For any organization or association with a membership program, remaining engaged and involved with your members is vital. Successful engagement is the fuel that drives you to reach your company’s core mission. Attracting members initially is, of course, essential, but keeping them is a whole different ballgame. Building a robust community of loyal members will allow you to reach your audience consistently and fulfill your main objectives, as well as maintaining a relevant, engaged audience for promotions. All of this to say: member engagement is essential to increasing your reach and your revenue.
Finding the right strategy for your association will depend on various factors, and the resulting game plan will be different for everyone. If you are hosting your membership community in an exclusively online capacity, for example, you will need to ensure that members have access to various channels of communication, a member directory, and forums/member-managed groups through your online platform.
Here are three top tips to keep your members engaged:
- Setting Goals and Intentions
Christine Brown, a marketer at Academized and OXEssays, suggests: “Before you even think about developing a strategy, ask yourself this: Why are your members with you? You need to provide opportunities to fulfill your audience’s main needs, whatever they may be.” The three most common reasons members join online associations are educational purposes, philanthropy, or social/professional networking.
Decide what services, products, information, or access to events or promotions you are going to offer your members, and let this be the driving force for developing your membership engagement strategy.
If you are offering educational services, you will need to ensure your courses/resources are easy to access and interface with to stay ahead of this field’s competition. This could include online lectures, webinars, webcasts, or other formats of teaching/learning for members and assessments, evaluations, examinations, and, consequently, awards and certifications.
One major motivating element of membership is philanthropic efforts – members want to feel proud and positive about their associated organization. It also fosters community, teamwork, intimacy, and productivity.
- Finding the right strategy
Now that you know your intentions and goals for your membership services, you can begin to create an effective strategy for continuous engagement.
This starts with new members – welcome new additions with plenty of information, so they know exactly what to expect regarding communications, available resources, and more services.
Personalization is also vital – ensure members receive custom content and unique messages/offers, such as on their birthday or anniversary of their membership. But personalization goes both ways – allow members to customize their experience with you through communication preferences, user interface, and any other elements which can be made adjustable.
To provide such personal services, you first have to know your audience. Do market research to understand your target members’ persona and use this data to provide services that fit their needs and preferences and stand above the competition.
While some more specific techniques for improving member engagement are time-specific, many are always applicable. Engaging on social media with existing and potential members continuously is one such method, including sharing personal member stories for authenticity.
- Keeping members engaged
Once you have a good community of members, you have to keep them engaged. This means maintaining consistent communication with each member and regular communication from the company to the entire membership community (i.e., announcements, promotions, tips, news, special events, special mentions, competitions, awards, etc.).
“In addition to this, ensure your membership services include not only one-off special events and announcements but also features and resources which offer daily benefits and opportunities,” says William Baines, a business writer at Paper Fellows and BoomEssays. This means posting content regularly, regular communication, and offering services that are always available and enticing to members.
Digital marketing is a critical element of this: adopt a multi-faceted approach by contacting members through a range of digital platforms to keep them updated and engaged, including email, social media, and mobile app notifications. Take advantage of tools like automated marketing programs to achieve this.