What letters to Santa can teach you about membership communication
It’s that special time of year where children all over the world are putting pen to paper and writing their letters to Santa. They’re hoping they’ve made it onto his good list, but just in case they probably figure a nice, heartfelt letter to the big guy will help to make sure they get what they want this Christmas.
After penning our own letters to Santa this year (you’re never too old to let the big guy know what you’re after!), we realised that there’s a lot these letters have in common with the communication associations send out to their members.
So here’s how you can make sure your membership communication is as effective as a letter to Santa:
Keep it personal
Letters to Santa are always directed to the main man himself. You’d never find one that reads “Dear Valued Present Provider”, so why would you do this to your members? Make sure that all your communication, be it email or letter, always addresses the member by name directly.
Show that you care
Children always make sure that they ask how Santa is doing, and they hope that his elves and reindeer are well and are ready for Christmas. It’s just polite to ask how people are, so make sure you offer your members the same courtesy.
Ask how they are and perhaps offer them something useful – be it a link to some member only research papers, a useful video or some other kind of industry thought leadership that they may find interesting. In the same way that good letters to Santa don’t jump straight into the requests for toys, you should start by offering something of interest to your recipient.
Explain why you’ve been good
This is a key part of a letter to Santa. As we’re all aware, Santa already knows if you’ve been naughty or nice, but it can’t hurt to mention again the good deeds you’ve done this year.
In the same way, it’s important to reinforce the value your members have received over the course of their membership. It’s easy for them to forget events they’ve attended, training they’ve undergone, CPD points they’ve logged and other areas of value they have had over the year. So make sure you emphasise these to help jog their memory.
You should be able to quickly pull together a member value statement from your membership software solution to help you with this.
Make your request
The key part of the letter to Santa is the “this year, please can I have a 3D printer” (is it just us who wants one of these? We’re not sure Santa’s elves have got the hang of making these yet, so we might have to wait until next year!).
Likewise you also need to make sure the goal of your letter is clearly stated. It might be to ask them to renew their membership, recommend you to a colleague or perhaps registering for an event. Whatever you want them to do you need to state it clearly and strongly. You’ve made your case already by demonstrating the value they get from their membership, so go straight in with what action you’d like them to take.
Make your call to action clear, strong and irresistible.
Send it at the right time
Children know that sending out their letters to Santa on Christmas Eve will undoubtedly lead to disappointment. In order to get Santa and his elves at the optimum time, it’s probably best to pop their letters in the post at the beginning of December.
In the same way you need to make sure you know when the optimum time to send communication out to your members is. This may depend on what medium the communication is – letters and emails will have different success rates depending on when you send them. Also think about the purpose of the communication – if you’re sending out renewal reminders then you need to know when the most effective time to do this is – be it six months, three months, or two weeks before (or all of these).
The only way you can know this is by testing, monitoring and logging the results. All good membership software solutions will allow you to do this, and over time you can build up a good picture of when to send out certain communications for maximum results.
So this Christmas, make sure you’re not disappointed by employing these top tips when communicating with your membership base.