3 Tips to Improve Member Outreach

A fresh look at your membership database can serve as the key to improved communication and higher member satisfaction.

It’s a conundrum that puzzles many association leaders: Your organization appears to be thriving on the surface, but a closer look reveals that your member and prospect outreach is falling flat. Rethinking your approach to your membership database could be the solution.

Just because you have a lot of data doesn’t mean that it’s all useful, or even necessary. Conducting a thorough assessment of your membership database will help identify the obstacles keeping your association from making connections to current members and prospects. You’ll have a better understanding of what makes your members tick, and can use that knowledge to build stronger relationships.

Practice Good Data Hygiene

There’s a good chance that your association uses email as the primary form of communication with members, which means your email database needs to be in top shape. Emails bouncing back or going straight to spam folders aren’t just a nuisance for your organization — they can even result in lapsed membership.

Review your email stats, marketing lists and contact records. Maybe there’s a reason your emails are getting bounced. The issue could be as simple as a typo in an email address, but you won’t know how severe the problem is until you do some digging.

Be sure to monitor your email open rates and click rates to determine if you should tweak your communications outreach. Some members may just need a nudge, while others can be removed from your email lists completely.

You’ll need to commit to regular upkeep to ensure that your email database is squeaky clean, but the right tools and proper attention make it possible. Maximize opportunities for stronger outreach with easily integrated AMS tools featuring spam checkers and other reports.

Thanks to the insights gained from data analytics tools, associations “are able to effectively reach their members through insights into deliverability issues—including bounced emails,” says Stephen Mangiulli, Protech Associates’ Customer Growth Expert.

Besides enhancing customer service, your association can also benefit from the ability to quickly and easily answer questions about communications performance, he adds.

Track Engagement

There’s no reason to make assumptions about member engagement when your database has the answers you need. Eliminate the guesswork by looking at how members are engaging with your organization, and if they’re getting enough attention.

In addition to tracking communications that resonate well with readers, try gaining insights from how they are reading those communications. If most readers are viewing your emails from their mobile device—focus your efforts on responsive design. If most readers are viewing your emails from their desktop— focus your efforts on desktop design.

The Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) did just that.

“We now know over 85 percent of our membership views emails in a handful of ways and we can optimize our emails for those scenarios, increasing our email marketing success as well as member satisfaction,” said Marisa Kushner, CLARB’s Communications Specialist.

You can also survey your members to determine how they prefer to engage with your association. Learning how often members want to be contacted via email or which social media platforms they use to interact with your association will go a long way toward improved communication.

Personalize Communications

Your association serves a diverse range of members with many different interests and preferences. Shouldn’t your communications strategy reflect that variety? Once you have a solid understanding of your audience, you can personalize your communications through content that resonates with individual members.

Target different segments of your membership base to ensure that the right messages are going to the right people. Start by building marketing lists for different audiences, specifying communications that align with each membership level. Mangiulli suggests “building a marketing list for different personas to help increase engagement and eliminate unsubscribes. For example, student members are probably seeking advice to help them advance in their careers, while more seasoned professionals want to know about leadership and mentoring others.”

Help your members feel valued by sending communications with a personal touch. Email marketing solutions allow you to personalize mass emails so that they don’t sound generic. Customize messages to include members’ names and other information based on their interests. Suggest content, products, events and services that reflect their engagement with your association.

Keeping your membership database tidy, monitoring engagement patterns and adapting

communications to individuals are all simple ways to reach out to your members.

Going the extra mile to make these connections will set your association apart as an

organization that doesn’t take its membership for granted.

But don’t take our word for it. Give these suggestions a whirl and monitor the results for yourself.

-From the experts at Protech Associates.

Protech Associates proudly provides member-based organizations with association management software built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform. Learn more at