Know Your Members
If you want to personalize your Internet communications, you need to know facts about your members. Not just their names and ID’s but details about their preferences. You probably already have a significant amount of information, but it may be scattered through your accounting systems, your marketing files and in other places where it can’t be easily used. Fortunately your Clubessential website uses a full marketing database for its roster, so you have a centralized place to gather all the important information. Clubessential also has programs that will pull information from accounting systems (15 different kinds) and other kinds of systems (we create custom interfaces frequently). Other items may not be available anywhere else, but you can create special additional fields within the marketing database. Once all this information is gathered centrally, you can begin personalizing your communications.
Personalizing By Groups
Sometimes you need to target your communications to a certain subgroup within the membership. If the subgroup is something like the board of directors, a simple manually selected list will work. But suppose you need to communicate to anyone who has played in one of your tournaments recently? It is not a good idea to keep this group identified manually because it will always be out of date, and will consume so much administration time that you will probably throw your hands up and just forego the communication. Instead what you need is a “Dynamic Group” – one that is calculated based on rules that examine the facts in your marketing database.
Once you know which groups you want to target, you can restrict access to certain pages of your website to certain groups. If you have a wine club, for example, you can have some pages that deal with the wine club that are not visible to other club members. Or perhaps you have some members who have volunteered to help with a tournament – they could have special access to volunteer information that you would not show to the general membership.
Of course your emails can be targeted to certain groups, too, but even more interesting is individualized personal content in emails. Clubessential’s “Snippet” system allows you to embed personal information about a member in emails sent to them. The personal information comes out of the Clubessential marketing database/roster and so can including accounting information, marketing information or any other kinds of facts you collect. Some examples:
From your accounting system, you automatically capture the “60 days overdue balance” into the Clubessential marketing database. Then you use Clubessential’s recurring email feature to set up an email (based on a nice template pulled from all the stock templates) to be sent once per month to a group defined as those with a 60 days overdue balance greater than zero. In the body of the email you include the amount overdue and the member’s name. The result: each month a beautifully formatted graphical email will be mailed only to those with 60 day balances, personalized with their name and the amount due. Once done the first time, this will run automatically every month.
Here’s another example: suppose you have a signature event and want to send a nice reminder to the registrants to encourage them to come. You could create a reminder email (during your planning six months ahead of time) that includes the name of the person and the table number they will be seated at. The graphical email, which could include the branding graphic you have created to brand the event, will go out automatically to the right group of people, and will include the personalized data about their names and table numbers.
Personalized Website Content
In an example above, certain website pages were only visible to certain groups, such as the wine club members. An even more advanced personalization would be to make each page display different content depending on which member is viewing it. Suppose your wine club members wanted to know the inventory in their wine locker? You could have a staff person count their inventory once a month and post the totals in the marketing database/roster. On the wine locker page you would then use “Snippets” to post the personal inventory accounts for each wine member. It would make a nice impression on a member to be recognized as having wine club privileges and also to see the contents of their own personal wine locker. This same approach can be applied to other kinds of personal member information.
“Personalization” used to mean that when a member signed into the website, they would be greeted by “Welcome Mr. Jones.” It was cute the first time someone saw it, but now members are more experienced with personalization and expect more. You can deliver what they want with a marketing database/roster, dynamic grouping (based on rules), selective webpage displays, targeted emails, and “snippets” that deliver any kind of personal data to a webpage or an email.
Clubs taking advantage of personalization have more active websites with more traffic. Their members become more informed about club activities and services and more engaged with the club overall. This improves event attendance, food and beverage revenues and member retention.