Beyond Doomscrolling: Engaging Members in an Overloaded Digital World

Beyond Doomscrolling: Engaging Members in an Overloaded Digital World

Summary: Your members are constantly bombarded with emails, videos, and chat feeds, making it challenging for membership marketers to capture their attention in a crowded digital landscape. By incorporating these seven key elements of successful communication, you can break through all the digital noise.

About a 9 minute read

Ever caught yourself doomscrolling through Tik-Tok, YouTube or Facebook?

Most of us have. We’ve thumbed through a continuous feed of videos bursting with conspiracy theories, political intrigue, or shocking news, one after the other. This mindless trap of non-stop digital content seems to feed on some unmet desire to find something sensational, interesting, or intriguing.

And so, our thumbs keep scrolling. Like gamblers continuously feeding coins into a slot machine, we’re willing to trade our eyeballs as payment for a brief moment of excitement or entertainment.

On average we spend 6 hours and 37 minutes online each day, yet we often end up distracted with little to show for it. This obsession with our devices has led to digital overload. And it’s taking a toll on our mental health. Not to mention our capacity to engage with others, simply because we’re unable to process everything that gets sent our way.

Digital platforms have cracked the code on our desires for excitement, humor, or validation, making it challenging to break free from the endless digital noise.

AdobeStock_513615559 - attention please LOWAs marketers, we compete for the attention of our constituents, going up against giants like Google, Facebook, and TikTok. This relentless content stream is overwhelming our cognitive bandwidth and distracting us from what truly matters.

For membership marketers, digital overload is the challenge of our day.

The problem isn’t going away anytime soon, which is why membership organizations must reevaluate and update their communication strategies to cut through all the clutter.

Updating your communication strategy

The fact is, traditional outreach methods—one-off e-newsletters, long-form email updates, and inward focused social media posts—have gone the way of the landline. These types of messages are getting lost in a sea of digital content, reducing your visibility and stifling member engagement.

Your members now expect concise, memorable interactions that add real value. They want personalized and relevant communications that stand out amidst the constant digital clutter. While your members are rooting for you, their patience can run thin if you're not communicating your organization’s value.

But that can be a tall order, especially for a membership group with limited bandwidth and an even more limited budget.

As we look to refine our marketing efforts, a crucial aspect of contemporary digital communication is to deliver on the following seven key elements—relevant value, automated targeting, personalization, consistency, intimacy, clarity, and integrity in messaging.

These elements form the foundation of a robust strategy that cuts through digital clutter and fosters meaningful, long-lasting relationships with your audience:

The 7 Key Elements of Successful Member Communication

  1. Relevant value: Messages that deliver relevant value are the cornerstone of any successful communication strategy. It involves helping your members address their specific needs, issues and pain points. It means dialing in on how you convey the overall value of being associated with your organization.

    How do you deliver value?

    AdobeStock_102944693- valueadded knob LOWBy delivering powerful members-only benefits that will make them want to shout from the rooftops that they love your organization. It’s not just “ticking the box” that you have some networking and career opportunities, or a few training and mentoring programs, or a handful of local discounts. It’s about knowing the types of benefits that are going to have the greatest appeal, then building out your suite of memorable and practical member benefits so they appeal to the most members.

    Providing relevant, value-added benefits will not only help drive your acquisition and retention rates, but it gives your organization an ongoing reason to communicate with your members. It will help you stay top of mind with them. Yes, it’s not always easy to deliver relevant value. It’s probably the biggest challenge facing all membership organizations and marketers. But the payoff can be a game changer. This study by McKinsey found that relevant messages can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend.

  2. Automated Targeting: For most sophisticated organizations, they’re using a marketing automation platform like Hubspot, Campaigner, or Pardot to segment their audience into highly targeted lists. These platforms allow you to easily segment your data so you can reach the right audience, with the right message, at the right time.
    Some platforms will score members according to the engagement events you select, allowing you to automatically create specific segments based on factors such as demographics, behavior, and past interactions.

    For marketers, it’s often tempting to create the biggest list of not-always-ideal contacts, in order to promote an important benefit or activity. Marketing automation platforms make it easy to limit your segments to only the most relevant members, helping you to slice and dice your data in myriad ways. 

    Frankly, marketing automation is a minimum standard for communicating in the digital era and should be integral to any digital marketing strategy. It’s the only practical way to effectively target your audiences. 

    So what’s the payoff for investing in automated targeting? This report shows that marketers who use targeted, segmented campaigns generate as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

  3. Personalization: Your members are far more likely to pay attention to your messages if you mention their name. Whether it’s their first, last or nickname, their address, title, or other specific information; using personalization can boost click rates by an average of 41%.  

    Using dynamic content also allow you to set conditions on which recipients will see specific content. So, for example, you can say you only want recipients living in a certain Zip Code to get a specific message, while all the others will see an alternative message. Dynamic content doesn’t mean every message is unique for every recipient, just some specific aspects are unique based on the recipient’s preferences or demographics. 

