Is auto-subscribing membership the best strategy to building long term engagement?


(Donna Nogay) #1

We have the luxury of membership and access to all data related to our members and even non-members in the profession we serve. Thus far, the approach to community launch has been to auto subscribe any member that falls in to that category in to the community, which results in a daily email digest. Allowing them to of course opt out if they would like. I do not own our community platform but do own all our other communication channels. I am concerned that by auto subscribing, we are overwhelming our members with emails and will begin to see less engagement in our other email communications (all important revenue and advocacy oriented messaging). I also worry about engagement within that community itself. If they enroll, they are acknowledging this is meaningful and something they want to be a part of. If we enroll them, we are ensuring that everyone has easy and immediate access to the platform. Certainly that is a different level of effort initially.

Any research or insights any of you have regarding this strategy? Is it truly the best strategy to auto enroll to ensure long term success of the platform? Is there any risk for the success of the community?

And as important, when an individual is receiving many daily digest (due to auto subscriptions) is there less engagement or impact on other email communications? We are tracking but have only recently launched the second and third community that may include the same person. All the information we’ve received thus far on this is anecdotal and from the platform folks (who obviously are biased).


(Sarah Hawk) #2

Hi @Dnogay – welcome.

I’m not aware of any case-studies or research – I’ll check with the team. @richard_millington may have some insight.

It sounds to me like your gut is telling you that this isn’t a great idea and I agree. Are people choosing to join your association and as part of that you sign them up, or is it literally unsolicited?

People are overwhelmed with web experiences/notifications/emails and it’s a challenge to find ways to engage people without adding to the burnout. I’m not sure the approach that you describe is doing that.

What is the rationale behind it? It sounds a bit like a “throw enough mud at the wall and some will stick” approach, but I suspect it will just make people angry. Add to that the fact that your digests are daily…

Digests are great for pulling in the occasional person, but they have a very low strike rate (and daily digests are pretty overwhelming).

Are you tracking click throughs and unsubscribes from the emails? I think that would be my first step.


(Donna Nogay) #3

Thanks for your insight. We will be monitoring open rates and click thru rates on our platform emails as well as our other activity that hits this group.

The belief by the community owner and our platform lead is that auto subscribing is the ONLY way to get the exposure to the platform and get this audience to engage. That they will never to it on their own and therefore the community will die. I question the need and value if that is the case. But we have some strong leaders insisting we do not do enough for this segment and this is critical. As well as a commitment from all teams that this effort will be well supported.

I think we’ve compromised by agreeing to announce this as a Beta for 3 months. If we see our other channels suffer as well as receive negative feedback and low open rates, we will close out the Beta by getting rid of the Daily Digest and insisting on opt in activity in order for them to receive any emails from us.

I’ll keep the group apprised of the results. If anyone else learns of any information that might be helpful, please share.


(Sarah Hawk) #4

Right, I think you hit the nail on the head there. If people aren’t intrinsically motivated to engage, then it’s never going to be sustainable.

That compromise sounds smart. I’m all for trying things out. Without data you’re just guessing.

[quote=“Dnogay, post:3, topic:1761”]
I’ll keep the group apprised of the results.
[/quote] Please do. This will be really interesting learning for us.