Membership

Thursday Buzz: Make Your Newsletters More Relevant

By / Apr 2, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

The audience is king when it comes to your newsletters. Are you taking that to heart? Also: the perception gap that can cause serious customer service headaches for associations.

“It may sound obvious, but having a thorough understanding of what your members/readers want helps enormously when creating content for your newsletter.”

That’s according to Farhad Chikhliwala of the membership software company WildApricot, who, in a recent blog post, describes what the company learned in one-on-one interviews with members of its Membership Advisory Group about effective newsletter strategies.

The people WildApricot talked to say that understanding your members’ needs remains key—as do the basics, like knowing what type of content matters to them and how the timing of newsletter delivery affects its success.

Also, he offers this advice on writing style: “While you need to write tight and concise copy, your readers are subscribing to, and hopefully reading, this newsletter for a reason, so be sure your organization’s unique culture or voice isn’t sacrificed through attempts to sound professional,” Chikhliwala writes.

What do you consider most important about newsletter strategy?

Differences in Perception

How organizations view membership is a lot different from how individuals view membership—and if you’re not careful, it can damage that relationship over time.

Over at her Smooth the Path blog, Amanda Kaiser highlights the problem in terms of the airline industry, which has a very methodical way of getting people on and off planes—treating it as an assembly-line-style task. On the other hand, people see trips as personal experiences, and as a result, this can create great incompatibilities in customer service.

“The same goes for associations,” she continues. “Membership is personal. It is not a subscription. It is not a transaction. It is a relationship. Because of the nature of what associations are and what membership is, great customer service may be the only option for all associations of the future, no matter their size. Easier said than done?”

Think there’s room to somehow bring the two closer together? (ht @SmoothThePath)

Other Links of Note

It’s not a direct response to Periscope or Meerkat, but Facebook’s new app Riff—which you can think of as a version of Vine designed for direct responses—shows that the company’s still got some big ideas on the video front.

Here’s the problem with Google: All those searches may be making you feel smarter than you actually are. That’s the take from a new study published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Worry a lot at the office? It’s OK! According to The Wall Street Journal, worrying a lot can actually be a positive thing in a work environment.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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