    While a marketing automation platform can make personalization a cinch, you can also use lower-cost platforms like Mailchimp, Constant Contact or SendGrid to help you personalize each email you send. When you personalize, you can boost overall engagement by as much as 80%. You’ll not just make your audience feel more valued and understood, but your marketing will be more effective, enhancing engagement and loyalty to your organization.

  4. Consistency: Predictable and regularly delivered communications are necessary to keep your organization top of mind with your audience. Again, utilizing a marketing automation platform can streamline this process, allowing you to schedule email sends, blog posts, and social media updates. Automated workflows can also react and respond to member events in a predictable routine. 

    The key is creating consistent, relevant content. If you're wondering how to generate enough content for regular communications, try outsourcing through platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. Outsourcing can be a cost-effective way to generate more member-facing content. It all contributes to building familiarity and trust, ensuring that your audience remains engaged and informed about your latest offerings and updates.

  5. Intimacy: Inviting and maintaining a close, personal connection with your members is crucial for building long-term relationships. Whether it’s using email or social media, when you invite personal interactions with your members, you’re elevating your connection to a newer, higher, and more intimate level. You’ll not only invite members to take greater ownership of your organization, but you can enhance their connection and passion for your overall mission. 

    But with intimacy comes added responsibilities. If you don’t match their level of commitment to the relationship, you’ll create a disaffected member that can wreak havoc, like the jilted ex who makes it their life’s mission to tell the world about how they were betrayed. Such intimate loyalty requires a higher level of responsiveness, so make sure you’re Johnny-on-the-spot to respond to each and every message or inquiry. This instantaneous feedback will communicate a more personal relationship, and the cumulative effect can boost overall engagement. 

    This study by Gallup found that people who feel emotionally connected to an organization or brand will spend up to twice as much and have a 306% higher lifetime value.

  6. Clarity: Craft your messages to be simple, clear, and concise, and avoid jargon and unnecessary complexity. This is often easier said than done, as it often requires extra effort to vet each bit of content to make sure you’ve smoothed out all the rough edges. 

    Organizations with a diverse membership must expect that some members will not trust you, and will read between the lines of your communications. Others may simply misinterpret your message altogether simply because they haven’t gained a level of trust yet.AdobeStock_553216259 - clarity LOW That’s why delivering clear and concise messaging is worth the effort. According to a report by Nielsen Norman Group, users typically abandon an organization’s digital communication within 10 seconds if the content does not clearly communicate its value. Clarity and conciseness may be more of an art than a science, but once you’ve dialed in on the clarity of your message, you’ll promote greater comprehension and retention.

  7. Integrity: Maintaining integrity in your member-facing communications goes beyond echoing popular opinions or values. It's about staying true to your roots and ensuring your actions align with your words. Organizations that uphold this level of trustworthiness can create 5 times more value than their peer organizations.

    However, nothing erodes trust quicker than soliciting feedback from members on critical issues and then disregarding it because it doesn't meet your expectations. An inconsistent brand voice can also sow seeds of mistrust - when members perceive your benefits are lackluster, but your marketing paints a far rosier picture. These misalignments can seriously damage member trust. 

    According to Edelman's Trust Barometer, a whopping 81% of individuals consider any breach of trust with a brand as a deal-breaker, prompting them to sever ties. The repercussions of a lack of integrity can be severe, as members are keen observers and not shy to broadcast any discrepancies on social media. This underscores the importance of authenticity, trust, and honesty in fostering meaningful and enduring relationships with your members.

The last word

Each of these elements plays a unique role in ensuring that your messages not only reach your audience but also resonate deeply and foster lasting connections.

woman freed of digital chaosMastering these elements is essential for any organization who truly wants to engage and retain their audience in this era of digital chaos. By implementing these seven key elements of successful communication into your digital strategy, you'll cultivate a more robust, trust-based relationship with your members, and you’ll be far ahead of most member-based organizations.

However, if you want to take your communication strategy to the next level, then consider how launching an Access, private labeled discount platform can deliver on ALL these elements of a successful digital engagement strategy.

We can show you how our cost-effective member benefits platform can deliver greater member engagement. We can also show you how to effectively attract, engage and retain your audience by helping your organization solve the universal consumer problem…how to spend less on everyday purchases.

Plus, we can show you how we help organizations expand their reach without our program being a burden on their bandwidth. Click here to see our case studies of how we’ve helped other organizations succeed. You can also book a no-pressure, no-hype demo of our platform by connecting with us here.

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Topics: Member Benefits, Retention, Access Development, incentives, value enhancement, discount program, member acquisition, member engagement, association marketing, value proposition, Member Success, member incentives, member engagement strategies, white label, private label, turnkey, white label travel platforms, white label travel solutions, value added member benefits, member engagement ideas

Beyond Doomscrolling: Engaging Members in an Overloaded Digital World

Written by: Gary Toyn

For 25+ years Gary Toyn has helped organizations large and small improve their constituent/member acquisition, retention and engagement. He's a multi-published author, writer, and researcher.

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