Relationships Are the Key to Successful Member Loyalty: Here is How to Create Them
The modern association has a wealth of tools and technologies available to it that make managing and maintaining memberships easier and more effective than ever before. Yet, associations have always and will continue to be built on forging quality relationships with members. The good news is that the technology in the digital age makes relationship building more effective and more efficient. Each digital channel like Facebook, Google, email etc. offers associations new opportunities to create digital touch points, points of contact between associations and (potential) members.
Today’s associations have more members, wider coverage, and a busier membership. That makes the task of reaching members much more difficult. However, members being busier doesn’t mean they don’t want to be in contact with their associations at all, but it has to be timely, relevant and delivered through those new channels. Modern members also demand more directed and individualized content. Many associations focus efforts on various member benefits and reward programs to encourage members to be active while unengaged members are often neglected. Thankfully, there is a way to reach both groups. Using the digital marketing and member engagement tools available, associations can continue servicing its active members while also finding new ways of engaging those who are not.
Here is how you do it: Reward Programs and Benefits in Combination with Digital Marketing
When it comes to enticing existing members to renew their memberships, offering benefits and/or rewards is an incredibly useful strategy. Advertising and offering a free online course in exchange for a membership registration/renewal creates enhanced value and urgency. Recording an online course is easier than ever with today’s smartphones and computers and uploading the content to an association’s LMS requires only a few clicks.
As a renewal tool, associations can do several things. Aside from offering access to a free online course with every renewal, associations can offer it as an incentive to renew a membership early. Free online courses can also be packaged or bundled in with older content to help incentivize less relevant materials. Associations can provide bundles of courses for free with renewals to help shore up numbers for the upcoming year as well. And the best thing: It also works for individuals that are not members yet.
Reaching your members and non-members: Member Marketing
Creating useful and attractive content is only half the battle for associations. The other half is having the right people see the material at the right time. Potential members are always online, but reaching them requires a smart online marketing strategy. The most successful associations advertise benefits and rewards programs, such as free online courses, through all online channels, including email, Facebook and Google ads. While many potential members are receptive to these online channels, some require a more personalized or direct touch. Knowing who falls into which group is important.
Some of the best online marketing tools allow associations to focus their efforts on specific groups. Facebook ads, for instance, enable the advertiser to show certain ads to members only. More importantly, they don’t need to like your organization’s page to see your ads. You can match your member data with Facebook profiles in Facebook’s advertising settings. This eliminates ad money wasted on people who don’t fit the target audience. Additionally, many email providers now provide tools that allow associations to send email blasts to large groups while still personalizing the email. Furthermore, remarketing tools provide associations with the ability to reach out to former online visitors of your website. The subject and intensity of the ads can be determined by where and what the visitor was most interested in. Finally, when these methods don’t convert a registration, associations can also call or reach out to the person directly via phone. While more involved and time-consuming, this approach might be what it takes to convert more traditional members.
Digital Member Engagement
The member marketing strategies are not only for existing members. Each of these tools can be used to engage new members as well. Since social media is used by almost everyone, having an associational presence on Facebook is a must. Within Facebook, users can contact the association directly and vice versa. This social media presence also provides a platform for the association to initiate discussions and post materials that the (potential) member might be interested in. Every one of these so-called digital touchpoints helps solidify a relationship between member and association. Similarly, email marketing and remarketing is a great way for associations to reach out to members in an unobtrusive manner, offering useful deals and packages, reminding them of important associational dates, and even advertising new and upcoming content that could be of interest to them. Member engagement is a continual process that involves staying present in a member’s network without becoming a nuisance.
Now that the association has initiated steady engagement touch points and member marketing strategies, the next step is to ensure that it is learning from the information gathered in these efforts. Within each of the channels used, analytical information is made available. More importantly, with each ad or post, the visitor should be sent to a specific landing page on the association’s web page. These visits or touch points are collected and tracked. The right Association Management System with member touchpoint tracking allows organizations to see who exactly is engaging with each touch point and how. This information details how effective the initiatives were, who clicked on what, who was responsive, and who was not. Associations that react to this information are able to revise ineffectual marketing campaigns and engagement efforts. Perhaps most importantly, this information informs associations on which members, potential or existing, are not being influenced. It might be that these individuals require a more hands-on approach. If done right, you easily will see an increase in member renewals of 25% and more. Let us know if you need help.