In today's business ecosystem, it is becoming increasingly apparent how members help keep the wheels churning for any organization. The revenue that members contribute every month can keep you going when your regular business may be struggling.
This is why the right membership strategy could change the game for your business.
When your business centers around selling to customers, your work is fairly cut out for you. You make a pitch highlighting what customers can expect from your service and why it would be the best choice for them in the market. Once the transaction is done, your focus is on finding more such customers and expanding your base in the market.
However, as recent and ongoing events have taught us, focusing on sales alone is not enough. Without a certain portion of recurring revenue flowing in, you will find it difficult to keep your business in the black during the months when customer sales are down. Members support your business with their contributions and are invested in your continued development as an organization.
So how do you make sure your member base not only sticks with your organization but grows steadily every month? The answer lies in how you engage your members and the benefits they receive from your engagement. Acquiring members is just the first step in what should be a long and fruitful relationship.
Membership engagement will play a crucial role in the growth of your organization.
Value your members. It is important that you recognize and appreciate their commitment to your organization at every opportunity.
Give your members a voice. They would like to be involved with you by helping you improve your services to better suit them and members just like them.
Members are insiders. Treat them as such - offer exclusive benefits and services, deliver exciting sneak peeks, and interesting secrets about your organization to build a tight-knit community.
Most importantly, members are family. A lot of your members genuinely want your business to do well as it benefits them in turn. Find ways to engage and collaborate in ways that make them essential to your organization's growth.
Now before you go about crafting the right member engagement strategy for your organization, you will need to assess how you are currently engaging your members today. You may have a growing audience on social media with whom you interact frequently or reach out to your customers every week with a roundup of your latest updates. You may even have events where you get to know your community better. All of this needs to be recorded and the extent of your communication needs to be clarified in each case.
Having a clear picture of your member engagement today will help you identify the gaps in your current communication. You will be able to map out those areas that can be improved upon and calculate your next steps more effectively.
Measures to track engagement with members
You can take a qualitative look at your engagement all day long, but without quantifying your member engagement, you will find it more challenging to implement actionable strategies that raise member satisfaction in the long run.
So, before you go about building member engagement, let's take a look at how you can track it effectively.
Survey your members
Finding out how your members feel about their interactions with you and your staff is a great place to get started. You will then be able to establish a minimum standard and subsequently increase member engagement within your community.
Isolate successful engagement activities
Are your social media channels constantly engaged with by your members? How do members respond to your events or workshops? Are there any other forms of engagement that are being received well by your members? Taking stock of this will help you understand your member preferences better over time.
Set goals across your member life cycle
Set achievable goals for member engagement at every stage of their journey with your organization. From onboarding communication to regular updates, identify the various touch points at which you would be engaging your members and set goals for each of these accordingly.
Profile your members
To be able to engage your members effectively, you need to know who they are. Identify the most common profiles among your members and segment them accordingly. Look at what they have in common, what are the differences that exist in each case. You will then be able to map out the member engagement objectives for each profile.
Identify your media
Make a list of all the platforms through which you currently engage with your members. You will get a better sense of which platforms and activities can be added or removed and set goals for each platform to optimize engagement in the long run.
Once you are aligned on your goals based on these criteria, you will be able to strategize effectively and increase member engagement. Let us now take a look at some of the most effective strategies that will help any organization improve its engagement figures.
1. Onboarding engagement
Your first impression is a lasting impression. It will set a foundation for how your members continue to view your team and organization throughout their membership. It will also help your new members feel like they made the right choice by signing up with your organization.
How you bring them on board and introduce them to your services, as well as the benefits in store for them could even impact how they feel around the time of their renewal down the road.
Here are a few things that you can do while bringing new members on board.
Gift them an onboarding kit
Everybody loves goodies and new members will feel instantly rewarded for their decision to sign up! You could assemble a gift basket that reflects your business, including branded materials like printed mugs or water bottles to make members feel at home with your organization.
Including a warm, personalized greeting card or welcome letter with your kit would be a nice touch. You could also include free resources relevant to your business and introduce them to your organization and their membership in detail.
Provide a point of contact
The best way to keep members happy from Day 1 is by making sure their voice is valued and their concerns are addressed without any delay. Adding a personal touch to their communication with you will help you build a close relationship with new members, get a better understanding of what each member wants from your services, and how you can attract more members.
