6 Ways Associations Use Text Messaging to Engage Members
Keeping association members engaged is tough, and that can lead to retaining them becoming even harder, especially when:
- Emails get ignored or lost in spam
- Direct mail goes in the trash or in a stack with all the other to-be-read letters
- You don't have the manpower or time you need to actively reach out to members
You're looking for a way to boost member engagement, and we’re here to tell you that texting can help you cut through the noise for anything from member dues, to events, to newsletters and inbound inquiries.
Texts have a 99% percent open rate, and 9 in 10 people want to text with associations like yours!
We're going to show you how to use text messaging to easily keep members engaged and in the loop.
Why should your association be texting its members?
Your members live on their mobile devices. That’s why 89% of them want the option to text businesses and nonprofit organizations, like your association.
Texts also have a 40% to 50% click-through rate, which makes them perfect for sending links to members for things like:
- Fundraiser campaigns
- Event registrations
- Volunteer positions
- Payment portals
- And more!
You’ll get responses over text much faster than you would via phone call or email (especially considering only 5% calls are answered, and 15% of emails are opened). And your fundraisers and event campaigns will be more effective, since SMS messages have a 65% conversion rate as a marketing channel.
Below we’ll share six ways (and accompanying text templates) your association can start using text messaging to connect with your members!
1. Let members text you directly for membership and customer service questions.
You’re looking for ways to generate buzz and engage with prospective members.
What if you advertise that members can text you?
Handling membership inquiries via text allows you to respond to more than one member at once. It’s also easy to save pre-made templates to answer common questions and streamline your support.
All you need is a way to advertise that your members have the option to text your association for inquiries and support—which you can do with SMS Chat.
SMS Chat is a widget that goes on your association’s website. Members can use it to text you directly from your site and get a real-time response that goes to their cell phone, where the rest of the conversation lives.
Below are some templates for common questions your association may receive.
Template 1: “Hi [First Name], you can check our Member Health Insurance page to learn more about the benefits we offer: [link]”
Template 2: “Thanks for your interest in [Association]! I'd be happy to chat through details so you can see if we're a good fit. Let me know when you have a moment for a call.”
Template 3: “Hey [First Name], we do have a Community Standards policy, which you can view here: [link]”
SMS Chat is an easy way to handle follow-ups to questions from members, and ensure they get a response from your association ASAP. That’s important for both the retention and acquisition of new members!
2. Keep members in the loop with SMS newsletters.
Members have to know what's going on to be engaged in your association. An SMS newsletter can keep them in the loop by showing them the value you’re providing them.
Your SMS newsletter can showcase everything from:
- New member spotlights
- Event announcements
- Important updates in your industry
- Links to new guides and educational content
Any member who's given you their contact info can be added to your SMS subscriber list, and you can entice new members to opt in by advertising keywords on your social media or website.
A keyword is a word members can text to opt-in for news related to the term they messaged you. For example, a political association could use the keyword “CAMPAIGN” to advertise their SMS newsletter to members.
Template 4: “Thanks for texting [keyword] to [Association]! We’ll send you membership updates and industry news every Thursday at noon.”
Template 5: “You’ve texted [keyword] to [Association]. Every Monday we send the leading newsletter with helpful content for those in the [industry] world.”
Template 6: “Welcome to the [Association] newsletter! We’ll use this number to keep you updated on our newest events and fundraisers.”
Consistently engaging members with an SMS newsletter can help you retain members and generally give them more reasons to be active in your association.
3. Connect with potential volunteers.
There are a ton of volunteers your association needs to stay in contact with, especially during events and fundraisers. Texting can help you with volunteer outreach and filling last minute positions.
You can text volunteers to fill empty positions anywhere at any time and typically get a response within 90 seconds. Plus if the volunteers have any questions, you can also shoot them a helpful link or picture of where they need to meet.
Template 7: “Hi [First Name], we’re meeting at [location] to discuss [Event] guidelines. Here’s a picture of the spot. [image]”
Template 8: “Hi all! We just had a volunteer position open at the front desk of our next conference. Check out this link if you’re interested in filing it: [link]”
Template 9: “Hey [First Name], just checking in to see if you can still make it today. Let me know if you have any questions!”
Without volunteers your association would struggle to run its programs and events, which is why you should use text messaging to organize and connect them.
Text Request can help with tools like contact tags and groups to identify and track members who are interested in volunteering.
4. Create SMS marketing campaigns for fundraisers.
Your association relies on fundraisers and donations to make an impact in your industry and for your members. That means you need to see a return when you create a marketing campaign for them.
Text messaging can get you the returns your fundraisers need.
Remember SMS marketing campaigns have a 65% conversion rate (email only has 2.3%). And some businesses and nonprofits that do switch over to texting for promotions have even seen as high as a 6,800% return!
Text Request can also make sending mass text messages easy with our group merge messaging feature. It allows you to create custom fields so your fundraising campaigns can be personalized with your members’ names.
All you have to do is format a CSV spreadsheet with the custom fields and mobile phone numbers you want to contact, then drop the file into the message. From there, you can choose where the custom fields will appear, like in the examples below.
Template 10: “Hi [First Name], we’re raising money for [Event] and need your help. You check out our story and learn how you can help make an impact [link]”
Template 11: “[First Name], thanks for always supporting [Association]! Did you know we have tier rewards based on donations? [link]”
Template 12: “Hey [First Name], did you enjoy [Event]? You can help us make next year’s even better by donating at: [link]”
Marketing campaigns for things like fundraising become so much faster with a tool like text!
5. Share links and reminders for event registrations.
Your association’s events are only as successful as their turnout. So how can you ensure the highest amount of members register and come?
You can text members event registrations links, so they know exactly where to go to reserve their ticket.
Text Request even allows you to schedule event reminders in advance to make sure attendees know when and where to show up for things like panels or cocktail hours. You can even include links to itineraries or other helpful resources in these reminders to give members the best experience possible.
Template 12: “Hi [First Name], did you know we’re offering free pitch sessions at our next [Event]? We hope to see you there! [link]”
Template 14: “This is a reminder that our keystone speaker, [Name], will begin his talk at [time].”
Template 15: “Thanks for registering for [Event]! You can view the full itinerary at: [link]”
Remember that texted links have a 40% to 50% click-through rate, so you know you’re going to see a bump in attendees!
6. Collect membership dues.
Membership dues are the lifeblood of your association, so you need a way to remind members where and when to pay them.
Texting is an easy way to streamline your association’s collections process, including:
- Sending scheduled payment reminders
- Sharing payment portal links
- Following up on overdue payments
- Updating credit card information
Template 16: “Hi [First Name], this is a reminder to renew your membership before the end of January by paying your membership level’s dues at: [link]”
Template 17: “[First Name], did you know you can renew your membership status online? [link]”
Template 18: “Hey [First Name], your payment to renew your membership is overdue. You can pay your dues before the end of February to maintain your membership status at: [link]”
The number one reason members don’t make a payment is because they forgot, so a simple text is the perfect way to nudge them to remember.
What else do you need to start text messaging your association’s members?
A text messaging service like Text Request offers all of the features mentioned above (plus more) to help your association stay connected with its members!
We also offer guides and content to help you make the biggest impact and retain the most members through text messaging strategies.
Schedule a demo to learn more, or check out the video below!