Why Your Association Needs Automated Drip Campaigns Now More Than Ever

Associations, Communications Strategy, Retention // Showing each member you know them by sending the right information at the right time is key to retention. But how do you do that to scale?

Beth Arritt
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Who hasn’t experienced that feeling of not hearing from someone in a while, only to be contacted when that friend needs a favor? It’s not fun, is it?

It’s not fun when an association does that to its members, either. That’s why it’s critical to stay in touch with your members and make sure they feel valued, and that you are constantly aware of what they want. Otherwise, you may find yourself falling down the ranks until someone just barely recognizes who you are – if at all!

Your association should be in tune with members’ needs and know what they need and when they need it. If you provide the right amount of information at the right time, people will see your organization as a trusted ally. If you ignore members until you want them to do something, you won’t.

This is where drip campaigns come in.

An automated drip campaign uses informed triggers to deploy the right messaging to the right members at a steady cadence. You’re using a marketing automation tool to both understand actions your members have taken and deliver relevant messaging based on those actions and on journeys you know other members have taken.

This is a prime way to deepen your relationship with your members. You are showing them that you’re taking the time to listen and understand what they need – while making it seem effortless from their perspective.

Things Have Changed. NOW is the Time to Stay in Touch.

With the lack of in-person events, digital communication is how you can stay on your members’ radars.

But how do you keep members engaged with your association? Everyone is looking at screens more than ever for both work and leisure/entertainment. They’re on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones, not to mention TVs. Your content not only has to be relevant and engaging, but it also has to be competitive with all the other choices users could be viewing on these screens.

With all these obstacles in your way, you need an edge. That’s where drip marketing automation comes into play – it helps you keep those members engaged with fresh content updates via email as they need it. In addition, data harvested from drip automation campaigns is a goldmine of information. You can watch when emails bounce because a member changed jobs, and keep your database clean and stay alert to which of those jobs stand to be filled with new prospective members.

Why Automate Emails? Can’t It Be Done Manually?

Sure. You can also walk to the store and buy and pay for each of your groceries individually, too. But why would you want to?

Too many associations are trying to keep up with what members want en masse without automation. That just doesn’t scale.

So what are the barriers? Maybe you want to create a drip marketing campaign, but assume that the learning curve is too steep. You will have to learn how to build your automated drip campaigns, and you do have to put in work up front, but once you complete that, the benefits kick in. You’re creating something once, you’re putting it into the marketing automation platform, and from there it continually runs based on the schedule you set up.

Plus, editing assets or repurposing an automated campaign that’s already been set up is infinitely more efficient than starting from scratch every time. Yes, you can keep doing things manually, but automation doesn’t get overwhelmed, it never forgets, and the messaging is correct and consistent because it was all created at the same time.

Where drip campaigns differ from other types of campaigns might be an area you need to think through. You may start to create a campaign only to realize you don’t know how to get the data that triggers the email.

It’s not as easy as a one-and-done email, or even a campaign where a group of people start out at the same time and go through all at once. With drip campaigns, you need to be able to bring in people based on triggers, and to make sure the messaging is evergreen, and you’re not asking about things that are no longer relevant.

After all, you wouldn’t want to ask your friend about her job interview next week only to find out it was a month ago, right?

Work with your email service provider to map these out. For example, we just launched a Build with Us Campaign Workshop for our customers. One day a month, customers can register for these workshops, join us online and build a campaign during a two-hour session. With the right tools and the right support, you’ll be over that learning curve and using drip marketing automation to connect with members faster than you can say, “Siri, call my BFF.”

Drip Campaigns Benefit Both Associations and Members

For associations, a well-executed automated drip campaign will give you consistent touchpoints to members that are relevant. It’s because the communication is based on something the member did. You’ll be moving them down a messaging path that helps accomplish your goal, but because it’s a path you’ve modeled after other members who have done similar things, leading them down the road they started, you’re deepening your worth, trust, and relationship with your member.

For members, they’re getting more value out of their membership. When they hear from you, it’s something they’re interested, in because your system read the digital clues they gave elsewhere. Every email you send says, “We know you, we want to help you, and we value your time.”

That’s what will set your emails apart from and help catch their eye in the sea of content on all their screens.

Beth Arritt

Association Strategist

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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