Submitted by ronja on Tue, 12/21/2021 - 00:24

5 Ways to Present your Association Benefits for Maximum Member Engagement

By Farhad Khan, BEng & CEO on December 21, 2021

This blog comes with a helpful tool to help you get started:Member-Centric User Experience Checklist & Worksheet.

The Problem: Your association has a catalogue of benefits that are underused by your members. As they lay dormant, the value of your membership is depreciated by your members.

When members do not use their member benefits, they are at risk of not renewing their membership. Our monthly webinars talk about how to highlight the value of your association's member benefits. Register for an upcoming webinar!

To increase the likelihood of member renewals, we need to be strategic about connecting members with their benefits. 

Our responsibility, as an association, 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.

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. There is a specific niche of web design for member-based associations to help connect members with their benefits. We see this every day with our clients that come to us with a website that was not designed with member engagement in mind.

Let’s dive into 5 ways to make sure your member benefits are presented in a way that encourage member participation. Below are more examples of ways associations tend to stand in their own way and create barriers to member engagement. Let’s fix that!

5 Ways to Present Your Association Benefits for Maximum Member Engagement

1. List Out Each Benefit

civicrm member portal membership association

Each of your member benefits should be listed individually. Not grouped into bundles, not divided onto 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.

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

civicrm member portal membership association

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 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. Make Sure Each Benefit Is A Benefit To The Member

civicrm member portal membership association

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 quote is “Is your benefit really a benefit, or are you just calling it a benefit?” Let’s make sure that your benefits are just that - a benefit to members!

Get our "Member-Centric User Experience Checklist" to make sure your messaging and website are focused on your members.

4. Present Content In A Multitude Of Ways

civicrm member portal membership association

Some members like to read, others like to listen, some like to watch, some like graphs, 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 all be created by your association’s staff. Invite your members to help you diversity the way you share your material. These volunteer opportunities can be framed as resume builders for your members. They can be proud to have contributed content to your benefits library!


5. Repurpose Content

civicrm member portal membership association

Building off of 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.

Get our Website Wishlist Priorities Chart to help you prioritize your feature wishlist for your website and membership site.


Remove 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 in 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 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 improve to help them improve professionally.


Upkeep Your Member Benefits

Building our 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 advance 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!


Looking for Ideas on How to Present your Member Benefits?

Check out our upcoming member-engagement webinars and live podcast interviews with experts in the world of associations, membership and best practices in UX design.