Step 1 of 10 to engage your membership with email
Capture Your Membership’s Email Addresses:
Email won’t be effective unless your members read it. Begin by finding their email addresses. Statistical studies show that more than 80% of club members use email, but I’d guess that most clubs have less than 40% of their members’ current addresses. Normally members’ email addresses are stored in the Web site database. You should be able to get a report from your Web site showing members with no email addresses, or with email addresses that are no longer valid, so you can build a campaign around finding the rest. Do this at least annually, because email addresses change.
Your campaign can start with simple things, such as post cards sent to every member requesting email addresses. After the first wave of postcards, you can stuff your member billing envelopes with postcards, but only for those who do not have a valid email address. The postcard (with pre-paid postage) can say “Although we have email addresses for most club members, our email address for you is either missing or invalid. Please allow us to communicate with you about upcoming events and other news by giving us your current email address. If you do not use email, simply say “no email” and we will make sure paper copies of notices are sent to you.” Members who receive such a postcard will feel as though they have been singled out for special attention (true), and will be more likely to respond.
Currently you probably give your members various opportunities to correct their addresses and telephone numbers – ask for email address corrections at the same time. Also, make sure that all members are aware that they can correct their email address at the club Web site by viewing their personal profile. As your campaign to obtain email addresses comes to an end, take the trouble to make phone calls to the last holdouts – it will be worth it.
There is an old saying that “What gets measured gets done.” The General Manager should know what percentage of members can be reached with email, and should check that number every quarter to make sure the percentage is going up. Once management has shown that this goal is important, little steps will capture more addresses. For example, if a member likes wine, the wine newsletter can be distributed to them electronically (thus requiring an email address). Or a member can be asked if they would like a reminder to come to the golf clinic next Friday – if they answer yes, then they will need to supply their email address. It’s easy to build the database once management makes it a priority.
Next week we will discuss the importance of sending your recurring theme emails (such as the email announcing the weekend specials) consistently at the same time and without fail.