Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Invest in Your Future: Segmentation Recommendations

With Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) looming, many organizations are starting to re-focus their efforts on their data, and segmenting it so that communications sent to contacts are what they are looking for. We are bombarded by email messaging, and at times, tune out from what organizations are trying to tell us. What’s sad is that they are likely missing information that they should know, and want to know, all because it has become too much.

Here are a few examples/recommendations of possible segmentation best practices that may help:

  • Communication types: Make a list of all types of information you are putting out there, and then identify if there are certain types of members (based on company type, job functionality, etc) who would most likely be interested in receiving it. 
  • Offer corporate memberships? Do you have the main contact only (i.e. the one who writes the cheque)? Or have you assessed them early and obtained other contact names? Not every contact within the corporation will be interested in the same information; from C-suite contacts, to product designers, they have different goals, and value different information. Identify who should be on your list based on your types of communication, and make an effort to obtain their contact information.
  • Offer industry and supplier memberships? Segment them. Supplier members may not be interested in all aspects of your organization. It’s a best practice to find out why they became a member, and keep them informed with information on what will keep them renewing. 
  • For organizations that offer special programs or information to select portions of your membership, do not send information to your entire database. Those who cannot access it, or will not qualify, will only get frustrated that they are getting excluded.

There are several ways to segment your members. A best practice is not to assume, get them to tell you. Here are a few ways to help gather the information:

  • Send a communication, other than an email, advising that your organization is in the process of segmenting membership in order to provide effective, streamlined communication. In this communication, tell them to expect an email inviting them to provide their preferences.
  • Next step? Send the email. Prepare a landing page with all of their options, and ask them to select the categories that best suit their needs. Make sure that the information transfers easily to your customer relationship management (CRM) system.  
  • Did you not get responses from everyone? Follow up with a phone campaign to get their preferences captured over the phone.

I fully realize that you will not get everyone’s preferences this way, but it’s a start. You can continue this effort throughout the year (at renewal time, while they are in the process of registering for a conference or event, etc). All of this effort should increase member satisfaction, engagement, and email open and click through rates. After all, keeping them happy will give you a better chance of keeping them renewing, right?

This post was provided by Meagan Rockett, who is the Director, Client Solutions with Greenfield Services Inc. and was recently featured in the recent CSAE Ottawa-Gatineau Executive.

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