Member engagement is the key to retention.
You’ve undoubtedly heard that more than you care to. But how do you engage with members? What’s the magic potion?
Keep reading to find out…
Okay, there isn’t one single magic button to press but the good news is that there are a number of activities you can put in place to make sure your members (and future members) feel valued and appreciate their own return on investment in their membership.
We’ve broken these engagement activities into three categories: future member engagement ideas, new member ideas, and established member engagement ideas.
The First Assumption of Member Engagement
We are going to cover your recruitment processes. We’ll assume you have your ideal/most successful member
This is extremely important to member engagement.
If you are recruiting the wrong type of member, you won’t be as effective in engaging them. For instance, let’s take a social example. If your idea of a perfect night is a good book and a cup of good coffee in a quiet living room, stretched out in front of the fire, a sold-out monster truck rally in a large stadium with terrible acoustics is likely not going to rank on your best experience ever. In fact, while you might be open to trying
Just because you don’t enjoy it, doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. But it also means that someone who’s trying to sell you tickets after you went to your first one is going to have a lot harder time selling to you (even with discounted tickets) than someone who really likes that kind of thing and finds value in it.
That’s why engagement begins in knowing what member type is your most reliable and loyal demographic. How many years have they been in business? How many employees do they have? What kinds of industry are they in? Knowing this type of demographic information can help you recognize them.
We all have but 24 hours in a day and it’s assumed that some of that time will be spent sleeping. Because of that, it’s essential that you concentrate the time you do have working on the chamber’s behalf to recruiting those you are most able to engage and connect with.
Future Member Engagement Ideas
You need to begin engaging this group before they even become
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Focus on engaging social media posts. That means they don’t have to be all business. Look to inspire, entertain, or educate and you’ll get more shares. Most social media experts suggest an 80/20 or 90/10 split between shares of things that aren’t about the chamber directly and chamber info. Nobody likes someone who’s always talking about themselves.
- Use the Facebook pixel to ensure people get your message and get the most value when they visit your site in the future.
- Listen on social media. Listen for people talking about the chamber, visiting the area, talking about their business and community, and professional happenings. Add value whenever possible. If you stumble across some good news, share it and congratulate the person involved.
- Follow future members. If someone has suggested they are interested in the chamber, but aren’t ready to join (or are still deciding), follow them and connect with them on social media. That way you can stay in touch, remain top of mind, and, like the idea above, share their good news and accomplishments.
- Give away lots of content. Most people do their own research before making a buying decision. In fact, there are many people who are considering membership who never speak to a chamber membership director. If you don’t have content that can help them see the value in chamber membership, you’re missing an opportunity. While an article on “Why You Should Join the Chamber” is a good start, you need more than that. Create valuable content and give it all away.
- Ask if they want to receive your newsletter. Some chambers’ newsletters are members only. What better way to show people what you do and the value you offer than by staying in touch through a newsletter, which is ripe with reasons on why your chamber is amazing without you having to say it directly.
New Member Engagement
These members have just joined and they’re in the honeymoon phase.
Time to show them some love with these ideas:
- Design a formal onboarding program that delights new members.
- Offer a mentee opportunity to new members looking for assistance in a particular area. Whenever possible try to match similar backgrounds or find a mentor that overcame the same type of struggle.
- Conduct a welcome interview, call, or visit by a staff member or ambassador to help acquaint the new member with the chamber and its offerings. Sometimes the new member won’t think of all of their questions at the onboarding event. Something may come up afterward. Make this point of contact after they’ve been members for a few weeks and attended the onboarding session. Don’t overwhelm by doing it all in a span of days. Look for multiple opportunities to connect spread out over their first year.
- Give them a questionnaire/survey of the things they’re most interested in learning about or the problems they have as a business. When you ask someone how things are going, they’re programmed to respond with “fine.” Dig deeper and give them suggestions of what the chamber might help with. Often the new member doesn’t know all the services and connections you have that they could take advantage of.
Keeping Established Members Engaged
This group is often the one that most people forget about. They’re the good child of the chamber. They’re not at the greatest risk of non-renewal. They’re not a new sale. They’ve been with you forever. Where are they going to go? But it does happen.
Where would you be if your most loyal members left? Don’t take them for granted. Engaging with them is easier than you think.
- Ask your crowd. This group probably knows you better than you know yourself. Well, almost. Consider opportunities for them to give you feedback by crowdsourcing ideas and programs. People tend to support things they have a say in creating.
- Get them involved in your newsletter or other content creation. Yes, people are busy but if you approach them directly with a specific idea that benefits them in some way, they’re more apt to say yes. Have they been working on branding themselves as a speaker or a subject matter expert? Then approach them about doing a lunch and learn or…
- Recruit mentors. As we mentioned earlier with the new member mentee program, they need a mentor. Speak to those who have long been supporters of the chamber. Conversely, there might be something an established member is interested in learning. Maybe you can offer the reverse for them as well.
- Conduct business visits. Bring them a special treat and say “thank you for your investment in the chamber.” That unexpected delight can make them smile all day. Just make sure you are respectful of their business and don’t go during peak hours.
- Conduct a business check-up. Hopefully, by the time they have been members this long, they trust you. Have an open conversation about what both of you could be doing to get more out of your exchanges. Be the assistance they need. Keep in mind, if they’ve been a member for a while, the original reason they joined the chamber (that you likely know) may not be the reason they stay. Take the time to find out what’s changed and where they’re headed.
- Do some research on their industry and have a conversation about where they think the industry as a whole is headed. Find out if there’s anything you can help with as they navigate those changes. Some industries and businesses have been hit exceptionally hard with some of the consumer preferences that are becoming more prevalent, just ask a magazine publisher. There may not be anything you can do to save their industry directly but you might be able to help them learning something new, get in contact with someone who could be influential, or help them seek funding to expand their current venture into something that is more in line with buyer preferences.
- Help them give back. Many times an established business professional is looking for ways to give back but finding the right cause can be time-consuming. Giving back is important for the person who wants to do it and their business. Many customers want to know that the businesses they support are “doing good.” You are in a remarkable position to help them find their ideal volunteer role, whether with the chamber or beyond.
These engagement ideas are a start but the best engagement comes from knowing what your intended audience wants and then helping them make it happen. How can you help those around the chamber? Look for ways to connect them for mutual benefit through
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