We took a stab at this once before, and we figured we’d give it another go. When it comes to engaging members, how could it be easier?
The following six tips are aimed at keeping members happy, getting them to renew membership faster and making your association a core element of their daily lives.
Check out our first six tips if you missed them (linked above), and without further ado, here are six more!
Engaging Members in 6 Simple Steps
1 – Give Members a Shout Out
Once upon a time, it was really cool to see your name in the newspaper or a print magazine. Take it from a former newspaper reporter: that’s hardly the case anymore.
Instead, give your members a digital shout out. In your newsletter or online magazine, highlight something cool a member is doing. On social media, do the same by tagging members in a post or replying to something they shared.
If you have millennial members, this should be easy. Even all the way back in 2014 — which feels like the Bronze Age of social media — 81 percent of millennials were checking Twitter at least once per day.
Protech Pro Tip: Don’t just focus on millennials. Plenty of more mature generations are active on social media, too. So make sure your strategies have broad appeal.
2 – Call for Volunteers
If your association needs volunteers, for whatever reason, here’s a piece of advice for you: just ask.
A post by the ASAE Center for Association Leadership claims that members who volunteer are among the most engaged at any association. ASAE also points out that nearly one-third of association members don’t volunteer because they aren’t asked.
So here’s the simplest tip for engaging members: ask them to get involved.
3 – Provide Value via Email
We really, really hope your association isn’t only reaching email inboxes when it’s time for members to renew. Otherwise, you may have earned a less-than-sterling reputation.
Try setting up an automated campaign to touch base with members regularly, if you’re into that sort of thing. Or, try a semi-regular newsletter or some other email outreach that provides complimentary resources.
Protech Pro Tip: Be careful with email. According to Marketing Sherpa, folks tend to unsubscribe for two reasons, among others:
- “I get too many emails in general” — 26 percent
- “The emails are always trying to sell me something” — 19 percent
Try to find a happy medium between the two. Send some emails, offering both complimentary and non-complimentary value content, as well as opportunities to renew — when appropriate.
You’re never going to nail this process. Everyone has different preferences (although subscription lists will help). Just try not to make anyone too annoyed by the amount of emails you’re sending, be it too many or too few.
4 – Spark a Conversation
Some of you may have an awesome online community just sitting there collecting digital dust. It’s teeming with untapped potential. Why? Either members don’t know it exists, no one wants to be the first to start a discussion or you’ve entered a world where people don’t want to talk about themselves. We assure you, it’s certainly not the latter.
Consider this line from a Higher Logic blog post, which we’re definitely on board with:
“Your online community is the ultimate engagement tool, providing an array of opportunities to connect with customers and increase positive feelings for your brand.”
If it turns out your online community isn’t getting much attention, try the following:
- Send an email blast to members reminding them of its existence
- Ask a provocative question to illicit lots of responses
- If all else fails, try offering small rewards or members who ignite engagement online
5 – Set Up a Referral Program
Word of mouth will always be a strong recruitment driver for associations. Maybe not as strong as it was in the days before the internet — or even the telephone. But strong nevertheless.
How can your referral marketing improve? Try setting up an actual, structured referral program.
By offering members a pre-determined reward, like a discounted registration or renewal rate, you’re much more likely to see referrals rise.
6 – Gamify the Member Experience
This one’s similar to the previous suggestion, but on a smaller scale that’s asking less of each member.
For more on gamification, check out Protech’s complimentary eBook.
Final Thoughts on Engaging Members
This doesn’t have to be as hard as you’re making it, folks. Sometimes the simplest stuff works best. Not all the time — but sometimes.
Try a few of our suggestions and you might find the process of engaging members becomes a little bit easier. Or not! But it doesn’t hurt to try!