ENGAGEMENT SCORING – the easy way!

Guest blogger and membership marketing expert, Viki Bell is writing about her experience of introducing member engagement scoring, and the transformative impact it had during her time as Head of Marketing & Membership, at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Member engagement scoring, the process of measuring members against key metrics, identify and resolving issues to improve engagement and increase retention. Simple, right? But what do I measure?  What software do I need? What is this really telling me? Rest assured – there is a way to do this that is simple, cost effective and can have a massive impact on your membership.

Working at the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) I was lucky enough to already have good data. We had developed a truly amazing set of products and services aimed at every stage of an engineer’s career and had around 168,000 members across the world.  But (you knew there was a “but” coming right?) members still left us every year!

What if there was a way to work out which members were going to leave….and stop them!

Simply collecting data is not enough, it is what you do with it that makes the difference. With the simplest tool in the marketing toolkit we used the analytics to drive significant change. Can you guess what the tool was? Yes, email engagement!

We sent out a lot of emails at the IET!  I’m not proud of that statement and it is something that we, like every other Institution that I know, worked long and hard to get under control.

Historically, every report I had received on email engagement included; opens, clicks, shares etc. We however focused on the “modal average” of the engagement and most importantly, which members didn’t open anything or, if they did, never clicked.  The analytics showed me the members that opened everything and clicked lots and it showed me the ones in the middle.  We then mapped this data to our renewals database and – no surprise –members who simply were not opening were not renewing either.

OK, you can argue cause and effect here “were they not opening because they had already made up their mind to leave?” maybe – but that didn’t matter – it still showed me WHO they were and that they were an “at risk” member and we decided to adjust their member journey.

We split this data into red, amber and green groups based on risk of loss.  The greens we left to carry on the normal renewal journey. We went to work with the ambers and the reds.  We knew from the extensive mapping what products and services appealed best to members and we knew that email was simply “not their thing”.

We went back to basics; web pages were built and a direct mail piece was developed.  We used an engineering analogy “You’ve bought the bike, why aren’t you using the gears?” and we simply reminded our members of the great products and services that they had available to them through their membership.

We asked them to recall their “why?” – what made them join in the first place?  We knew from the members that were clicking what was of most interest and we led with this.  We offered simple contact routes: text us and we will call you back, visit the web and request what you need.

It worked – we started to see members from the red and amber groups renewing their membership.  we also started to see more members getting past their first anniversary date which was a key milestone in terms of ROI and COA metrics.

How do I know that the results were down to these adjustments?

We ran a test group.  I we left some “red members” in a test group that didn’t receive the campaign and intervention, we let them continue and follow the standard renewal process.  We had to be able to point to the “intervention” as the point of change – and it was.

On the back of this campaign we went on to adapt the onboarding process for members.  If we spotted a new member not engaging they received a Membership Services call just to check everything was OK and how – specifically – we could be of use to them.

This approach is a total win-win your members get the information they need to achieve their goals and you get to dramatically affect your lapse rates and enhance your member experience.

How did we do this? Good old excel!  I told you at the start it was simple and cost effective. I could maybe not have done this without my colleague, Dan – the Data Man.  I am a marketer, I look at the strategy, the metrics, the outcome and I don’t look at endless excel spreadsheets, however insights turned into action and adjusting the member journey gave us great results.

Engagement scoring doesn’t have to be complicated:


Would you like to know more?

Further information on Member engagement scoring and how to introduce it is covered in our long running “Successful Membership Retention strategies” training seminars, held in London in March, June and November of each year, check out our training courses.