Step 3 of 10 to engage your membership with email
Make Staff Come Alive:
Last week we talked about the importance of consistency in email delivery, especially of recurring theme emails.
One of the most effective General Managers I’ve ever talked to told me he sends an email to all his members every Sunday afternoon at 4:00 sharp. He explained that there are always many things going on at the club that the members would like to hear about – things they would not hear about without the email. He tries to personalize the emails with pictures and stories so the members get to know him as a person; then when they meet at the club, not only will the member recognize the GM, but they will have some things to talk about. The email stories serve as “ice-breakers” to get a relationship started. He smiled when he told me that many members specifically go to their computers Sunday after 4:00 pm just to read what he wrote that week. The consistency of the timing is important because it makes communication with the club habitual – but those personal stories bring warmth to the relationships between members and staff, and cause the club to become even more a part of the fabric of the members’ lives. When people talk about “the club experience” they are not referring to the quality of the greens or the beams in the ceiling of the dining room – they are talking about their circle of friends at the club, including the staff.
Have you ever thought about all the interesting stories that you know about your chef? About how he went to Kuwait to cook for the troops? Or how he burned off his moustache cooking over the roasting fire at Lobsterfest in 2002? Or maybe he likes to offer steamed mussels because he used to cook for the oceanographic institute in Nova Scotia? It doesn’t take many of these stories, delivered in emails, to turn your chef into a celebrity at your club. Then when he appears at dinner, he will be called to table after table. Members will know who he is from his pictures in the emails, and will have something to talk about because of the stories. If he is the typical chef, he can take it from there.
Do you have a wine steward who would like to write a wine newsletter? Convince him it would be better done weekly (at a consistent time and day) in smaller wine briefs. These will hit members more frequently, will be easier to do than a big monthly newsletter, and can be saved in an archive on the Web site. Make sure he adds stories and pictures so everyone gets to know him, especially if he is a character easily remembered. Your wine sales will soar if you can get a group of members to start talking about and sampling various wines. More importantly, your members will enrich their lives because of the relationships they are building at the club.
The secret in each of these cases is personalization. The more your members share in the staff’s personal experiences, the more tied to the “club family” they will become.
Next week we will extend this focus on personalization to the members themselves. The title will be “Make Members Come Alive.” People want to belong to a club where they know everyone, both staff and their fellow members. But with today’s hustling life styles, it is up to club management to seek new ways to bring members into the “club family.” We will show how email can be used to build stronger relationships between members.