Email Usage Up, but Effectiveness Rated Lower for Membership Recruitment

One of the benefits of publishing research is that people read it and provide feedback. Your ideas plus my ideas equals better insight.

One of my colleagues just pointed out to me that there is some important data in our Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report on how associations are using email and how effective it is for them.

When we look at several key membership marketing functions, our statistics show that email usage has grown from 2009 to 2010. The following chart shows the percentage of associations using email for building awareness with prospective members, getting new members engaged with the organization, and renewing members all increased.

Interestingly, when asked to rate the effectiveness of using email to recruit new members, those who said that email was the “most” effective channel, dropped from 24 percent in 2009 to 10 percent in 2010.

Bottom line, associations are using email more, but there may be a drop off in productivity.

What is your organizations experience?

9 comments:

Print Grows Trees said...

Internet software firm McAfee reports that 62 Trillion (yes with a T) spam e-mails are sent annually. Beyond the obvious energy waste for data centers and computers to catch it all, deliverability rates for legitimate messages feel the impact as well. Paper based messages continue to provide superior and measurable returns for associations and businesses of all types. Studies conducted by Forrester Research, shows that consumers value personalized marketing on their bills and statement online, but even more so on paper.

Tony Rossell said...

Thanks for the comment and data. Our Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report highlighted the power of direct mail. Only 10 percent of respondents said that email was the most effective channel in recruiting new members. However, 27 percent said direct mail was the most effective channel. It tied for first place with Word of Mouth recommendations for most effective in recruiting new members and came in first place for associations that have 5,000 or more members. Tony

David Gammel said...

Are they getting permission to send messages to their best prospective members? If not, using e-mail marketing for new members is like fishing in a lake where you've already caught and released all the fish.

Scott Oser said...

the fact that email is not working for recruitment is not surprising to me at all. I have tried renting lists, collecting emails from inquiries and more and have rarely had any success getting it to pay off. I do find it surprising that such a large percentage of people found email to be their most successful source in 2009. Those folks must have some targeted lists, some great offer or an amazing knack for writing email because I just do not see email being that effective for cold recruitment.
One place where I think email could be very effective in recruitment is either before, after, or even before and after a direct mail piece. For prospects I tend to see email as a way of getting noticed and educating, not necesarily as a way to get someone to join.

Scott

Tony Rossell said...

David -- Good point. For those survey respondents who reported that email was their most effective recruitment channel, I am assuming that they were reaching out to opt-in names. However, we did not ask about the source of names in our survey. Tony

Tony Rossell said...

Scott -- I was also surprised by the number of people who said that email was the "most effective" channel last year. My experience is that if done in conjuction with mail, email can boost overall response rates for recruitment efforts. The key to email success in membership recruitment seems to be integrating it with other channels. Tony

paul smith said...

For those survey respondents who reported that email was their most effective recruitment channel, I am assuming that they were reaching out to opt-in names. However, we did not ask about the source of names in our survey.

paul smith said...

For those survey respondents who reported that email was their most effective recruitment channel, I am assuming that they were reaching out to opt-in names. However, we did not ask about the source of names in our survey.

Tony Rossell said...

Hi Paul -- Good question. No we did not ask for the source of the email records in our survey. I think that it is fair to conclude that associatons are can spam compliant. Tony