Email is a proven method for doing more with less. And if you work in the association world, you’re probably already an expert at that. Association teams are nimble, creative, and dedicated to serving their members. But you can’t “work smarter, not harder” without the right tools.
When the right message reaches the right audience at the right time, magic happens. New members join. Current members become more engaged. Revenue grows.
And a successful email campaign is the magical connection.
It’s hard to reach new members and retain current ones without shaking things up a bit. Associations are frequently limited by bandwidth, technology, and/or experience, and continue to do what is comfortable and achievable, but not always scalable.
That’s where marketing automation software comes in. With marketing automation, you can:
- Save precious staff time through thoughtful automation that includes customized templates, automated processes, and a variety of campaign types
- Leverage your data to segment your members and audiences and target with personalized messages
- Rekindle lapsed member relationships, spark recruitment, and increase event attendance
- Stay connected with your members and demonstrate your value in an increasingly remote world
Communicating with your members and fostering engagement is even more crucial in these unprecedented times where events shift from in-person to virtual on a dime and people are hungry for human connection.
Want some inspiration on how to make this happen? Check out these stories from five associations on how they achieved incredible results while decreasing their workload by using automated email campaigns. Plus, don’t miss our tips for success after each story!
5 Examples of Successful Email Campaigns
1. BCNPHA Increased Virtual Event Attendance by Nearly 50%
The British Columbia Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) provides leadership and support to housing providers and other stakeholders in British Columbia. In 2021 they used a marketing automation campaign to increase virtual event attendance by nearly 50%.
In 2020, BCNPHA hosted their affordable housing event virtually for the first time. It was free to members, and they had about 400 registrants. The team had expected more registrations but found that professional development was on the backburner for members due to the pandemic.
In 2021, they wanted to communicate more effectively about the event and reduce the time intensive and manual approach to promotional emails. They needed a new approach to convince their members to invest in a day’s worth of professional development, particularly when it was free last year, and now had a fee. A marketing automation campaign was the perfect fit, enabling them to reach people at the right time with the right message.
BCNPHA used our Advanced Starter Kits. They quickly deployed a seven-email, month-long campaign that took members from the registration launch all the way through the “last chance” email.
Their bet paid off in a big way. BCNPHA increased conference attendance from 400 to nearly 600 (an almost 50% increase) – despite paid registration this year. The campaign process also gave the team time to add new sponsors and develop a new track.
“Before we used marketing automation, I was worried we were inundating members with email communications, and the important ones were passing them by. Now, we can send the right message to the right person at the right time.”
– Krystele Chavez, former Digital Communications Specialist, BCNPHA
Automated Email Campaign Tip #1 – Segment Audiences by Behavior
Marketing automation provides member behavior data that allow you to hyper-segment and provide relevant, personalized content, instead of having to guess what members want to read based solely on their membership level or other demographics. Behavioral data and segmentation are key to maximizing the value of your targeted marketing efforts.
2. American Mensa Increased Sales by $21K in One Month
American Mensa brings together intelligent, curious, passionate people from diverse backgrounds, with 50,000 members in the U.S. They needed to create a stronger relationship between their organization and its members to drive retention and revenue. The team developed a holistic communications strategy focused on building relationships with their members through email. Their new automated onboarding campaigns gave them a way to connect with their members at scale while staying relevant.
The most successful campaign? A simple birthday message, resulting in more than 500 retained members growth and $21,000 in sales. The campaign was so successful that members who hadn’t engaged with emails for more than 20 years restarted the conversation with the American Mensa team.
- 350K emails sent per month, including automated drip campaigns
- $21K+ in sales & 500 retained members from one campaign
“The results from our birthday campaign shocked me. But it was so effective because we didn’t ask for anything — we just said hello. Now, we send this email automatically through Higher Logic’s Communication tool to 500 subscribers a day, and it continues to be one of our best-performing campaigns. It’s an automated, thoughtful way to keep our brand top-of-mind for our members and encourage deeper interactions with us. We set it up and let it run on its own.”
– Scott Snider, Associate Marketing Director, American Mensa
Automated Email Campaign Tip #2 – Identify Hot Targets
Set up compound target groups to track those who have opened every email but didn’t convert. These are hot targets since they are paying attention and, most importantly, not unsubscribing.
3. AHRI Saved 360 Hours of Staff Time by Automating Onboarding Campaign
The Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) is a non-profit association representing 20,000 members that sets the standard for HR practitioners in Australia.
AHRI noticed a worrying downward trend in membership exit surveys and engagement metrics. They feared members didn’t see value, and that engagement was lacking meaningful interactions. AHRI needed a consistent, holistic communications strategy that engaged and excited members right from the beginning of their relationship with the association.
AHRI implemented automated drip campaigns with Higher Logic. They saw an average email open rate of almost 13% and an average click-through rate of 74%, with the single highest click rate on an email campaign of over 94%.
By sending an automated series of welcome emails to new members showcasing the benefits and resources they can access, AHRI saved 360 hours of staff time, $100,000 in print collateral, and more than $11,000 in mailing costs. What’s more, their communications strategy capitalizes on personalized, relationship-building tools that deliver more value for members—increasing member engagement with communications.
