For association memberships clear and timely communication is critical to driving membership. Direct mailers are one of the most effective ways to reach this audience. With association membership marketing, your list of targets is qualified. Members have opted in and are generally looking forward to receiving mail. Direct mail costs and the cost of postage are minimal compared to the results. With some of the highest response rates in the industry, clocked by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) at around nine percent, direct mail cuts through inbox clutter to engage active, lapsed or disengaged, and prospective members alike. 

Make Your Mailers Work For You

With the rising cost of postage and fluctuating direct mail costs, here are direct mail strategies that optimize your budget and move your association membership to action.   

Create a Compelling Design

Marketing must be interesting to attract attention. We absorb nearly 99 ads a day. To break through the noise, you must produce a piece that is well-designed, displays on-target imagery, includes a well-written targeted message, and ends with a persuasive call to action. It should include social media handles and the association's website. Choose good quality paper and ink to reflect your branding, and consider a different type of fold or layout to pique interest. Good marketing practices generate good response rates.

Related: How to Design for Direct Mail Print Pieces.

Personalize the Piece

You’ll likely have audience segments that require different messaging. Some need a nudge or reminder. Some missed out this year, but would like to stay involved. Some are prospects and are actively considering joining your association. A direct mail piece can be personalized to remind, educate, or compel them all to action, depending upon what they need at that moment.

Using variable data printing (VDP), you can target direct mail towards each segment with their name, local association information, and more. This minimally affects direct mail cost (and does not affect cost of postage), and different segments can receive copy and imagery that resonates with them. Personalization works wonders. Fifty-one percent of people open and read a direct mail piece with their name on it, and 59% will if there’s an image of an item they recently purchased or viewed online.

Related: How to Get Extremely Targeted with Your Direct Mail Campaign.

Combine with Online

Integrating direct mail with online landing pages definitely compounds your efforts. Bolstered by strategic follow-ups, form fills, emails and other online channels, direct mail serves as a valuable tool for promoting events, renewals, and important association membership information. 

The call-to-action can be a QR code leading to a personalized URL (PURL) where you provide further information, signup fields, or a contact us link. You can also direct people to your social media pages for real-time information and engagement, creating bigger buzz for upcoming events or deadlines. This also shows prospects the networking potential of your people. By melding direct mail with online activity, you’ll engage prospects and members at the various points of their decision-making process and help your association stay top-of-mind amidst the noise of everyday messaging. 

Related: Direct Mail Vs. Email Marketing: The Answer Might Surprise You.

Get Direct Results with Direct Mail

Savvy association marketers use direct mail to increase engagement and response across the board, whether members are active, inactive, or just prospects. When these pieces are compelling, personalized, and bolstered by an online campaign, they can  drive membership to new heights. We’ve seen it work. To learn how these strategies can help your association membership grow and thrive, reach out to an Ironmark print expert today. 

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Written by Bill Leishear

Bill Leishear is a Senior Sales Executive for Ironmark.

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