One of the biggest frustrations I hear from community managers centers around how to communicate with members in an effective way (i.e. the information actually gets read!). I belong to a lot of communities, so I’m on the receiving end of these types of communications every day. My inbox is flooded with it, in fact. To be honest, I delete most of it before I even open it. But what doesn’t get deleted? What really grabs my attention and keeps me coming back? I’d like to share three real-life examples.
ASAE's Associations NOW daily newsletter
Even if I can’t read it in that moment, I mark every single newsletter with a reminder to read it later. And I’m not even an association or a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)! So what keeps this communication at the top of my read list? Three things:
- Ease of consumption. ASAE knows its members are really busy with multiple things vying for their time and attention. To help with that, ASAE gives each day’s newsletter one single theme, such as technology or meetings. Interested in that topic? Open it. Doesn’t apply to what you do? Don’t open it.
- Brevity. I don’t know about you, but I do not have time to read a lot of long articles in one sitting. ASAE knows short, quick reads are the name of the game and keep each newsletter limited to four or five brief articles, with links to more in depth information if I want to dig deeper.
- The Friday summary issue. For all the praises I just gave to the daily newsletter, and even though I mark each issue to read later, sometimes the time gets away from me and it doesn’t happen. Fortunately, each Friday I get a Week in Review issue highlighting the most important articles of that week.
Key Ring's Monthly Loyalty Lowdown
Of course loyalty is something I’m incredibly interested in, and this newsletter fits right in there. But that’s not why I open it as soon as it hits my inbox. Here’s what makes me act like Pavlov’s dog the minute I see it:
- The email subject line. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bargain shopping junkie. I never pay full retail for anything if I can help it. So when an email subject line says “Loyalty Lowdown: March Shopping Hacks and Tips”, I’m all over it. Key Ring knows me well and speaks to that knowledge right from the start.
- The content. Each article in the newsletter feels like it’s curated just for me. How do they know I can’t keep track of important household measurements and I could really use that newfangled bit of the Lowe’s app to do that? Or that recipes to help me stretch my grocery budget to feed my hungry boys would be great? Or that a quick walk through on how to use their app to compare prices while I’m shopping would be really helpful? I don’t know how, but because they do, I’ll keep opening and reading their newsletter every single month.
A speaking industry newsletter
Here’s what’s interesting about this newsletter and why I’m not mentioning it by name: The content doesn't always resonate with me. Sometimes I find something valuable and sometimes I don’t. I’m not familiar with any of the names that regularly appear. But I still look at it every single time. Why? Because it comes in an envelope. With my name addressed by hand. With real stamps on it. In this day and age of flooded email inboxes, traditional mail with a few personal touches always gets my attention.
Put some thought into how you are communicating with your members. What lessons can you take from the above examples to help your members want to read what you send them? Please share in the comments so we can talk about it!