- 13% average email open rate
- 74% average email clickthrough rate
- 360 hours of staff time saved
- $100K saved in print collateral costs
- $11K saved in mailing costs
“Marketing isn’t about making a sale, it’s about building a relationship. To do that, we needed the campaign to be value-focused, rather than sales-focused. We wanted to show the member what they’re entitled to, and how to access it. With our new, automated email campaigns, Higher Logic helps us create those relationships.”
– Alex Nugent, Digital Communications Coordinator, Australian Human Resources Institute
Automated Email Campaign Tip #3 – Uncover Analytics
Use analytics to determine which messages performed best and were most cost-effective, in terms of open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
4. Recruitment Campaign Helps Professionals Australia Grow Membership by 21%
Professionals Australia used Higher Logic’s sophisticated email marketing automation solution, to look comprehensively at their audience’s behavior and set up automated, responsive email workflows based on that data.
Now their team can send personalized messages to each of their 40 member segments, reaching them with the right message at the right time to drive more measurable action.
The association can see what works and what doesn’t and modify for better results. They’ve set up automated campaigns for onboarding and engaging members, enabling them to acquire more members, increase renewals, and reduce member resignations.
For member recruitment, Professionals Australia wanted to advertise bargaining and negotiation services. From this single campaign, the association increased membership in one company’s office by about 30% in one month.
The association also used automated email communications for successful member recruitment around the holidays. December usually is a slow time, but Professionals Australia ran a special campaign offering a holiday rate – taking December from one of their quietest months to the highest month of recruitment in their history.
Professionals Australia recorded the strongest single year of recruitment in their organization’s history –increasing recruitment by 21% – almost entirely due to the expansion of their automated marketing program. They created a stronger and more valuable member experience for everyone, regardless of interests, making the entire organization indispensable to their members, both now and for the future.
Check out Professionals Australia’s full story here.
Automated Email Campaign Tip #4 – Reuse and Recycle!
Re-purpose messaging and design templates for recruitment campaigns, regular renewal outreach, and member engagement based on your established personas.
5. SNMMI Rekindled and Sparked Recruitment Among Lapsed Member Base
With nuclear medicine and molecular imaging rapidly expanding, it’s critical that The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging’s (SNMMI)’s 17,000 members stay informed about the new therapies, devices, and drugs that are redefining the way patient care is managed.
However, when surveyed, members revealed that the most significant professional challenges they face are keeping up to date with trends and expanding their level of expertise.
In the past, SNMMI was sending generic “we miss you” messages to members hoping they would renew, with minimal strategy behind their marketing actions. Like many associations, they were hesitant to utilize the marketing tools that were available but unfamiliar to them, for fear of making a mistake that would negatively impact the member experience. SNMMI invested in strategic services for marketing automation with Higher Logic to develop a lapsed member campaign.
Our staff trained SNMMI to strategically use tools like member personas, sample messaging, compound targeting, marketing automation, and data tracking to communicate with lapsed members.
Each campaign focused on three distinct messages over several weeks.
SNMMI developed four unique automated workflows that led to 237 total renewals from the lapsed member list. They can attribute 150 of these renewals directly back to the campaign, and 87 reinstatements were indirectly impacted by the campaign.
As for revenue, SNMMI achieved $28,206 total reinstatement revenue in only 60 days. They ran campaigns with technologists, physicians, and other member categories, seeing great results from each.
“From the technologist campaign alone, we more than made up our services expenses. Aside from learning new tools and tracking hacks (valuable from a staff standpoint), we also saw an obvious return on investment with the reinstatement revenue totaling $28,206.”
– Kaitlin Solomon, Senior Manager of Member Engagement, SNMMI
Check out SNMMI’s full story here.
Automated Email Campaign Tip #5 – A/B Test and Refine
A/B testing different elements within your mailings will help identify ways to improve engagement. Testing can give you valuable data and help improve conversion rates. The way you structure your content and what you choose to include or exclude both have strong impact on whether someone clicks a link or unsubscribes. Run tests regularly to make sure messages resonate with your audience. But don’t test too much at once or test the same thing too often, or your data will be skewed.
Are you ready to launch your own successful email campaign?
As you can see, the value of an email campaign extends far beyond getting opens and clicks. It’s even more valuable than a new member signing up or an old member renewing. It also reduces the hidden costs of lacking strategy or time-intensive, manual processes.
Imagine not only reaching the right member segments with the right messages, but also having hours, days – weeks, even – back in your schedule to focus on supporting your members and delivering value.
Grow without burdening your team, scale your efforts, and expand your capabilities. Wherever you are in your journey, we can help.
If you’re thinking about how you can eliminate repetitive, mundane tasks and create a truly personalized member experience with marketing automation, let’s talk.
If you’re a Higher Logic customer and want to learn more about Advanced Starter Kits, contact your Customer Success Manager today, and be sure to visit HUG, the Higher Logic User Group Community, for ideas and inspiration from your peers.
Beth’s marketing experience encompasses more than twenty-five years of marketing strategy and member/customer engagement in various industries, including puzzles and games, training, education and aviation.
In addition to marketing, Beth has worked in event management and web development, wearing a variety of hats in different positions. She has also been an adjunct professor of marketing at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.
Beth received a Bachelor of Science degree in Merchandising from James Madison University, a Certificate in Event Management from The George Washington University, and a Masters of Business Administration/Marketing from the University of Phoenix. She has earned numerous awards for her marketing, including two Top Digital Marketer of the Year awards.
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