On the whole, it makes the membership quite democratic and members would be glad to see their contribution to your growth in the long run.
Introduce them to your online forums
Your members are your family. Like true insiders, they need to be in the loop on everything that happens within your organization before anyone else. Forums are a great choice to foster that sense of exclusivity!
Add them to your member forums and welcome them with open arms. The forums will also provide them with a member’s perspective on your business and help them get the best out of your services.
2. Renewal engagement
Member renewals are crucial to your continued growth as an organization. While you can always acquire new members to maintain your recurring revenue, retaining your existing members ends up adding far more value to your organization.
Older members have more context on your development, which is why their opinions will help you take the right direction moving forward. An engagement strategy that thoroughly covers member interactions around the time that they are up for renewal will help you retain a core base of loyal members who will be happy to contribute to your growth for years to come!
Survey your members
You are bound to lose members every year. There is no getting around this no matter how successful you are. You may not be able to please everyone, but you can certainly do your best to cover as many members as you can.
Set up surveys for members before they are due to renew to understand how they felt about their membership with you and whether they would like to renew again. You can also survey the members who chose not to renew to understand what went wrong for them.
You will get a clear picture of what they liked and disliked about your services, further benefits that you could offer them, and what could encourage more members to stay. Remember, even a few small tweaks could convince more members to stay. It all depends on what you tweak, so make sure you're paying attention to the surveys.
Summarize your member journey
Now, here's a fun way to engage your members as they approach their renewal. Narrate their story and the journey you shared together. Remind them of the good times - talk about the services they availed and the benefits they received during their membership.
Conclude the story on a promising note with a section on what more you would like to offer members moving forward.
All said and done, you are still running a business. This is why one of the most effective ways to get your members to stay is simply by offering them better incentives!
Depending on how flexible your budget is for this, you can offer anything from added benefits to free services to members who might have been reconsidering their renewal. You could even speed up the process by providing a discount on early renewals.
3. Web engagement
On a daily basis, your website will serve as the primary source of information on your organization. Any updates and announcements need to go up on your website before you publish them elsewhere. Engaged members on your website are also more likely to make a further purchase at any given point in time.
Consider your website a digital home and a social space designed to keep your members engaged and curious to explore your organization further.
A central hub for interaction
The best way to have engaged members on your website is by coming up with unique and interesting touch points on the site for them to interact with. This finds its place among the more effective member engagement tactics today, whether you're running a professional association or a service-based organization of any kind.
Adding a chatbot to your website is a great step in this direction. You could also connect your forums to your website or engage members by hosting exciting quizzes and competitions that add to your brand value as well.
Create a content repository
Your member engagement strategy will always be left wanting without a healthy base of content to build your interactions on. Start building a foundation for your online community by putting out regular blogs and updates on your organization or an engagement strategy such as online marketing games.
Make your content more relatable to your members by involving them in its creation. Talk to members and document their stories through your website. Shining the spotlight on your members will also make them feel valued by your organization and encourage more members to engage with you over time!
Membership management portal
For membership organizations, it is essential to have a space that members can consider their own at all times. Your engagement plan essentially hinges on how well you can host your online community on your website. This is where a membership management software will come in handy for your organization.
A membership management software allows your members to manage all their information from one exclusive space. It offers a number of benefits both for your members as well as your staff and trims your operation time and effort on the whole.
With a membership management software, your members can:
- Book services online
- Register for events
- Make fast and secure payments
- View their schedules
- Manage member information
- Renew their memberships
A membership management software will keep your members engaged as they visit your site and increase the chances of them trying out more of your services once they do. Apart from the endless benefits it offers your members, it also makes it a lot easier for you to package content for them. You can use the software to send them regular newsletters, reach out with updates on their bookings and cancellations, and even notify them of upcoming events or workshops to drive sales.
4. Social engagement
Social media today is like one big party with something exciting or interesting happening every day! Trends come in waves and sweep up everyone in their path. There is always a better way to engage with your members on social media and every social media manager knows you either keep up or lose your audience over time.
With all these shifting trends and engagement strategies, you will need to maintain a structure to your efforts to ensure you always get the best out of your social profiles.
