Membership Hack: Ask a Question by Email

A monthly email that asks a single question about membership can boost engagement and give a glimpse at long-term member trends.

How to hack it? Many associations continuously fine-tune their email messages to members, too often throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. But Scott Douglas, senior director of membership and business development at the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), has found that simplicity has a surprising power to engage.

In regular check-in email blasts, “we ask just one question about things like [the member’s] favorite member benefit, professional aspirations, and suggestions for how we can improve.”

Why does it work? NSCA keeps the timing of these check-ins slow and steady, once per month. It matches the association’s philosophy of giving members easy and accessible ways to engage. “Our members are very mobile, and the one-question approach is fast for them to accomplish in the midst of their busy days,” Douglas says. So far, click rates are about four times higher than previous campaigns.

What’s the bonus? The answers also supply evidence of longer-term membership trends at NSCA. “I think it’s a success that we are gaining knowledge about our members’ interests, demographics, and preferences in a way that builds over time,” Douglas says. “I like the fact I can go to a dashboard that gets updated and refined with new information every time a new member goes through the campaign.”

(Molnia/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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