Monday, February 25, 2008

It's not what you say, but when you say it

I joined the ASAE Circle Club right before the new year. I asked them to not charge me until Jan. 1, which they said wouldn't be a problem. However, I didn't hear anything after a week, so I called. They had a staff transition, which I knew about, so no big deal. I was taken care of. I registered a few people for things, renewed a few memberships, and even signed up a few new people. I got an email with a few documents, etc.

Today, I received my Welcome to the Circle Club package. Today. Over 8 weeks after I joined. Granted, I did get the email right away, but it took over 8 weeks to get me the print materials. Why bother? If I wouldn't have gotten anything, I wouldn't have thought anything of it, to be honest. But now that I did get something, I could care less about its content, because I am so disappointed it came so late.

Here lies a good lesson. We spend so much time crafting great marketing messages and pretty materials that we forget it is more about timing than anything else. Make sure you are sending things at the RIGHT time. We just had a member meeting where manufacturers were asking dealers how they could get more of their attention. The answer - you can't force it, the information just has to be in front of them when they are looking for it, or open to it. The solution, keep sending emails and direct mail pieces, just not so many that you annoy someone so much that they opt out. And provide the information in as many ways as possible, so that when someone is looking for it, they can find it easily.


Tony Rossell said...

Good comments. I think many organizations would be surprised if they knew how long their new member kit takes to get to a member. How long does it take when someone joins your group? It is not a bad idea to seed your list with a new member each month. Tony

Ellen said...

Matt - You're so right! Receiving materials late can sometimes be worse than not sending them at all. On a side issue, we are moving to more and more e-mail promotions because of the cost savings over print materials.

When our ExecDir sent out an e-mail blast himself (he doesn't normally do this) and received hundreds of "Out of Office" and "Undeliverable" bounce-backs, he told the staff we would supplement all marketing with at least one postcard. I did the mental math in my head (design, printing, postage, mailhouse, plus the additional lead time...).

I'm all about data when I can get it, so the next week, when I sent out an e-mail blast, I stored all the Undeliverables in a folder and later added in those that got blocked through our spam filter. Just 8% of the messages were not getting through.

We decided that 8% is probably about the same loss that we'd get from returned (or undeliverable or mis-delivered) snail mail.

Using mailings needs to be a carefully made decision - and timing is a part of that decision tree.

Thanks, Matt!