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The New Age of Communication: The Best Way to Reach Your Members

Engagement, Marketing Tamara Gitlin

In this new age of technology, your association is fortunate to have multiple channels of communication with its members and other audiences.  Mail, email, phone, text, instant messages, ads, commercials, social media, the list can go on forever.

But do you know the best way to reach your members?

What channels are working for your association? What channels should be re-evaluated? These are important questions to ask when developing a communication strategy of your own.

Creating content to market is only as good as the amount of people it reaches. Having your association’s email messages put right in the spam folder is not exactly the engagement you’re looking for.  

To make sure you are engaging your association’s members, you have to know the best ways to reach them.

Fortunately there are many communication channels to choose from, but with everyone connected all the time the best way to reach your target audience is to cover all of your bases and  reach out using many different forms of communication.

So, let’s take a look at a few of the most popular forms of communication and compare statistics and facts in order to give your association a better idea of how its member outreach should go. With this, you should have less trouble contacting members, improving member engagement in the long run.

 

Direct mail

While your association may have pegged direct mail as down for the count, there are a few metrics that may make you reconsider.

Direct mail, or unsolicited advertising sent to prospective customers through the mail, is not a thing of the past. It is not as popular and effective as it once was, but it still reaches a large amount of the population.

For many individuals, the physical aspect of direct mail can help them engage with the message even more. Being able to both see and hold mail from your association might be enough to help them pay more attention to the message being conveyed. And there’s research to back this idea up.

If marketing campaigns are a numbers game, sending promotional material to someone’s home or place of business because the chance of them seeing and actually holding your promotional material can raise the stakes. The USPS found that 47% of Millennials actually check their physical mailbox each day. They also consider going through their direct mail as a leisurely activity.

In addition, 69% of people perceive Direct mail as more personal as opposed to email or other forms of communication. So, if you’re looking to get personal with members, direct mail might be the channel for you!

 

Email

Email marketing is an easy and effective way to reach potentially all of your members. And the best part is- almost everyone has an email account these days.

According to Statista, in 2017, global email users amounted to 3.7 million users. This figure is set to grow to 4.1 billion users in 2021. This statistic alone is a great reason to market through emails.

And email marketing works well, if done the right way. In fact, 54% of marketers put increasing email engagement as their top marketing priority.

So, what are the consequences to an email marketing strategy? Put bluntly, too much of a good thing can turn sour very quick.

There is a fine line between engaging and annoying your members. 78% of consumers unsubscribe from emails because brands were sending too many emails. It is important to think of your members as busy professionals, and therefore the content that you are showing them should be worth their time.

When creating email marketing content, make sure that your email cannot be mistaken for spam, meaning that it looks professional and that it is easily identifiable. The reader should also know that it is from your association as soon as they recieve it.

A great email design goes a long way, too. People want to know what it is your conveying as quickly as possible, and if they have to search through your email, they will get frustrated and delete it.

Also make sure that your email contains a link that takes the reader straight to your home page. This way it is as easy as possible for the reader to go to your web page and learn more about your message.

With email marketing, you get to personalise your message and send it to a large amount of people, which might just be the method of communication that your association is looking for.

 

Phone calls

Phone Marketing may seem outdated, hard to master, and not very lucrative as far as communication goes.

But, once you get someone on your association’s staff who is skilled on the phone and is able to communicate well with members, you could find it being a valuable channel for member outreach. And it’s a very unique channel at that.

Unlike mail and email, having a phone call is a real time interaction that forces your members to actively listen and respond to the messages you deliver.

This report, which analyzed over 50 million phone calls that went through the call intelligence platform, said 65% of customers prefer to contact a business by phone while only 24% are satisfied with only a web form for product purchases or service subscriptions.

In particular, 63% of the respondents completed their purchases offline following a typical online search activity.

According to this survey conducted by NewVoiceMedia, 75% of customers believe calling is the most effective way to contact and communicate with businesses. That’s three quarters of all respondents!

When initiating a phone call strategy,  it is important to train your association’s staff. Make sure everyone upholds the same standard of professionalism and that they are all able to answer the same questions.

 

Texting

Like, phone calls, Instant text messaging is a great way to personalize your message to thousands of people. But, again like phone calls, it is important to keep in mind that texting could be seen as invading someone’s privacy.

When reaching out in this way, it is important for your message to be polite and professional. While mass producing a message is easy and effective, you always want to add that personal touch that shows members the interaction is important to you.

 

Direct messages

If you are in touch with social media- specifically platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook- you may recognize the direct messaging features that are given to users for further communication. And those features can actually work to your association’s advantage when engaging with members from all over the place. But when trying to engage members, this is a good method to use when trying to reach young members. They are most likely to check their social media everyday and respond.

 

While communication will vary for every association, taking these statistics into consideration and doing your own comparison can help you stay on top of member engagement and outreach.