We live in a world where we are constantly being pinged, messaged, and called any number of times throughout our day. Your members are inundated with other obligations, responsibilities, expenses, and distractions. Depending on what type of association you run, your membership dues could be competing with things like gym memberships, monthly subscription boxes, wine clubs, and business and professional insurance premiums.That means that when you host an event, it has to play an integral role in your overall member retention strategy.
Events that don’t draw huge crowds and generate tons of buzz won’t help you when it comes time to renew memberships. Here’s how to turn your events into the best member retention strategies you can buy.
1. Provide a Respite from the Activities
Whether you’re hosting a trade show, holding a concert, or just offering an industry conference, providing a place to get away from all the action for a bit can mean the difference in attendees coming back next time — or not. People get tired. Tired people want to leave. By offering a quiet respite where attendees can rest or take a power nap, make or receive an important phone call, charge their mobile devices, and catch their breath, you’ve significantly extended the length of time they are able and willing to stay.
We live in a world where we are very attached to our phones. Make sure charging stations are well marked and thoroughly communicated. You don’t want people heading for the doors as soon as their smart phone batteries run low.
2. Be Smart About Logistics
The success of an event begins long before the doors open. In fact, the most important part is choosing the right venue. Think this through carefully: how many chairs do you need for everyone to sit comfortably (plus, perhaps have a place to work on a laptop for awhile)? Look for restrooms that are equipped for large events, easy access to and from the venue, convenient amenities (How close is the nearest coffee shop? What restaurants are within walking distance?), and access to transportation. Make sure local taxi services are aware of your event so they can be available at peak arrival and departure times. If guests are mostly driving in, choose a venue with adequate parking. For the jet setting crowd, pick a place convenient to the airport. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes, and think through their itineraries through from beginning to end and make sure your venue makes sense for them.
3. Make Sure Staff are Well Trained and Readily Available
How frustrating is it to find someone wearing a store’s uniform, asking them a question, and receiving a clueless shrug in return? That’s how people feel if they approach your staff during an event, and the staff doesn’t know the basics about the venue, the event, or your organization. Utilize smart signage around the event, but supplement those signs with well-positioned and well-trained staff members who can (and are willing) to help guests as needed. This might be the best of all your retention strategies, because it establishes your association as one that’s totally with it and in tune with your members.
4. Offer Something Nobody Else Does
Who are your members? What do they love? When planning your next event, think about what your target membership’s lifestyle and interests are. For example, some organizations have had success treating their event attendees to mini makeovers and offering beer and/or wine tastings. Look for luxurious treats that your members would love, especially those they might not ordinarily treat themselves to. Then supply it for them at your next event. #Winning
5. Add a Philanthropic Twist
What they get out of the event is one thing, but if they can derive those benefits AND help out an important cause — all the better! Consider adding a philanthropic twist to your next event. Donate a percentage or set amount of the price of the event to a cause your members hold dear. They will feel like their money is going further, and that they’re doing more with it than just something for themselves. This can improve event attendance rates as well as supplement your member retention strategies.
Are you in the market for a better membership software solution to promote your events and manage your association? If so, you’ll need some guidance along the way. Check out our free guide Implementing Your AMS: What to Expect Along the Way!