Many members of the Pinellas REALTOR® Organization in Florida were not happy to see their association discontinue its print magazine two years ago in favor of an e-newsletter, but they understood how technology was changing communications. After all, e-mail is much cheaper and faster and could link readers to all sorts of other resources. The e-newsletter would reach more members, and more members would be informed, the association thought. But that’s not what happened.
“We regularly looked into the analytics of our e-mail program and were getting between a 20 percent and 28 percent open rate on our weekly e-mail communication,” says Kim Sonefeld, communication and marketing manager. “Those numbers were far lower than anticipated. We wanted to reach as many members as possible, and missing out on roughly 70 percent of our members wasn’t acceptable to us.”
So in August, Pinellas brought back its print magazine after the board of directors unanimously voted it was worth the money, says Sonefeld. “It costs about 62 cents per issue and that includes printing, mailing services, and postage. We use non-dues revenue to pay for it, and we’re getting ready to offer advertising opportunities to help us offset those costs.”
Sonefeld expects the combination of a weekly e-newsletter and a monthly print newsletter to dramatically boost the association’s reach.