The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) wanted a better way to increase membership sign-ups and renewals. Like other associations, it had to reach segments of its audience with different messages, which often required manual tasks and was hard to track successfully.
NASN wanted to approach nonmembers and members differently; among nonmembers, it wanted to differentiate between those with a previous membership history and those who were brand new, a level of segmentation made easier with automation.
“Before this we were doing it all manually. Someone was querying the members and pushing out the messages, so this was a big time-saver for us.” - Sharon Conley, Web-Based Technology Director, NASN
NASN’s online community SchoolNurseNet, powered by Higher Logic, gives staff easy access to the member base. The main section of the community is members-only, but it also has a section open to nonmembers, where they can see a limited amount of content and engage in some discussions.
The nonmember portion of the community allows NASN to reach a wider audience of people who could potentially become members, so staff created a series of automated campaigns for both.
We spoke with Sharon to learn more about NASN’s successes using online community and automation rules.
Using automation rules
NASN wanted to put these two halves of the online community to work to reach its goal of increased membership. Staff ran a series of campaigns using automation rules to target these segments with personalized messages.
For nonmembers, NASN focused on a message about joining the association. For members, NASN ran member engagement campaigns to reach disengaged members and encourage lapsed members to rejoin. For both groups, NASN used its online community data to segment and personalize messages about membership to improve results.
Campaign 1: We don't want to lose you.
For the first automation rule, NASN staff established a message that went to any members immediately after they let their dues lapse. NASN saw the highest results for this one-send campaign; it resulted in a 32% conversion rate.
Campaign 2: Looks like you're enjoying our community....
NASN staff set up their second automation rule to go out to anyone who had never been a member but had logged in to SchoolNurseNet in the last six months. Staff reached 3,550 people through this campaign, of whom 276 became members. From one email alone, they achieved a 7.8 percent* conversion rate.
Sharon remarked, “I’m pretty amazed, because these people have never been members before, and the message is basic – the value proposition is simple. It didn't take any time to put together."
Campaign 3: If you like our community, try membership.
The message reached 2,158 recipients, of whom 311 members either joined for the first time or re-joined, leading to a 14 percent* conversion rate on this campaign.
Campaign 4: Calling all school nurses.
Out of 20,604 recipients, 1,371 became association members, achieving a 6.7 percent conversion rate.
Campaign 5: We want you!
For its fifth and final nonmember campaign, NASN operated on a simple premise – people like to be invited. Sharon put it this way: “We found that the reason a lot of people don’t join [the association] is that they simply haven’t been invited to join. So, we decided to send out an email to that group and just say ‘You’ve been invited to join.’”
This automation rule selected online community users who had never joined the association but had logged into the website and completed at least 10 percent of their profile. NASN used profile completion as an indicator that the user was interested in engaging with the site, doing more than the bare minimum of logging in. For this campaign, NASN reached 4,051 people. Of those recipients, 400 became members, achieving a 10 percent* conversion rate.
Pro tip: A conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a desired action, which in this case, refers to how many members joined or renewed as a result of the automation rule. Refer to campaign #4 as an example:
1,371 (new members)/20,604 (recipients) = 6.7% (conversion rate)
Saving time, and increasing membership
Thanks to NASN’s public-private community setup, staff can use automation rules to engage both member and nonmember community users. Before using automation rules in their online community, staff had to manually complete tasks like clearing lapsed members and sending one-off emails. Overall, they found it very hard to keep up. With automation rules, NASN staff can use the data from their online community to efficiently reach users about association membership, and they've seen amazing results.
Sharon said, “That we can get people to convert with the software we have now is really amazing.”
*These campaigns were not mutually exclusive, so these percentages are projections.
There's so much you can do with automation rules, and the key to all of it is engagement. Get a copy of our free eBook that we created with FeverBee, Using Automation to Support Motivation in Online Communities, for more ways to use automation rules.
About NASN: The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) is committed to optimizing student health and learning by advancing the practice of school nursing. NASN has more than 16,000 members and 50 affiliate school nurse organizations.