One of the constant issues that associations contend with is getting members actively engaged in the organization’s mission. Member engagement plays directly into membership renewals and an association’s ability to reach new membership prospects. What are the most effective strategies that associations employ for boosting member engagement and growing as an organization? It takes a series of smart steps to get the process right.
1. Set Your Goals and Determine the Metrics You’ll Use
You can’t know how much you have improved member engagement until you establish where you are and where you want to be. Determine what your goals for membership engagement will be, and then establish the metrics you will use to determine when you have (or have not) met those goals. Perhaps your goal is for 10 percent of your members to contribute to your online content, or maybe your goal is for 50 percent of your members to participate in an upcoming campaign. Set the bar and establish a means for tracking your progress toward meeting your goals.
2. Segment Your Members and Develop Personas
Associations sometimes make the mistake of visualizing all of their members as homogeneous. In fact, membership bases are typically a very diverse group of folks. Segment your members into groups of similar characteristics, and then develop member personas to reflect your various member groups. Then, you can create campaigns, messaging, and other marketing efforts to speak to the specific personas that represent your members.
3. Determine What Problems Your Members Depend on You to Solve
Why do your members become members in the first place? Joining an association (just like purchasing any other product or service) is done in order to meet a specific need. Maybe your members want to communicate and associate with other like-minded people. Perhaps they seek the legal representation you offer, or desire to learn from the content you deliver. Be specific about the needs your members expect you to meet, and make these problems relevant to the specific member personas you have developed.
4. Develop the Value Proposition You’ll Offer Your Members
Now that you know the need(s) your members expect you to meet, you need to establish your value, that is, your method and means for meeting those needs. How will you solve those specific problems for your members? This is your value proposition—the value you deliver for the cost of membership in your association.
5. Deliver the Value and Manage Member Engagement
How do you communicate and deliver the value?
- Provide interactive websites where members can engage with you, as well as other members.
- Use smart email marketing campaigns to keep members informed, engaged, and interested. Campaign emails should be carefully timed to deliver relevant, insightful information when it is most meaningful to your members. In other words, strike a happy balance between spamming them constantly and evoking the sound of crickets chirping in your absence.
- Get wise about social media. Sure, it’s a great way to keep in touch with members, but it’s also a rich reservoir of member and prospect data. If you leverage it correctly, your current members will do more to promote your agenda and bring new members on board than your marketing campaigns ever could.
6. Measure Your Effectiveness at Meeting Your Goals
Obviously, while you can think about member engagement for days, months, and years on end, it’s a process that’s far too complicated to keep in your head, especially when it comes to collecting and analyzing the metrics necessary to track your progress.
There are several engagement products out there on the market, but the best ones are those you can adopt easily and that will give you the data to make the best decisions.
What effective strategies have you used or using to boost member engagement ? Share with us in the comments below, and don’t forget to download the Scoring Member Engagement eBook here.