When your members can be found all over your state, country or the world, it’s difficult to maintain a strong member experience.
Your members located at the furthest reaches of your network are like that one friend from college who moved across the country — never to be seen again. Sure, you can send them emails, invite them to events or show up on their social media feed from time to time, but what good is that really doing anyone?
Unlike that college friend, your members pay dues. They actually want to be involved with your association, so much so that they pay for it.
With that in mind, we took to Associations Now to offer a few pieces of advice to boost your face-to-face member engagement and build a better member experience. We’ll recap the following lessons in further detail here:
- Personalize Outreach
- Visit Chapters or Small Member Groups in Person
- Make the Most of Association Events
- Create Online Communities
Protech’s Guide to Building a Better Member Experience
1 – Personalize Member Outreach, but Not Too Much
Does your association serve a diverse group of members? Then you probably don’t want to send the same old communications to everyone on your marketing lists.
Higher Logic recently outlined some takeaways from Adobe’s email marketing study, declaring your association is at risk of something truly heinous: being deemed annoying.
Our takeaways from both Higher Logic’s blog post and Adobe’s study: don’t attempt to over-personalize and be sure to always deliver relevant content.
Remember, this blog post is about building the types of member experiences which will lead to more renewals. Not only more renewals, but more member referrals. If you’re irritating your members with emails featuring incorrect personal data or irrelevant content, why would they renew? And why would they refer a colleague to join?
2 – Visit Chapters & Groups in Person
How many members has your team actually met in person? Not many? That could be a problem.
Rather than trying to have 1,000 painfully awkward small talk sessions with 1,000 different members at your next annual meeting, try interacting with chapters or smaller groups of members in a manner they’d prefer.
According to a post on Forbes, 97 percent of meeting attendees prefer communicating in groups of 10 or fewer. Communicate this way with your members and you’ll faster a sense of community they’ve yet to find with your association.
It’s not really you they want to meet with. More opportunities to interact in smaller groups with each other is what they truly want. You and your team just happen to be the best facilitators to make those meetings happen.
3 – Maximize Opportunities at Your Annual Conference
While it’s great to visit chapters or small groups of members individually, it’s not exactly the most feasible strategy. And there’s no denying that your annual event or conference is your best chance to connect with members.
That said, these are more likely the folks who already enjoy the member experience provided by your association. That’s why they showed up. Still, it’s obviously a lot easier to retain existing members than it is to find new ones. So here’s are a few things to try:
- First, set up networking receptions to allow members to connect with each other and industry thought leaders.
- Second, set up roundtable discussions that provide value.
- Third, give members who can’t attend your events the option to watch select conference sessions online.
4 – Encourage Participation in Online Communities
There will always be the people who never get the face-to-face member experience. This is where your online community comes in.
Alliance by Protech association management software naturally integrates with the Higher Logic’s platform to make this easy (we also use Higher Logic as the platform for our Protech Users Group). It’s a great way for members — or in our case, customers — to ask and answer questions to help one another maximize their productivity.
For members on the fringe, an online community is a great passive and active engagement resource. It’ll sit waiting until they’re ready to use it, and once they’re ready, they can take advantage of the added resource as often as they want. And once they are engaged, your online community serves as a great option to build member experiences for those who can’t attend events on a regular basis.
Final Thoughts on Member Experience
Face-to-face member engagement is hard. But the most difficult things in life are often the most rewarding.
While you’re planning to take on your new member engagement strategy, remember that some aspects of member engagement can be made a whole lot easier.
With an easy-to-use AMS interface or simple, actionable data visualizations, you’re association leaders will have everything they need to make quick, informed decisions. Click the image below to request a demo of Alliance by Protech today to learn how you can empower your association with the data needed to improve the experience for each and every member.