Three tactics using direct mail to drive memberships
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Three tactics using direct mail to drive memberships

March 7, 2017

shutterstock_473219368Museums, associations and service groups have one thing in common: They are struggling to maintain and build memberships. Baby Boomers who made up the majority of their members are aging out of the workforce, and Gen X and Millennial citizens are not seen as “joiners” of these types of groups. They prefer low-commitment, impromptu groups focused on specific tasks, rather than broad-based interest groups.

To stay relevant, these groups have adopted new programs and tactics to reach a younger demographic. The challenge is, these programs may deliver attendance at events, but don’t always translate in to membership, which is the lifeblood of these organizations.

Direct marketing is one way to reach these potential members. Here’s how:

  1. Profile your current members. Do they have common interests? Are they grouped in certain areas or subscribe to specialized magazines? Use that information to create a list of criteria to base a list purchase around.
  2. Start with an engaging introduction. Send a fun postcard with a creative design, inviting potential members to a specific promotion, like a networking event or an opening night. Tie that event into a special deal for membership, listing on the postcard or mailer the benefits of membership. Make sure to make it clear  what the benefits are and how membership will benefit them. Be critical; rather than list all member benefits, just list the top three most applicable to that audience. You can even use digital data to customize those three items, depending on the list criteria, within the same mailing.
  3. Reach out to past attendees and former members. Scour your list of prior events and of lapsed members, and consider a special “get-reacquainted” mailing. Send them a mailer with a list of upcoming events and a special membership appeal to get them to attend. This may also be an opportunity to try some creative applications, like tear-off reminder cards or stickers. This is also an opportunity to use this new creative in comparison to a proven piece in test. Send the new piece to half the list and the other half your normal mail piece, and see which performs better. Changing your direct-mail marketing can be key to re-engaging with prior members, especially those who haven’t been involved in an extended length of time.

When reaching younger demographics, keep in mind Millennials and Gen X like to get direct mail, especially if it’s fun, engaging and relevant. Direct marketing works well in conjunction with electronic and social marketing. The more touches you can have with potential and former members, the better chance you have to convert them back to a engaged members.

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