In our most recent webinar, I discussed member engagement - or really, lack thereof. I started the session off by opening the floor to participants with the general question “What is the biggest challenge that your organization is facing right now to grow membership?
Although I was curious to hear their answers, I was pretty confident I already knew what they would say.
What I heard back didn’t surprise me one bit.
Everyone was in consensus about one thing.
Association membership renewal struggles
Everyone in attendance agreed that their common challenge is renewals. They consistently struggle with renewals, and chances are your association does too. Don’t beat yourself up if your association currently struggles with retention - you aren’t alone.
How do you increase renewals? Simply put - through engaged members. If your members are engaged, they will renew their membership because they are getting value and see the return on investment.
That is why I decided to address the issue of member engagement. Increased member engagement will lead to member retention, and in turn, a more prosperous association where your members see the value they are getting by being a part of it. They will fully understand how much they are gaining, and won’t want to miss out.
Why aren’t your members engaged?
Now, back to member engagement. There are many potential reasons your members are not fully engaged. The good news? Your content isn’t a problem.
The average association member likely doesn't use 90 percent of the benefits that you have to offer. This probably has you concerned - but don’t freak out just yet!
This doesn’t mean that your benefits don’t have value. It probably just means you aren’t marketing them right or marketing the right ones.
Secret #1: Member engagement strategy in your association
The first secret I want to leave you with is this: marketing is more about strategy than activity.
What do I mean by this? In the webinar, I walk you through this concept from A to Z, but in a nutshell - you should be spending more time strategizing and planning your marketing than actually doing it.
Here is an example of how an association I am a member of put this into play. This association is for CEOs in technology, and what they did was set us up with accountability partners. This was another CEO of a technology company that I could relate to, we connected on Slack and set up a weekly check-in call. We shared our goals and helped keep the other accountable to reach them.
Through some strategic planning, they were able to offer immense value with very little heavy lifting on their part. Your association can do the same.
Secret #2: Unique association members
Another secret we dive into during the webinar is this: The average member is a myth.
That’s right - there is no such thing as an average member, and if you are targeting your “average member”, that might very well be exactly where you are losing them.
You probably segment your members or audience by demographics, grouping them by age, relationship status, or location. Although this might be the typical way to do it, it probably isn’t working for you or getting you results. Just because people are roughly the same age, or live in a similar part of town, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are looking for the same things from their associations. In the webinar, we will walk you through exactly how you should be segmenting your audience to better serve them.
Secret #3: Focus on the most important membership benefits
Have you ever heard the question “How do you eat an elephant?” Well, it’s simple - one bite at a time. Elephants are massive animals and the sheer size of them can be daunting, just like your marketing. You probably have a lot of great benefits and resources to market, but don't fall into the trap of marketing all of them all at once. It will be information overload for your audience. How much do you retain when you’re overloaded with information? Probably not much.
Instead, start with one or two key benefits that you want to communicate with your members. My suggestion? Start with your benefits that are the least used. Create a complete campaign around those specific benefits and figure out exactly how you will communicate them to your members.
Remember: be specific. Put yourself in their shoes and let them know exactly how they can take advantage of those benefits, and why they need to.
Association Engagement Workshops
If you’re curious to learn more about how to engage your members, increase member retention, and why you probably don’t have an average member, be sure to check out the full webinar. We address all of these and dive deeper into how you can change course. We also give you tangible action items that you can start implementing right now.
If you’re left wanting more, we do offer workshops twice a month.
Get more tips on increasing member engagement! Watch our podcast with Elizabeth Dove on creating engaging programs.