April 5, 2017
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi was facing a membership engagement challenge. Membership numbers were strong, but engagement and renewals were weaker than they wanted.
To address this, Jamie Chapman, Phi Kappa Phi’s Member Engagement Director, implemented an automated welcome campaign. Automated campaigns are the perfect vehicle for welcoming new members. They also set the tone for ongoing engagement. This campaign achieved record engagement for the Society and lead to an expanded understanding of what resonates with their membership.
I sat down with Jamie to discuss their campaigns in more detail, hear her thoughts on the success they have seen, and see what’s in store for Phi Kappa Phi in 2017.
Chris Scavo, Informz: What were your goals when you started working on automated campaigns for Phi Kappa Phi?
Jamie Chapman, Phi Kappa Phi: I joined Phi Kappa Phi in December of 2014, before we had Informz. As the Member Engagement Director, one of my goals was to update how we reach out to our members. This includes both when they join our organization and when it’s time to renew their membership. Increasing membership renewals is always a focus for us.
We identified lack of benefit awareness as a main reason why members were not renewing. The Society has a rich benefit package available to our members, including an awards program offering over $1.4 million each biennium, over 25 partner discount programs, and several career and internship resources.
I was a Phi Kappa Phi member for several years before joining the staff and never used one benefit offered by the Society, simply because I didn’t know they existed. I wanted to create these campaigns so that every time a member joined or renewed they were immediately contacted by the Society with a “thank you” message that included all of the benefit information in one place. That’s how it came about.
CS: Why was it important for you to set up a welcome campaign?
JC: I was concerned to see that our members weren’t being informed about the benefits available to them immediately after joining. We send a direct mail welcome packet to every new member, but there are rare instances when new members can go weeks without receiving the packet based on internal processes.
Once we started working with Informz, I realized there is so much more we could do to educate our new members about the Society and the benefits available to them.
CS: Tell me about the results you’re already seeing from these campaigns.
JC: Our welcome campaign currently has a 74.5% open rate and a 32% click rate. This campaign also includes a follow-up email directed to anyone that has not participated our new member survey. The follow up email has been very successful, accounting for 87% of our survey clicks.
Our renewal rate over the past quarter has increased by 7.4%, which we are very excited to see as well.
CS: That is incredible. Why do you think you are seeing such a high engagement rate?
JC: Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation only and a select group of students are invited to join. 47% of members who have completed our new member survey say that they were not aware of Phi Kappa Phi before receiving an invitation to join. And, if they were unaware of the Society, chances are they were not aware of the membership benefits.
When members join today, they receive a welcome email within 24 hours listing every benefit available to them.
I think our open rate is so high because members want to see the value in their membership. This is especially true for our members — college juniors and seniors, where money can sometimes be tight for students. They want to see what they get for their money.
CS: I saw that you include personalization in your mailings. Have you seen any lift in engagement because of this?
JC: Oh, absolutely. Our members definitely pay attention to this information. For example, we offer multiple types of membership – 1 year, 2 year, 3 year, even lifetime membership – and if the paid through date in their email is incorrect, they will contact us. This feedback is great because it tells us that members are paying attention to the information in the emails, so it’s a great tool to have.
CS: With such great success from these campaigns, what will you pursue next?
JC: The next step for us is to expand our membership renewal campaign. We contact members 3 months prior to their renewal date and extend the communications 3 months after their membership expires, but each email is sent manually via Informz. Creating a campaign that we only have to trigger one time will significantly cut our workload. After that, I would love to get our direct mail communications tied in with our email list to have it all in one location. That is my dream scenario!
CS: Do you have any tips for other people just starting out with campaigns?
JC: Start small, have fun, and utilize the data at your disposal. Look at your opt-out data and if some emails are seeing more opt-outs, there probably is a reason why. The data is there, so dig in and find out why. Our team is always looking at engagement rates to see what resonates with members the most. It’s really neat to see the data after sending an email. Knowing what members are interested in and being able to provide them with information they find useful is very gratifying for our team. Then it becomes about giving them more of what they want.