The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a professional society representing over 150,000 active members within the civil engineering profession across 177 different countries worldwide.
ASCE is America’s oldest engineering society, founded in 1852, and headquartered in Reston, Virginia.
Civil engineers are the backbone of modern society, from the buildings where we live and work, the energy systems and water treatment plants we rely on, and the roads and bridges that get us from here to there. Civil engineering professionals design, plan, build, operate and maintain our modern infrastructure. Civil engineers specialize in a wide range of technical areas, including utility engineering, mechanical engineering, architecture, construction, geotechnical services, environmental planning, structural engineering, coastline engineering, and transportation, to name a few.
ASCE provides its membership with continuing educational opportunities, hosts professional and technical conferences across the globe, and is the world’s largest publisher of industry-related content. ASCE is also the leading authoritative source for engineering standards and codes designed to protect the public.
ASCE partnered with rasa.io to increase the frequency of its newsletter from weekly to daily in hopes of cutting down in-house production time and providing a stronger, more relevant experience to its subscribers through rasa.io’s ability to leverage AI to tailor content. Not only did rasa.io meet the organization’s expectations in both areas, but ASCE representatives also said that their rasa.io has resulted in more robust analytics, an increase in open and click-through rates, and better results for advertisers.
ASCE has streamlined its newsletter, increased its frequency, and provided more personalization to its members with rasa.io
ASCE had been delivering a regular bi-weekly newsletter to its membership for many years and, in 2013, began publishing its newsletter every week. Until 2020, when ASCE partnered with rasa.io, the organization’s weekly newsletter was manually curated and produced using Eloqua, a popular marketing automation tool.
“Before we moved to the rasa platform and went to a daily newsletter, we were producing and sending a weekly newsletter that took about as much time to produce as the daily does now,” said John Marston, the Senior Manager of Digital Media Communications at ASCE.
Marston said that the ASCE daily newsletter takes about two hours to produce. That timeframe includes one hour in the late afternoon on the day before publication and about one hour in the morning before it’s finalized to send.
“We went through a learning curve in using the platform,” he said, “but after that, we settled into a routine of producing the daily newsletter that was not arduous.”
There is no better person to speak about the benefits ASCE has experienced using the rasa.io platform than Marston. He has been involved in producing ASCE newsletters since 2008 and has witnessed the newsletter’s evolution firsthand.
Marston said that the rasa.io platform has allowed ASCE to provide its newsletter subscribers with a stronger, more relevant experience by leveraging AI to tailor content. Since ASCE represents civil engineers of all disciplines, the organization has been pleased that it can now provide its members with newsletters that are AI-tailored to their unique field.
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Whereas ASCE’s previous weekly newsletters contained only internal content, the daily newsletter that the organization now sends features timely external content alongside the organization’s internally produced content. The easy-to-use rasa.io platform allows ASCE to feature this in-house content created for ASCE’s website and association magazine so that it is delivered to every subscriber. At the same time, rasa.io’s AI technology tailors the external newsletter items to the subscriber’s specific needs.
ASCE relies on its in-house content to drive traffic to its website, and since using the rasa.io platform to deliver its newsletter, analytics show that its newsletter has been the main driver of its traffic.
“We were apprehensive at first about using the AI tool,” said Roxann Henze, Director of Communications at ASCE. “But once we started using it, it was easy to bring in content from other news sources to help bridge the content gap within our small writing staff team.“
ASCE sings the praises of the rasa.io support staff and credits them with helping transition to a new newsletter platform.
ASCE representatives say that rasa.io’s technical support has been invaluable. The support staff got the ASCE team up to speed on the platform’s functionality and how to use it. The rasa.io team also helped ASCE build an Excel spreadsheet of external content from keywords and publications that the organization provided.
The support team was also helpful in the weeks and months post-launch, helping ASCE make program and template changes to maximize its newsletter effectiveness. ASCE has long created its membership newsletter in-house, so it was important for the organization to easily onboard its team to the rasa.io platform.
Regarding the analytics features provided by the rasa.io platform, Henze said, “We love how easy it is for us to get analytics for each newsletter issue.”
“We used to use Eloqua to send out our weekly newsletter,” she said. “With rasa.io, it’s much easier for everyone on the team to get analytics for the newsletter, and the analytics are more robust than Eloqua.”
“We love how easy it is for us to get analytics for each newsletter issue.”
Advertisers appreciate the benefit of the personalized content that ASCE now provides and team members said that using the rasa.io platform has helped meet ad revenue goals.
The newsletter ASCE produces using the rasa.io platform has helped the organization reach its advertising revenue goals.
Its daily newsletter includes four paid banner-ad slots and two internal house ad positions. The organization periodically includes paid “sponsor content” items in the body of the newsletter, which, according to ASCE team members, generates good click-through rates.
“Since we have a high open rate on our daily and weekly newsletters, we’ve been able to meet our advertising goals,” said Henze.
ASCE already clearly understood its membership’s interest in certain industry-related topics. However, using rasa.io’s analytics tools, ASCE reinforced that knowledge, and the organization has engaged its subscribers better. The organization’s daily newsletter, produced using the rasa.io platform, has become a clear benefit of an ASCE membership. In turn, this has been beneficial to advertisers and has become a major selling point.
“Being able to tell potential advertisers that we’re able to provide subscribers with a newsletter tailored to their interests is a strong selling point,” said Marston.