Track industry trends
The first thing you need to do once you set up your social profiles is to look around you. Some of your competitors may have already built up a healthy online community with regular engagement across social media platforms.
Start with a thorough competitor analysis and note down the strategies that would work for you. Experiment with different strategies as you go and make sure to track new and ongoing trends as and when they happen.
Social contests and giveaways
There may be several ways to get your followers to engage with you on social media, but the one thing that always works is offering a solid incentive!
Setting up an exciting contest or giveaway can bring a lot more people to your social profiles and website in a short period of time. Encourage social referrals and offer free services or goodies to drive engagement and watch your follower count go up!
Aside from direct incentives to your members, there are plenty of ways in which you can drive engagement on social media. Making your members feel more involved is a highly effective way to do this.
You could start by hosting live streams and invite them to participate and contribute however they like. Such casual occasions will make you look far more approachable to your audience and will encourage more people to engage with you. You could also collect and share member stories and testimonials on your social media. This will encourage more people to do the same and even tempt more people to sign up for your memberships over time.
5. Community engagement
Online engagement - in all its forms - may generate wider interest in your memberships. It may also ensure you increase your member count over time. Once this is done, online engagement alone will not help you keep them with you.
What you need to really keep your members coming back for more is a qualitative form of engagement beyond the virtual world. The way you engage with your community offline can make a huge difference to the way you are perceived, both by your members and beyond.
What is it you stand for as an organization? Do your values connect with those of your members? How do you, as an organization, move to share your values with those around you?
Your work starts with the community around you. The same community that supports your growth as an organization and whose people work for your progress every day. Blood donation drives, clean-up campaigns, and awareness campaigns for the causes you wish to promote are just some of the things you could do to give back to your community in kind.
Come out front and center
As an organization trying to engage your local community, you need to make yourself as approachable as possible. Start by putting yourself in public spaces as much as you can.
Conduct live Q & A sessions regularly and invite your community to participate - you might find quite a few people curious to know more about you without the right platform to do so. You can also run 'recruit' your members to invite their friends and family to try your services through rewarding referral program.
6. Events and activities
Your organization should be like a second family. Treat your members as such and they will love you for it. Explore their interests and find what excites them. This will help you plan interesting events and activities that will only serve to bring you closer.
More importantly, it adds immense value to what you deliver as an organization and your memberships will look all the more attractive over time.
Workshops and seminars
There is always something more you can add to your services - you may have wanted to try out something new or your members might be interested in exploring something different from what you're currently offering.
Workshops and seminars are a great way to test the waters and also add something special to your roster of services. It allows you to gauge how people may feel about the kind of services you would like to add next. It will also make your organization a more happening place and tempt more people to sign up for these events and see what you're all about.
Another great way to boost member engagement within your organization would be by bringing your members together through exclusive social events. It will add another layer to your membership experience and coupled with a host of exciting activities, you can instantly improve your member engagement.
7. Personalized engagement
As much as you engage with your member community, it is equally important for you to make each of your members feel seen and heard as the individuals they are. Maintaining a more personal connection with each of your members makes the relationship far more substantial and rewarding, ultimately raising member delight.
Ensure your services allow you to spend some time interacting directly with your members. Invite members to submit feedback through multiple channels, create surveys that give you insights on what your members may be looking for in addition to your existing services, and stay in touch with them through regular email and mobile communication. In the meantime, make sure to properly implement SPF records for email and the overall security of your communication system.
Email marketing campaigns can also include personalized communication that invites your members to respond and share their thoughts on your organization or any feedback or grievances they may have.
Birthdays and anniversaries
Make your members feel special on their special day! Send out a small gift basket or a gift card with a personalized message and make them feel valued. You will leave a positive impression and it could motivate them to extend their membership with you.
Member engagement plays a key role in increasing retention for your organization. Before you go about setting up a member acquisition strategy, it is essential to ensure you are managing your member engagement effectively. While all of these may be difficult to carry out at the same time, automating and personalizing your communication, optimizing your web and social engagement, and - most importantly - setting up a dedicated member portal on your website can bring you closer to achieving your engagement objectives without too much effort on your part.
Find out how simple technology can help you do all this and more, so you can work towards growing your business faster today!
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