Member engagement is at the forefront of association communications and marketing strategies for 2023, What worked 10 years ago may not be effective now, and there is no better time to implement new member engagement and communication tactics in your long-term strategic plan.
Wondering on how to further engage your community in 2023? Here are 5 basic tactics that your association should have in place to support member engagement:
1. Consistent and Strategic Communications
When people think of member communications, they often jump immediately to email communications. But newsletters aren’t the only way to get in touch with your audience and shouldn’t be the only tool in your strategic plan.
While newsletters are effective and should be a part of your association’s strategy, according to Mailchimp, the general average for open rates across industries they analyzed is 21.33%, but this will vary by industry and association. Read their full breakdown. It’s safe to say, no matter the industry, 40-70% of your audience isn’t even getting your message in their inbox.
Consistent and clear communication is key, and your message needs to be delivered in a variety of ways. Don’t wait for your audience to come to you - go to where they are. Social media is an extremely effective tool, especially for those looking to increase membership among young and mid-career professionals. If your audience isn’t on social media, consider implementing a calling program to ensure communications remain strong. Whatever your message, ensure it is delivered on a platform that makes sense.
2. Create Relevant, Relatable and Meaningful Content
Members appreciate content that is relevant and relatable to them. If you’re consistently sending out marketing promotions to members or listing out member benefits on your social media channels, you may not see as much engagement in return. While these are important elements to a full 360-degree content strategy, they’re not all your association is about. You have an entire community to promote and celebrate!
Be sure to engage and celebrate your members through your communications. Work in a member profile in your social media content, share a positive experience a member had at one of your events. These personal touches add personality and faces to your association, and show members (and potential members) all the incredible things within the organization.
3. Regular Meet-ups and Events (Online & In-Person)
Offering members an opportunity to connect will increase the attachment members have to your organization. Members join associations to feel a part of a wider community, and it’s a part of an association’s value proposition to offer these connection opportunities for everyone. We are now even better positioned to offer these touch points with the addition of virtual points of connection.
While offering the opportunity to connect is one aspect, communicating it and having members attend is another. Consider the following when organizing these activities:
Personal invitations to a targeted group of people who can relate with one another (young professionals, mid-level professionals, CEOs and executives, etc.)
Encourage Board members to run these meet-ups, ensuring conversation runs steadily. Having a Board member or two to host will entice others to attend.
Have these meet-ups in person and online, offering options for all.
Ensure your larger events have slotted time for networking and member meetings
4. Promote Opportunities to Get Involved
Associations wouldn’t be possible without dedicated and engaged volunteers. Be sure to promote all volunteer opportunities to your entire membership, and create opportunities for members to get involved. Associations should regularly re-evaluate their volunteer positions and create opportunities outside of the Board and committees.
How you engage with volunteers is an entirely different communications strategy that also requires thought and planning. If you’re looking for tips specifically on volunteer engagement, visit our Top 5 Practices to Engage Your Volunteers in a Post-Pandemic World blog post.
5. Recognize and Reward Members
Recognizing and rewarding members for their success is another excellent engagement tool. Awards, member recognition callouts and general promotion of the talent within your membership not only will engage members, but present your association as a thought-leader in your industry, filled with highly-knowledgeable individuals who are successful in their area of expertise. If you don’t have the resources to implement an awards program, highlight member success on social media and within your communications/on your website.
How to reach and engage members should be an ongoing discussion at your association. Without retaining current members and introducing your organization to potential new members, your organization will dwindle over time.
If you’re looking for member engagement support for your association, contact us!