Part 4: Scheduling
So, you have your data in shape, your content is engaging, and the design is on-brand and ticking all the boxes. Now you need to send out your packs and begin a rolling schedule for future sign-ups and renewals.
Scheduling is best done backwards. By starting with the date your members’ packs need to land, work backwards to the start date of the project, remembering to factor in communication releases and any foreseeable delays or hiccups that could be a risk to the dispatch date.
There are several mediums for you to get your membership offerings out there. Look the main channels your members prefer to use and factor these into your communications. Each one can be scheduled accordingly to tie in a mailer with a digital communication. By reviewing these twinned or married communications regularly, you can see what works and what may need changing. It is all about balance. If you get it right, you will see them working together to produce results. Test and measure, folks!
Whichever medium you choose, you add an extra day to the schedule for testing the data, especially if the pack is new. Test data is used to map the data fields to ensure the packs are compiled correctly.
A majority of welcome and renewal packs are printed. You need to factor in the time it takes to print stock for your packs unless you are running a print on demand version.
If you choose to run from stock, letterheads, leaflets, booklets and plastic cards can be printed and delivered into fulfilment around 5 days. Envelopes may take a little longer. Incentive items such as pin badges, keyrings and bandanas can take between four to eight weeks, depending on the complexity of the item. It is important to order the gifts early on to ensure a smooth dispatch. Most renewals we see are yearly and stock is ordered in advance.
You can add extra inserts into your welcome and renewal packs to advertise upcoming events, shows, training courses and more. Mail is kept longer than email meaning your messages and offers stay to hand.
A few clients have now chosen to use digital-only packs. These are not as popular as printed packs, but they are starting to gain traction. It is a fantastic alternative option to offer to your members. They can download their packs (from your site or from email) to their digital device and carry it with them on their mobile phones. Like paper-based packs, they need planning and testing – data needs setting up, templates built, and emails tested to ensure members receive the right contents. It can take anything from 5 to 20 days for building and testing, depending on the complexity of the packs. At Synergy, we always advise you on the length of time needed so a realistic schedule can be achieved.
If you are going to shout about your membership packs (and why wouldn’t you?!), jump on social media to help generate interest. Use your segmented data to post scheduled digital communications which can tie in with pack release dates. If the reader is interested, they can save the post to revisit later. One good thing about social media is that it can be automated enabling your message to be sent at once or staggered in stages – just remember to update the automation if the schedule slips!
A Schedule Example
You may have several schedules running alongside each other: one for renewals, one for capturing new packs, social communications, and so on. You may have them all in one database organised by date. We deal with varied databases. Some span several columns with complex packs whilst others are small and contain the same item for each record.
Your yearly renewal schedule may look like this:
Constant updates on the services you offer will help keep you in front of your members; generic social posts are fantastic for this and they don’t spam inboxes. You could use them to welcome new followers and group members too.
Keep On Rolling
You must work hard in the first year of a signup to make sure they renew. Your data can give you an early warning as to whether a member is going to cancel or not. When they sign up, add them immediately to the renewal’s communications. It’s better to start 350 days before renewal than wait until 30 days before they are due! When organising a renewal, always bear in mind what can make this process easier for your members.
Your schedules need to keep on rolling forward to keep your members in the loop. Due to the amount of time and money invested to keep your members engaged and to reach schedule deadlines, the whole process can be quite stressful. If you need advice or would like to see how we can help release the pressure, get in touch with us today. We process thousands and thousands of membership packs every week, so you are in safe hands.