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Connect Members With Your Member Benefits
Your association has a membership site with a catalogue of valuable member benefits: you know their value and your members who use the benefits know it, too! While this is true, it is also true that your member benefits are largely underused by your members. As they lay dormant, the value of your member experience is depreciated for your members.
When members do not enjoy their experience on your site, they are at risk of not renewing their membership. Yikes!
To increase the likelihood of member renewals, we need to be strategic about connecting members with their benefits and creating a positive member experience for them.
The way to do this is to provide an easy mechanism for members to connect with the benefits. Members need to be able to browse and explore benefits that appeal to them when they want them, thus creating an engaging member experience.
Associations do their best to provide online content — the best way to service your members, for sure! The challenge most associations face is allocating appropriate real estate on their websites for their member-related content. We see this every day with our clients that come to us with a website that was not designed with member experience in mind.
Let’s dive into 5 ways to make sure your member benefits are presented in a way that improves member experience. Below are more examples of ways associations tend to stand in their own way and create barriers to member experience. Let’s fix that!
5 Tips for Delivering a Better Member Experience
1. List Out Each Benefit
Each of your member benefits should be listed individually. Not grouped into bundles, not divided into different parts of your website. Listed out individually.
It is common for our clients to introduce us to their member benefits and rather than finding a list of benefits, they have grouped the benefits into bundles. “New Grads,” “Career Changers,” “Work from Home,” “Getting Started” — these are just a few examples. These groupings were made by the association staff without realizing that they are acting as a barrier to members finding the benefits that may suit them, thus hindering the member experience.
For instance, an experienced professional may find value in the content in the “New Grads” section but may avoid it because they don’t identify as a new grad.
Grouping benefits buries them further into your site map and hides their individual value from members. The user needs to see the list of benefits to be able to click on what resonates with them.
2. Name Your Benefits Clearly
Avoid naming your benefits in a way that obscures what they are. Be very clear. Choose names that are meaningful for your members. A cutesy name may appear clever for your staff but land on the deaf ears of members who don’t know what it is.
A good rule of thumb is to put yourself in the place of your members and think of the search terms they will use to find the benefits they are looking for. The names of your benefits should all fall into their searchable list.
3. Explain How Each Benefit Is A Benefit To The Member
Listing the benefits is the first step, but many members may not connect the dots to how the benefit can help them professionally. There is tremendous value to explain what the benefit is and how it helps your members. This can be presented to your users in a text form, or as a quick 45-second video - the more types of media, the better!
Include the tangible benefit to the member, the practical application of the benefit, the time commitment, etc. What the user can expect should be clear.
When there is a specific audience in mind for a benefit, include the type of member this would be appropriate for (eg. members in Europe, members considering a career change, members under 25, etc).
This exercise of explaining the benefit in a couple of sentences is a powerful exercise to assess the value proposition of the benefit. One of our favourite quotes, from the Executive Director of CACC, Aviva Rotenberg is: “Is your benefit really a benefit, or are you just calling it a benefit?” Let’s make sure that our benefits are just that — a benefit to members! To learn more, watch our podcast episode 'It's Not About Price, It's About Value: Making Membership the Obvious Choice'.
4. Present Content In A Multitude Of Ways
Some members like to read, others like to listen, some like to watch, some like graphs, and some like personal accounts. There are all types of people in this world! You may have very valuable information. However, when it is presented only in one way we exclude members with different learning styles and preferences on how they want to consume your benefits.
It is best practice to present your benefit in a couple of ways to appeal to a variety of learning styles. For instance, for a recording of an interview, provide the transcript. For an in-depth article, provide a summary.
Keep in mind that this content does not have to be created by your association’s staff. Invite your members to help you diversify the way you share your material. These volunteer opportunities can be framed as resume builders for your members and add to their member experience. They can be proud to have contributed content to your benefits library.
5. Repurpose Content
Building off the member-engagement strategy explained in point number 4 above, repurpose your high-quality content into other forms of media. Take a well-received podcast or interview and write a blog on it. From a well-received blog, create a workshop for members. Use a well-received workshop to create an SOP or checklist for members. These are just a few examples of ways you can repurpose your content.
This allows you to build out your library of benefits in an interconnected way that reinforces what you are teaching your members while also appealing to a variety of learning styles.
Barriers To Using Member Benefits
Many of our clients inadvertently bury access to their benefits. We want to share a couple of common ones with you to help you avoid making these mistakes.
A common barrier to engagement is hiding benefits deep in your site map. This means that the benefit is not easily accessed from your homepage or one click away, at most. When a user has to click on 5, 6 or even 7 links and buttons to even bump into a benefit — without any hint that it exists — is a major deterrent. Your members are more likely to bump into similar content in one click using a Google search and not spend time foraging your website. The bounce rate is real!
Another common mistake is in the presentation of group discounts to members for a third-party vendor. Say, for example, a discount to members on a Costco membership. Having a discount for members is a great value. The question now comes to the user experience of applying that code. Do your members now have to figure out where to apply the code?
A good rule of thumb is to avoid giving your members a runaround. Benefits should be just that, a benefit. They need to be easy to use. Try to offer as much of a done-for-you concierge service as possible. Instead of posting a discount code, have a direct link to the checkout page of the third-party vendor’s website with the discount code applied. Another alternative is to have the option of a QR code emailed to the member for easy retrieval when they are in the store.
How Much Content Does Your Association Need?
It takes time and resources to develop benefits. The goal is not to keep creating new benefits, but to see engagement with the benefits you have from your members.
Take the time to talk to your members to ask them what they want. The best way to keep your members is to give them what they want. This process of listening to your members and delivering to them is part of your relationship with them, where they can trust that your association understands them and is striving to help them improve professionally.
Find The Time To Upkeep Your Member Benefits
Building valuable, high-quality content takes time. But chasing members who are unhappy and struggling to attract members takes even more time. It is a well-documented marketing statistic that it takes 10 times as much money and effort to attract one new member than to keep an existing member happy.
Your members have already picked your association and purchased a membership in good faith. Take advantage of this trust and always aim to deliver valuable benefits.
It is good practice to set some goals for your association to produce member benefits that your members want. Make the time to create desired benefits to impress your members who will be much more likely to renew their membership.
Wherever you are in your membership journey, a good place to start is with our Membership Site Workshop. We can help to improve the member engagement on your membership site and create a better experience for your members.
Looking for more ideas on how to present your member benefits?
Join our upcoming member-engagement webinars and live podcast interviews with experts from the field of membership and associations.