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    From small things (big things one day come)…

    I’ve made no secret about my affinity for Amazon.com. In presentations to Alliance member society conventions, board meetings, and State Fraternal Alliances, I’ve stated that I feel more like a “member” of the Amazon tribe than I do either of the fraternals to which I belong. I know that may seem like heresy to some, but it’s true.amazon

    The Amazon folks contact me several times a week in my preferred method of communication – email. And they always seems to have something interesting to share with me (based, of course, of their “big data” analysis of all the products I’ve previously purchased from them). I don’t read every email and I certainly don’t order something every time they contact me. But clearly they’ve done a terrific job of creating a “relationship” with me.

    While there is certainly not an “apples to apples” comparison of a retailer like Amazon to a financial services provider, I think fraternals have the best shot at creating similar relationships with their members – especially those societies with a meaningful and actionable common bond. American Mutual Life Association (AMLA), one of the Alliance’s smallest yet most innovative members headquartered in Cleveland, is attempting to just that with their electronic “AMLA – Food for Thought…” newsletter.

    After being impressed by the first several issues of the newsletter, I contacted Tim Percic, AMLA’s CEO, to learn more about why the society initiated the electronic outreach program and what the results have been so far. Here’s his response:

    “We started making periodic e-mail blasts to reach out to small swath of AMLA Members and friends to, more or less, dip our toe in these waters. There is a definite, measurable correlation between emails sent, and a bump in traffic to the site, www.AmericanMutual.org. Over time, we have noticed that the combination of periodic e-mails, social media posts (with links back to the site), and printed ads which show the web site, lead to measurable bumps in traffic at those times (printed references were the least successful).

    However, the audience is fickle. We need to find the sweet spot between “selling to” and “informing” our e-mail list. We have received negative feedback when blasts were more directly sales-oriented. Conversely, we have had dramatically better results (opens and clicks) when they are more informative as with a fraternal benefit—like the announcement of our scholarship recipients. The e-mail which caught your eye was what I would classify as a “general info” e-mail, which is a “new” angle (and for which I am awaiting results). It is more of an “implied sales” tactic.

    By year end, my goal for these blasts is to develop an understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and to continue to grow the list. So far, the effort has been small in scale. Nonetheless, there have been measurable results.”

    Congratulations, Tim and AMLA. To borrow a song title from Bruce Springsteen, “From small things, big things one day come.”

    Experimenting with new ways to reach your members? Share them with me and the fraternal community by posting a comment HERE. Or send me an email with details and I’ll be happy to include in a future post.

    4 Responses

    1. For anyone who likes shopping on Amazon, be sure to shop at smile.amazon.com (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/). In our Hermann Sons Life electronic ambassador newsletter that went out last week, we encouraged ambassadors to select a charitable organization that is part of our focused service cause. The link to information about smile.amazon.com was ranked third in clicks (behind blogs and the discount program).

    2. What AMLA experienced over time with their email messages is that it takes several communication attempts for your name and message to stick in people’s minds and become easily recongizable. You do indeed have to educate and teach people what to expect from you and to show them the value you can bring to their life or business. It’s an ongoing effort, but worthwhile.

    3. Excellent information from both Jennifer and QL. Thanks for sharing – and glad to hear other societies are not only experimenting with electronic communications, but utilizing them to further their community service mission!

    4. Thank you, Joe, for the spotlight on our efforts. I hope that our plan continues, and in the near future, I can report large-scale success with this undertaking. So far, so good.

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