One of the content marketing items I typically recommend to association clients is the creation of a mid-year message from leadership. Similar to the traditional, end of year “thanks for being a member” message that many associations send out, a mid-year communication has a greater chance of being seen and read by your members. This article shares why and how this can be one of the best member touchpoints to keep in your marketing arsenal.
A mid-year message – what is it and why is it important?
A mid-year message is a communication sent out to members in June or July, that serves as a check-in with members. By sending out a mid-year message, organizations can re-engage members who may have become disengaged. It also provides an opportunity to update members on any new initiatives or events that may have been added since the beginning of the year. It can also serve to remind members about membership benefits, the annual conference planning and encouraging them to get more involved.
Additionally, this is a chance for your executive director (or president or chair) to reinforce the organization’s values and mission, and speak personally about their commitment to member engagement. As the leader of your organization, the executive director sets the tone for member relations so their messages are read keenly by your members.
Here’s why I think these work well:
- First, they demonstrate that your organization values its members and is committed to keeping them engaged throughout the year. This message indicates your organization is invested in the member’s experience; that they are getting the most value out of their membership.
- Second, by reminding members of their membership benefits and encouraging them to stay engaged, you can reduce the likelihood of members not renewing for another year.
Elements of an effective mid-year message
Here are some key elements to consider when crafting your mid-year message:
- Personalization: Address members by name and personalize the message to help members feel seen and valued.
- Clear messaging: Make sure copy is clear. Avoid jargon or complex terms.
- Highlight value: Remind members of benefits. Highlight any new initiatives or opportunities that may have been added since the year began.
- Call to action: Encourage members to get more involved by attending upcoming events, participating in initiatives or working groups. You may want to promote article and blog post submissions too.
- Visuals: Incorporate visuals and graphics to make the message more engaging and visually appealing.
Sample mid-year flow
Depending on the length and how much of your content feels like it’s only for members, many organizations will distribute their “A Mid-Year Update from the Chair” as a blog post and email. Alongside your standard branding, here is an example of elements to include in the body copy of the “letter.”
|Personalized welcome | Hello Eric! and by default “Dear Members”
|Opening | I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your continued involvement in our organization. As we reach the halfway point of the year, I am reminded of the incredible impact that our members have on our community. Already this year, our organization has/our members have [provide 3-4 bullets of key highlights form first 6 months to show progress].
From volunteering to attending events, our members are what make our organization so special.
|Resources | From networking opportunities to professional development resources, we are committed to providing you with the support you need to succeed in your career. followed by 3-4 bullets of resources you provide along with link to each.
|Upcoming Events | In the coming months, we have a number of exciting events and initiatives planned, and we would love to see you there. followed by 3-4 bullets of upcoming items in brief and a button that links to your complete calendar.
|Stay Connected | Be sure to include ways to get in touch with the Director and staff. Email, phone and what social platform to follow the organization on. This may work better after the Closing.
|Closing | Thank you for your commitment to our organization and our community. Sincerely, [Director/Chair/President]
For measuring the impact on membership engagement, there are a number of metrics to track, including:
- Open rates: How many members opened the message? You should find this is one of your higher rates.
- Click-through rates: How many members clicked on links or calls to action in the message? You may want to utilize UTM codes in particular for this campaign.
- Attendance rates: How many members attended upcoming events or initiatives mentioned in the message? Most helpful to see if the next webinar gets higher registration because it was mentioned here.
- Renewal rates: Did the mid-year message have an impact on early membership renewals?
These numbers can also help you refine some of your end-of-year messaging.
Conclusion and next steps
As a member-based organization, keeping your members engaged and involved is crucial to your success. But with so much going on and so many different channels of communication, it’s easy for members to feel disconnected. A mid-year message from leadership can be a powerful tool for maximizing membership engagement, encouraging members to stay involved.