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« Back Post Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Ten Ways To Engage Your Membership With Email - Part 4
Make members come alive.


Ten Ways To Engage Your Membership With Email - Part 4

By Dr. William D. Ivers, CEO, Clubessential

Here’s why a General Manager should focus some attention on email:

  • Well targeted email can increase member participation at every event. How often have you experienced a sell-out? Use email well, and you will experience more.

  • Email can build the bonds of community between members, making the club a more important and more permanent part of their lives.

  • Email can personalize members’ relationships with the GM, the Chef and other key staff. Wouldn't’t it be nice to walk into a crowded dining room to be greeted with smiling recognition at every table?

  • Email can tempt passive members into trying club services they never use. Engaging such members is the secret to a vibrant club atmosphere.

  • Yet email is so cheap it hardly appears in the budget.

This article is one of ten that will be sent, one per week, for ten weeks.
Previous Installments:

1. Capture Your Membership’s Email Addresses

2. Be Consistent

3. Make Staff Come Alive

Next Week's Installment:

Make Events Come Alive

Step 4 of 10 to engage your membership with email

Make Members Come Alive:

Last week we discussed ways to introduce members to the staff with personal stories and pictures, as a sort of relationship “jump start” so that when members meet staff at the club, there is recognition and a conversation can get started. This week we will discuss how to get the members to talk among themselves.

Your emailing can personalize your members as well as the staff. Suppose young Cathy Jones is just graduating from Loyola Law School – why not email a story about it along with a picture not only of Cathy but of Mr. and Mrs. Jones and perhaps a short biography? You could do a “member spotlight” mailing every Tuesday at 10:00 am, with stories about one or more members. Of course, you will need permission before sending such emails, because some members will decline, but most members wish they knew more of their fellow members and will welcome the chance to introduce themselves. The discipline of gathering information for each Tuesday will also force you to learn more about your members, something you no doubt have been meaning to do anyway.

Every event is an opportunity to highlight another member with a picture or two. The winner of a golf tournament. The lady who shot the hole in one. The bridge tournament winner. Just members having fun with their families on Easter weekend.

As an example of how this can work, think about a club with a swimming pool and a swimming team. Think of all the hours the parents spend bringing the kids back and forth. And all the time they spend at various pools watching the swim meets. Sometimes the parents connect with other members, perhaps by working together at the scoring table, but more often, they sit with the same old group of people they knew the prior year. All these hours are golden opportunities for the club management to stimulate networking among the membership so that new friendships are formed. A strong “Swim Team Email Plan” can turn each swim meet into a hyper-networking event. For example, pictures can be taken of the swimmers and then each week a swim results mailing, which includes not only the swimmers but the parents with some information about them, can be target-mailed just to the members active in the swim team. At the next swim meet, parents will recognize other members they never knew before, and the conversations and friendships will begin.

This approach can, of course, be used for any kind of activity at the club, from golfing to bridge to tennis to wine tasting. If the General Manager asks that each event or activity have an associated email plan, a mere hour will result in a huge increase in member familiarity.

Today in an average club I’d guess the typical member knows no more than 15% of the other members beyond possibly recognizing their faces in passing. Ever watch a member peer into the grill room trying to find a friend? All too often, they scan everyone there and find no one they know. The club’s biggest asset is the membership – most have interesting lives and do important things in their communities. Every General Manager knows the club should make every effort to introduce the members to each other. Personalized emails are one way, an easy and inexpensive way, to make progress.

This week we focused on stimulating networking and friendships among the membership by introducing individual members by way of emails. Next week with installment 5, we will discuss using emails to turn events into traditions in “Make Events Come Alive.”

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