Memberships Matter – Make the most of Your Membership Program.
To operationalize Member Success Management, you must proactively intervene in the appropriate way for that member segment (a mix of technology and human touches; the “appropriate” part will dictate the ratios) in order to get them to do the things they need to do to move from one Success Milestone to the next. If they do those things, great; they’re on their way to being successful.
If they don’t do those things, however, you need to change-up or escalate your intervention actions to get them to ‘take action’.
Intervention can be done a timed basis (after x number of days send an email, or every three months do a Member Success follow-up – usually a direct call to the member). It can also be based on data (the member is not doing what they need to do to move to the next Success Milestone), or certain event triggers set off by an action the member does take, but which does not move them toward their next milestone (this may not necessarily be a bad thing, it just moves them sideways, or keeps them satisfied with their membership, while not really moving them toward the goal of their Desired Outcome).
Intervention should really be part of the Member Onboarding experience. Onboarding is key for a couple of things:
Member Success – they reach their Desired Outcome, and it also engages them early with the specific resource or tool that brought them to membership; The sooner you do this, the sooner they reach their ROI with you and become a Raving Fan® which spurs organic growth.
Member Retention – They are more apt to stay members, longer when they see you as the go-to resource for reaching their Appropriate Experience.
New Member Onboarding is critical to retention. Statistics show that it costs 7x more to obtain a new member into an association and that first-year members have the lowest retention rates.
Onboarding is more than simply sending out a welcome packet and adding them to your association’s email list – it’s an ongoing process that relies on deliberate communication and engagement. It’s not just something you do for the first week – or even month – of the membership. It is a process that covers the entire first year of membership, then continues on for at least the first 3 years to solidify the member and the ROI of membership in their minds. Look, you MUST treat every member as if they are your ONLY member – make them feel important.
Why New Member Onboarding is crucial for Associations
Impact – Members are new, motivated, and excited
Attention – You have their attention and one chance to set the tone
Retention – First-year members have the lowest renewal rates
The Onboarding & Touchpoint Schedule:
Onboarding is a process that is worth investing in. Use this timeline as a guideline to help new members become engaged with your organization and build a membership meant to last.
Member onboarding involves more than a checklist. A touch plan to improve onboarding and engagement builds a strong foundation for long-term membership.
Week 1 (first 7 days) –
- Send a Welcome email.
- Mail out the New Member Packet.
- Call the member (even if you’ve already spoken a dozen times) and Welcome them to the association.
- Enter them into the marketing funnel (if just being in the database isn’t enough).
Week 3 (Days 14-21) –
- Email them instructions on how to access member benefits*.
- Call them with an event invitation.
*Remember what the initial reason the member joined for – what was it that brought them to the decision to join? If it was a specific benefit, tool or resource, you’ll need to act on this in week one and get them up and going as soon as possible. This may mean setting up a phone call, webinar, or even a face-to-face meeting to give an overview, instruction, and training on using the benefit that brought them on board.
Week 6 (Day 45) –
- Make a call-in to the member to see how things are going; Has the primary reason for joining been addressed with a solution/tool/benefit? How is it working for them? Do they see a marked improvement? Are there still ancillary needs to be addressed?
- Email a reminder of the other benefits and resources available to them – be proactive and inquire which one might be the next to tackle?
3 Months –
- Analyze how they are using their membership; How many times have they logged in? What services are they using? Have they registered/attended any events yet? What’s not working well / at all for them?
- Make sure they are receiving ALL association regular marketing: Newsletters, email blasts, etc. DO they need a specific archived article or web link sent to address one of their issues? Have they been able to navigate around the member website and find what they need?
4 Months –
- Be sure they have pertinent information about the association’s committees and events. Inquire if they would like to participate soon with a committee or have questions or topics they’d like to have the committee address with them or the membership/industry at large.
6 Months –
- Send a 6 mos. Member check-in survey; Be sure to include the critical One Question: Would you recommend our association and a membership to one of your peers?
- Email them a reminder of how to engage in the association’s online community/forum/ social media pages.
8 Months –
- Contact the member with volunteer opportunities.
- Extend another personal invite to an upcoming event – Engagement with the association’s events and activities in the first year in which the member can place value in will go a long way to ensuring that they will renew again in the new year.
10 Months –
- Make a Pre-renewal phone call to the member to gauge their interest in continuing their membership with the association.
11 Months –
- Mail a membership benefit reminder statement.
12 Months –
- Send them a membership renewal notice.
- Send an annual Membership survey*
*It is KEY to send these two items separately – experience has shown when they arrive together, typically the survey is put aside for later, but then it is forgotten about and most times never completed or returned.
The onboarding cycle should continue for Year 1, Year 2, and Year 3+ Members.
Exceeding Member Expectations
- Be a person, not just an organization, to your members.
- When it comes to communications, build a relationship with a new member before putting them in the email marketing cycle.
Consider these Questions
- What was their reason for joining?
- How did you attract them in the first place?
The answers will guide you in managing new-member expectations and demonstrating your association’s value.
You’ll likely intervene based on a mix of all of those factors, and the actions or events for intervention (email, call, in-person meeting, etc.) will be determined by the Appropriate Experience of the member (see Segmentation).
“Memberships are the most important asset in our industry today. Are you making the most of your membership program? Is it growing your organization? Are you putting enough resources into growing your member base? Do you have a targeted plan for Recruiting, Engaging, and Retaining your members? We can help.” – Andrew McElhannon, CEO – Association Project Management, LLC®.
APM® helps member-based organizations & professional Trade Associations achieve Member Success, stabilize their member retention and guarantee membership growth through Prospect Development and Member Recruitment, as well as Member Engagement and Concierge Onboarding.
Organizations implement APM’s® programs to sustain their current revenue, reduce losses due to Churn (member non-renewal) and generate new revenue by creating Raving Fans® who evangelize new members that over time becomes automatic, organic growth. “Members begetting Members”.
Association Project Management, LLC® also provides a list of other project management and project completion services through a virtual staff member – a committed, trusted expert who helps to reduce costs, lower risks, improve efficiencies, meet deadlines, solve challenging problems, support strategic initiatives and produce better outcomes for your association staff. Visit them today at www.associationprojectmanagement.com