowerUpYourRevenue in our social media efforts to further brand ourselves.
Along the same lines, make sure you tag any relevant companies or partner associations that you may mention in a post, as this will also expand your audience reach. An easy way to do this is a “Thank You To Our Sponsors” post for your conference sponsors.
Post To Social Media Regularly: Creating and posting content to your social media networks on a consistent basis will also help boost your engagement rates. Using a scheduling tool like the ones mentioned above will help with this.
Track & Monitor Your Social Media Metrics: Keep on top of your key social media metrics, including follower counts, engagement rates, and interactions. The easiest way to do this is to use the analytics tools provided by your chosen social media scheduling program. By reviewing these patterns on a weekly or monthly basis, you can evaluate the success of your social media marketing campaigns and adapt/change them appropriately. Consider using Google Analytics and UTM codes in all your links distributed on social as well for additional tracking metrics.
Overall, it’s important to focus on providing value to your non-dues revenue efforts through your email and social media marketing efforts. By tailoring your messages to their target audience’s interests, engaging with them, and providing them with valuable content, you can build a stronger connection with them and ultimately generate more non-dues revenue for your association.