Many people join associations to meet other professionals in their field and take advantage of valuable networking opportunities. For these people, the cost of the membership is greatly justified by the value that the association brings, whether it’s through continued learning courses or large conferences with important speakers.
However, with COVID-19 pushing people to stay home and all in-person engagements on indefinite pause, many associations are unsure of how to continue bringing that same value to their members and fear increased membership attrition rates.
While you likely had to cancel or postpone upcoming events or activities, your association can still effectively engage its members and provide meaningful experiences—just in a different way. Consider how you can leverage your online tools and association management platform to replicate the value derived from the in-person engagements you’ve provided before.
By focusing on digital engagements and online opportunities, your association can still provide value to your members. Read on to learn the different tactics and strategies you can implement to ensure association membership renewal:
No one could have predicted what 2020 would bring and how the impacts would affect all areas of society. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re left with nothing. With the right tools and software supporting your efforts, it’s possible to show the value of your membership.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.
While this is a confusing and hectic time for everyone, including your members, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to hear from you. If your association has longevity, you should already have a dedicated email strategy. This likely involves a recurring newsletter announcing upcoming events and classes as well as more targeted communications like payment confirmations or membership renewal reminders.
In times of turmoil, it’s more crucial than ever to flesh out your communication strategy and ensure that you’re still providing your members with meaningful content. This includes important updates, valuable information, and digital engagement opportunities.
Investing in dedicated communications tools is one of the best ways to keep your association organized and stay on track. This way, you know what emails are being sent out, who opens the email, and more, depending on the solution you have. To maximize your communications strategy, make sure you have the following capabilities:
Maintaining consistent communication is crucial to ensuring your members don’t start lapsing, especially during times of turmoil like now. Make sure you’re fully leveraging all the tools you have to best reach your members with the right content.
One of the top reasons why people consistently renew their association memberships is due to the networking and engagement opportunities with other professionals in their field. Whatever industry your association caters to, conferences and other in-person events are the most popular ways for members to interact with each other.
However, with stay at home orders and social distancing guidelines, these opportunities for engagement are not currently feasible.
Using your association management software system, consider ways you can curate these experiences online rather than in-person. This way, you can continue to build your association community and show members that there is still value there.
Consider the following methods:
Even though your members can’t interact in person, there are still plenty of ways your association can provide a dedicated online space for engagement. Members can still take advantage of your association’s network, increasing their engagement and chances of them renewing.
As we’ve already discussed, in-person meetings and large events are out of the question for the foreseeable future. While this may have disappointed your association as well as your members, it doesn’t mean you have to wait months to offer these types of engagements.
Consider virtual alternatives instead. With the right software solution and online tools, it’s entirely possible to create a virtual event that is just as engaging as an in-person one.
Virtual events have been on the rise for a while and have become quite popular for organizations and businesses alike. If you’ve ever attended an online seminar or had a meeting over video chat, you’re already familiar with the basic tools of a virtual event.
What types of experiences can your association host digitally? Consider the following examples:
All of these events can easily be converted to the online space using video tools and a virtual event platform. To get a better idea of the types of virtual events that your members would like to see and engage with, take a look at past events and other data within your CRM.
According to this article, your data gives you a big clue to possible engagement efforts. For instance, if many of your members enjoyed a conference you held last year, consider offering a virtual one this year! Or, if many of your members are seeking the same certification or credits, try offering an official online course dedicated to that.
Make sure you have tools that can integrate (or are native to each other) to ensure that no data gets lost. This is especially crucial if you need to quickly pivot your in-person event to a virtual one. This way, all registration and past event data is automatically available within your virtual event tools and ready for use. To learn more about how software can drastically level-up your virtual offerings, check out this Fonteva article on virtual events.
As you can tell, your association management software is key to many of these engagements and efforts. Your tools and CRM system are how you collect and monitor important data on your members and various association efforts. By tracking and using this data, you can also pinpoint patterns and create insights to determine those members who are at risk of not renewing.
How can you use data to determine this fact? With key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are strategic metrics that your association can set to track overall progress towards quantifiable goals. For instance, if your goal is to improve your social media presence, consider tracking the amount of traffic your social media accounts get based on likes, follows, and comments.
In this case, your goal is to decrease your member attrition rate. To determine the types of KPIs you should set and track, first brainstorm the metrics that indicate members losing interest. Consider the following:
Set these KPIs and make sure to track them over time. This way, you get a good idea as to how your members are currently feeling. Members that are at risk to not renew will likely be lapsing in one of these engagements.
From there, make a list of members at-risk for attrition and start prioritizing those relationships even more. Consider contacting them by phone (if they aren’t opening emails) to ask if there’s anything they’d like changed or if there’s anything in particular that they want offered. This way, you can start the dialogue and show them that your association is working hard to bring them value.
This guide isn’t just helpful for times of crisis like during a global pandemic. You’ll likely be facing this struggle each year as membership renewal dates approach. By following our tips and best practices, you’re sure to increase member retention and better understand how to meet their needs. Good luck!
Jake Fabbri is the Vice President of Marketing at Fonteva with over 18 years of experience working in marketing management. He has experience with lead generation, content marketing, marketing automation, and events.