4 Tips for your Association’s Data-Driven Marketing Strategy

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Whether your association is looking to raise revenue through an event or increase membership, you need a narrowly-focused marketing campaign that appeals to your target audience and inspires them to take action. 

Using data to inform your marketing strategy has been proven to lead to higher enrollment, greater event turnout, and improved membership retention. According to AccuData’s guide to data marketing, organizations that use data-driven marketing strategies experience five times the return on their initial investment. 

In this guide, we’ll explore four ways that data can power your outreach efforts, so you can effectively promote your association to potential and current members. 

1. Update membership information with a data append. 

The USPS estimates that 25% of all mail has something wrong with the address, whether that be a missing apartment number or an incorrect ZIP code. Such inaccuracies can make your association’s outreach efforts more difficult and cause you to miss out on meaningful support.

If you’re looking to revitalize your membership campaigns, consider investing in a data append service. Appending data is the process of using a third-party source to update existing information and add new information to your association’s records. When done correctly, it ensures that you’re targeting and sending messages to the right people. 

Partnering with a data append provider can provide your organization with updated and accurate:

  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Net worth
  • Employment status

The data that you choose to append should be dependent on your larger marketing goals. Consider what you need to know to produce targeted, relevant, and accurate outreach. For instance, if you’re planning on sending personalized messages to members on their birthdays, you could benefit from a date of birth append. 

2. Segment data for greater personalization. 

Using your clean and up-to-date membership database, segment supporters based on shared characteristics to better understand their preferences and interests. 

Associations often segment members based on:

  • Geographic location
  • Duration of membership
  • Engagement history
  • Demographics
  • Communication preferences

NXUnite’s guide to marketing suggests that supporters are more likely to pay attention and feel appreciated when you speak to them directly, rather than to their organization as a whole. 

With this in mind, use your membership segments to target and personalize your outreach. For instance, if you have a large segment of members who live abroad, you can send them an email that expresses your gratitude for their support, despite the geographic distance, and invites them to explore your virtual involvement opportunities. This small token of personalization helps build rapport and encourage loyalty to your association. 

3. Adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy. 

After segmenting donors into well-defined groups, it’s time to appeal to their interests and solicit their support. An omnichannel marketing approach uses data to

meet members on their preferred platforms and provide a unified experience that drives results. It takes into account which channel each person is using and what their relationship is to your association, such as whether they’re a first-time or lapsed member. 

Here’s an example of how the process could work for your association:

  1. You send a renewal email to an existing supporter whose membership is about to expire, encouraging them to click through to the renewal page on your website. 
  2. The member clicks on the link, fills out the renewal form, and pays their dues. They receive an automated “thank you” message prompting them to explore other involvement opportunities.
  3. The member navigates to the event registration page on your website and begins filling in the form fields. However, they abandon the page before pressing submit.
  4. Using the phone number that they provided on their renewal form, you send an SMS message reminding them to register for your upcoming event.
  5. The member registers for the event and receives another automated “thank you” message from your organization.
  6. Finally, you send a personalized save-the-date card in the mail to keep your association’s event at the top of their mind.

Remember to maintain consistent branding across your print and digital promotions. If your audience can recognize your brand across these different channels, they’ll be more likely to remember, trust, and invest in your association.

4. Collect marketing metrics to measure ROI. 

Once your marketing campaigns are up and running, it’s important to measure their return on investment (ROI) through data analysis. Collecting these marketing metrics can help you make informed decisions about your current and future outreach efforts:

  • Email open rate: Find the percentage of recipients who opened your marketing emails. To ensure your emails don’t fall into the spam or trash folder, write compelling subject lines and keep the frequency of your emails consistent.
  • Social media engagement: Measure how many likes, shares, and comments your posts receive. To boost engagement, tailor your messaging according to each social media platform’s specialty. For instance, Instagram is ideal for images, while Facebook is better suited for long-form written content.
  • Website traffic: Consider how many people visit your association’s website, how they get there, and how long they stay. If you notice a high bounce rate, you may need to update your web design to create a seamless experience for users. 
  • Response rate by source: Divide the number of recipients who responded to your promotional materials on each channel by the total recipients. If your response rate is low, you may need to reconsider who your target audience is and prioritize personalization.

Keep in mind that these metrics only scratch the surface of the data that you can collect from your association’s marketing campaigns. Focus on the information that aligns with your goals and paints a clearer picture of your target audience. 

For instance, if your campaign is centered around recruiting younger members, you should track where this demographic is engaging with your association — whether it be through email newsletters, social media announcements, or online ads — and maximize your efforts on the high-traffic channels.

Data-driven marketing is an ongoing process. For the most effective marketing results, regularly collect, assess, and update information about your members. In the end, you should have optimized campaigns that attract attention to your association and foster long-term partnerships with your members.

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