Top challenges this summer are in membership
One of the key challenges that I've heard all summer surrounds membership. The two-fold challenge of how do we grow? and how can we do a better job of limiting year 1 to year 2 attrition seems to be the key focus area for many associations right now. We are spending a ton of time working with organizations to re-think this two-fold challenge and apply social marketing principles and digital marketing techniques to arrive at unique solutions.
the secret challenges no one wants to admit
For most membership organizations, there are actually more than two problems. There is a very big elephant-in-the-room set of challenges that few organizations are comfortable discussing. Namely:
1) How well do we currently know the consumption patterns and user behavior of our current membership?
2) How well do we really understand generational splits and tastes & preferences, cultural references and lifestyles of our membership?
3) How well are we spending the time we have to strategize on membership campaigns to help us overcome our challenges?
Your association is sitting on a gold mine. The mine is your Association Management System(AMS), and the gold is the member data within it. All the information that you have already gathered about your members can be used to greatly increase engagement rates with them. Using this data can also increase your overall membership numbers. Angie Karpouzis, at Aptify, has written an article on how to best utilize your existing member data in order to better understand who your members are, and what they need.
Communities can be an excellent tool for increasing member retention and acquisition. This is true only if your members find value in being a part of your community. By being responsive to their concerns, you improve their experience and increase your value to them. In order to be responsive to your members needs, you first need to discover what those needs are. By watching their conversations and looking for common themes, you can learn what your members are thinking and anticipate what they need. Heather McNair, at Higher Logic, has written an article that describes in detail how to predict your members needs and then address those needs with relevant content.
With the growth of technology, you have the abilty to accumulate massive amounts of data about your members. Your members know this and so they expect more personalized interactions with you. This vast amount of data can seem overwhelming, but if you analyze it strategically, you can discover who your super members are. Super members are members within your association who are already engaged and interacting in ways that drive retention and attract new members. These super members are key, and by better understanding who they are, you can work with them to increase member engagement. Our partner, Abila, has a good article, written by Kim Sorin, on the four steps to measure member engagement and discover who your super members are.
One of the main goals for any association is keeping membership levels high. Recruiting new members and retaining current members requires multiple strategies. If you're feeling pressure to boost member engagement and increase membership, here is a helpful article from our partner Aptify. The article, written by Jennifer Barrell, gives six proven strategies to increase member engagement. The strategies range from the use of metrics, social media, and member forums to utilizing segmentation, responsive web design, and education. The article explains each strategy and why they work.
Lately it seems all we hear about is the necessity of honing our digital marketing skills and strategies. While keeping up with digital trends is essential, we can't forget the basics, email marketing. Our partner, Personify, has written a really good article reminding us of three email marketing fundamentals we should all have locked down. They are campaign testing, database segmentation, and message personalization. This article explains why these fundamentals are important for truly effective email campaigns.