The six surprising facts that will make you rethink your membership communications

The results of our 2018 research survey looking at trends in consumer membership publishing are in – and they’re really rather interesting. Here are the highlights…

  • A printed magazine is still the most valued member benefit: You’d think in 2017, there would be a new digital channel topping the communications channel chart, but no. Your magazine has significant perceived value with members, supporting retention while also motivating members to use the benefits attached to their annual fee. Members set aside time for print and they don’t, it seems, for magazine microsites, digital editions and apps.
  • Members are still setting aside time for your magazine.
  • Lack of resources mean organisations aren’t making the most of social media.
  • 87% of organisations are producing video content currently, but only 3% is directed at members
  • 59% of organisations do not create digital content in tandem with magazine content: Having to deal with an increasing number of channels can squeeze resources and budgets. Opt for a 360-degree approach to content commissioning, where you start with the idea first and commission for all channels simultaneously, and you’ll get more by effectively doing less.
  • Think engagement, think Facebook (and not Pinterest): Print may grab people’s attention and be a tangible member benefit, but Facebook, the often-controversial social channel, is more effective at getting the conversation going with members. But, remember, not all social channels were created equal. Choose carefully and ask yourself ‘why?’ before creating an account (let’s not even start on Periscope). Your members may be using a particular channel, but that doesn’t mean they expect to find you there.
  • You’re engaging on social, but 68% of organisations still aren’t making the most of it: More channels means more work (populating, promoting, monitoring and measuring) and it seems that a lack of resource (56%), strategy (19%) and skills (13%) are making it harder to make social sharing count.
  • Video content is a top priority for 2017 – but not just for members: Organisations are planning to create more video content over the next 12 months (with membership websites, e-newsletters and Facebook high on the agenda), but of the 87% of organisations producing video content currently, only 3% of that content is solely directed at members. Is it time to open up all your content to help with acquisition and retention
  • E-newsletters are popular, but it’s time to get personal: You’re pretty much all using them and open rates are high (96% citing rates above 21%), but with trends hard to spot and email overload and segmentation a constant challenge, there is a still a lot to do to make sure your email blasts end up in the right inbox. Whatever you do, just don’t send one on a Monday!
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