The 3 Best Data Points to Grab from Your AMS for Marketing Automation Campaigns

Associations, Communications Strategy // Learn which AMS data points will be the most useful and effective to tap for personalizing your automated email campaigns.

Alex Mastrianni
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An AMS is a treasure trove of valuable data, so we often think: why not grab everything we can for our marketing campaigns?

But with an endless amount of information right at our fingertips, it can be tough to separate the grain from the chaff. How do we know which AMS data points will be the most useful and effective to tap for our marketing campaigns?

Here are some 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. According to Experian, emails with personalization in the subject line are 26% more likely to be opened.

Want to hear another crazy stat? Experian reported that the majority of marketers ask customers for data, but then don’t use it to personalize their emails. Does that describe you? If so, start putting that data to work with integrated data!

For example, let’s compare the following two emails. Which one is more compelling to the reader? The one that’s a generic call for surveys, or the one that personalizes the email with me and my family member’s name?


Example 1, Example 2

Curious about what’s behind creating a personalized experience? We believe it’s key to mastering the engagement economy. Learn more!

2. Membership Activity

An AMS is our go-to resource for digging into a member’s relationship with our 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 us further nurture relationships and engage members, whether they’re brand new to the organization or lifelong supporters. Use the data you collect in your member welcome and renewal and event campaigns.

(Not exactly sure where to start with reporting on these metrics? We’ve got seven tips for you.)

Welcome 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, we’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?

  • The Florida Association of Insurance Agents 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 were seeing more engaged members and higher open and click rates.

Renewal Campaigns

Replicate this with long-term members, too. Trigger campaigns based on membership anniversaries, add members to 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.

Event Attendance

We can also use our members’ demographic data to fine-tune event messaging and craft a powerful call to action.

  • The Illinois Association of School Business Officials used this tactic to speak to different segments of its audience based on membership type, such as vendors, administrators, or facility groups, and had impressive results. Since each type of member gets something different out of attending the event, the registration ask should sound different, too. IASBO pulled the data from its AMS to customize the message and saw a 45% increase in event attendance (that’s an additional $20,000 than previous years).

When trying to decide who to invite to future events, we can find related events we’ve hosted in the past, and share the invite with those registrants.

3. Past Transactions

Why is it helpful to know what our members did in the past? These activities are data we can use to improve our future outreach to them.

For example, we could steal a play from Amazon’s playbook and make recommendations for future purchases based on a subscriber’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.
  • Hosting a networking event for longtime members? Consult your AMS for a list of invitees who attended other networking events or recently visited the event page on your website or community.
  • 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, it’s often better to be selective with the data we pull from our AMS, and make sure what we’re gathering has a purpose. Taking the time to analyze what data we want and why we want it can help keep our strategy simple and straightforward.

And in the future, if we realized we needed more data, we can always build on top of that foundation by adding more AMS data into the mix.

Download the Engagement Trends Report 2020

Alex Mastrianni

Senior Manager of Product Marketing

Alex is the Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Higher Logic. Outside of work, Alex is a pop culture junkie, ice cream fanatic, and semi-pro vacation planner.

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