Every association wants to provide members with value, benefits, and support. However, if a member isn’t active or engaged, they may not even know what your association offers. It’s up to the association to attract its members’ attention and keep them engaged with the organization. If that relationship is fragile, it likely comes down to communication troubles
Here are some effective communication strategies to improve association member engagement.
Strategy #1: Be Direct and Have a Goal for Every Communication
Associations should not send spam messages to their members. Make every message relevant to the member and have a goal for each. Your objective may be to educate, congratulate, encourage feedback, or advise them of an upcoming event. Depending on the purpose, the tone and tactics must be adjusted accordingly.
Strategy #2: Continually Optimize Your Communications
Your communications may involve sending emails, leaving phone messages, posting on social media, or sending out flyers. Change what you’re doing if you haven’t received a suitable response. Look at your analytics. Identify whether a communication strategy works.
If not, switch to another tactic. Be smart with your plans. Never assume that every process will work perfectly. The data from your association management system will tell you.
Strategy #3: Communicate with Your Members by Their Preferred Method
Some members are likelier to read, click, and respond to an email, while others are better served by a text, phone call, or social media post. If you want to engage your members, choose their preferred communication method. This will make it more likely that they will click beyond the message, allowing your CTA to work as intended. Use of membership software can greatly help in this area.
Strategy #4: Get Your Communication Out Everywhere
In addition to using a member’s preferred communication method, get your information out everywhere. For an outreach event, please post it on social media, email marketing, and your website. This way, if a member doesn’t see it in one place, they may see it in another. This maximizes event awareness and helps you get the most eyes on what you’re communicating.
Strategy #5: Understand Why a Member Has Joined
You will want to know why a member became a member. You can get this information via a short survey, during sign-up, or the onboarding process. Some may be there for continued education, networking, specific benefits, or to show support. Understanding the rationale behind each membership will help you make better-informed decisions.
Strategy #6: Provide Access to Relevant Content and Resources
Sometimes, a quick email with your latest well-researched blog post is all you need to pull a member back to your website. As an association, beef up your resources with member-relevant content. This will likely involve segmenting your members into groups. Then, use targeted, personalized messaging to maximize communication potential.
Strategy #7: Keep Interactions Short, Easy, and Fun
Don’t complicate the process if you want a member to sign up for an event, register for a course, or renew their membership. Make it easy. Forms should be simple and short. In some associations, up to 54% of members abandon their memberships when renewal takes too long or seems too complicated. If you want engagement and interactivity, keep everything accessible.
Strategy #8: Offer Professional Networking Opportunities
Offer networking opportunities for members to get to know one another. They can use these events to make relationships in the community with non-members. Corporate events, trade shows, and networking events can be self-hosted, or your association may be one of several brands participating. Either way, invite your members and allow them to engage with your association or others.
Strategy #9: Always Highlight Member Engagement Benefits
When you schedule something like an event, do more than mention the time, date, and location. Instead, be specific about the benefits of engaging and attending. Promote if there is free food, what the entertainment will be, what perks will be there, what the weather might be like, if they can bring a friend, and more. Communication is more than sharing information. It’s a chance to highlight what awaits a member if they perform your call-to-action.
Strategy #10: Acknowledge Engagement and Thank Them
Any time a member engages, such as at an event, thank them for their time. Association member engagement is challenging to keep up with for some who are busy with personal and professional matters. The member feels valued by acknowledging, appreciating, and encouraging them to repeat this action in the future. They become more likely to re-engage and will think of your ‘thank you’ the next time they are asked to participate.