More people quit their jobs in 2021 than in any year since 2001. While it leveled off a bit in 2022, the trend isn’t over. Some call it The Great Resignation. Others prefer The Great Reshuffle.
You can call it whatever you want. But one thing is clear: It’s likely degraded the quality of your database.
Those emails your association is sending? A huge percentage are going into a void, because so many of your brightest prospects have simply moved on. Prospect lists that may have been in peak condition in early 2020 are now antiquated, an artifact of data decay.
Oh, you say, but email forwards! Sure, emails get forwarded. Sometimes. Do you want to hinge your event on it?
How Bad is the Database Decay Problem for Associations?
Prospect databases naturally decay each year from your run-of-the-mill turnover. But the past three years have been anything but run-of-the-mill. We’ve seen estimates as high as 70% for B2B database decay rates.
Meeting planners know it’s happening. But associations? Too many haven’t opened their eyes. You know that you’re not getting the response rate you want, but you’ve chalked it up to Covid-19. And it IS related to that. But it’s related to a facet that we’re only now beginning to understand.
Some telltale signs that you have a prospect database problem:
- You’re not getting the response you used to for offerings like webinars.
- Your open rate has plummeted.
- The only real engagement you’re getting is from members.
How to Stop Emailing Fake People and Reach New Prospects
First, you have to clean your data. Your software can help you do this.
That’s actually the easy part.
The harder part is figuring out how to engage a fresh crop of prospects. It can feel like starting over. And while that sounds daunting, it’s an opportunity.
Taking a fresh approach is how we helped a large global legal association increase their prospects by 56% between 2021 and 2022—while cutting the cost-per-prospect by nearly a third.
It’s also how we helped a large staffing association get their most conference attendees ever in 2022.
As you build your new database, we have a few tips for reaching and converting these new prospects.
- Switch from content marketing to people marketing: If traditional content marketing is about volume, people marketing is about thinking like a prospect. You market to others how you want to be marketed to, and you avoid the things that annoy people. (Learn more about what it means to switch to people marketing.)
- Do a content audit: With your people marketing frame of mind, look at the content you currently have, and ask yourself if it’s any good. By good, we mean does it tell a story? Does it inspire trust? Does it identify your value prospect at a glance? Ask yourself if the piece of content would be worth your time, and if not, toss it from the lead gen pile. (Learn more about the danger of wasting your prospect’s time.)
- Refresh and repackage the content worth keeping: Can you create a webinar from an article that performed well on social? Build a resiliency toolkit from a series of blog posts? Develop a series of success stories from testimonials? Put together a preview of your event so that prospects understand what it’s like to actually be there?
Don’t Use That Outdated Campaign Strategy on Your New Database
There’s an old saying among gardeners: Don’t dig a fifty-cent hole for a $5 plant. In other words, don’t bother putting your expensive plant in cheap, nutrient-lacking soil.
Likewise, a fresh, clean database won’t do you any good if you put it in poor soil. It’s worth investing to make sure you are getting the most from that prospect list.
You need a branded, fully-automated, data-driven campaign. We’re talking about an intelligent, go-to-market plan that’s integrated across all touchpoints. In other words, a campaign that meets your prospects where they are, and responds to what they do.
Not sure what one of these plans looks like? Contact us and we’d be happy to show you.
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