Membership Pro Tip: One-Word Change Increases Email Response Rates

Getting members to respond to emails is a perennial challenge. It would be great to just wave a magic wand—and this method comes close. It turns out that swapping one word for another works very well. Here’s how.

Sending out emails is easy, getting a response is the hard part. Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of Avenue M Group, and her team found that changing one word in email outreach yielded impressive results.

How Does It Work?

Associations send out emails for everything from membership renewals, to recruitment, to surveys—often in hopes of getting a response to a call to action. However, because people are inundated with emails, they don’t always respond. Jacobs found that a simple switch up in wording made all the difference. It’s pretty simple, just changing the word “input” to “help” was all it took.

“Anecdotally, we started seeing significant response rate increases to every single email where we used the exact words ‘we need your help,’ [instead of] ‘we need your input,’” Jacobs said.

Why Is It Effective?

Using the word “help” makes people feel needed, like the association would not be able to accomplish its goals without the member’s support. Intuitively, people want to be helpful, whether it’s professionally or personally.

“It’s a more effective way of getting people to pause and be open to hearing what you’re about to say,” Jacobs said. “If they are, you’re halfway to getting them to act the way you want them to act and respond to your call of action.”

What’s the Benefit?

The word change will increase response rates for whatever campaign you are working on. For the individual, being asked for help makes them feel important and like they are part of a community and doing something only they can uniquely do.

“That is why members join associations—to belong to a community and to give back,” she said. “It helps them in achieving why they wanted to be a member.”

Do you have a membership pro tip? Please share in the comments or send me an email.

(Olga Strelnikova/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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