Membership Pro Tip: Keep It Simple

21 May 2021 5:31 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

Communicating directly—and personally—with members is a great way to highlight new resources and other benefits without sounding like a sales pitch.

The Health Industry Distributors Association recently announced a 21 percent surge in corporate members, exceeding national benchmarks for trade association member renewal rates. The group achieved the increase in several ways, including responsive communications tailored specifically for members’ top priorities. Kelley Taft, HIDA’s director of membership, and her team found a successful—and super easy—way to inform members about the new resources.


Taft’s team created the tools to help members communicate more effectively with their customers, government officials, and other stakeholders. The resources include infographics, fact sheets, sample op-eds, and presentations.

The challenge? “You create all these resources and then you send nice marketing emails and members still don’t see them,” Taft says.

Solution? Keep it simple—and personal. Taft’s team came up with a members-only email called “HIDA Heads-Up.” It isn’t a marketing email, Taft says, “and that is key.” It is just a regular email that her team writes and sends out under her name.


Every time a HIDA Heads-Up goes out to members, she says, “they love it.” The emails are casual, in Taft’s own voice, and intentionally not a sales pitch. Members email her back personally to thank her for thinking of them, she says. They appreciate the personal communication and feeling of connection.

“When an email comes from the membership director, they do pay attention to it,” she says. “That simple, tiny thing is a great way to share resources.”


The personal emails give Taft a chance to connect with members in an offhand way and casually catch up on life, kids, work, and more. She always writes them back directly because she doesn’t want to lose the personal touch. “It’s my favorite thing we’re doing right now,” she says.

The HIDA Heads-Up emails have been so popular that the marketing team asked if they could put them on a schedule. Taft pushed back. “It has to be organic,” she says.

LISA BOYLAN,  Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now.


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