The complete guide to elevating your association’s member engagement strategy

Are you looking for strategies to enhance member engagement at your organization? If so, you’re not alone!

Members play an integral role in your association. When you create personalized and exciting member experiences, you can boost their engagement levels. Developing a member engagement strategy will deepen the connection between your members and your organization.

Read on to learn strategies to elevate member engagement at your association.

What is member engagement and why is it important for associations?

Member engagement tracks how connected your members are to your association. It’s a strategy that associations use to keep members engaged, informed, and motivated to continue their membership.

Member engagement measures how many activities, messages, or processes occur between a member and organization. This strategy is used to nurture member relationships, deepen connections, and increase value and retention.

Because no two associations are alike, member engagement strategy looks different for each association. Taking the time to determine your own member engagement benchmarks will be very helpful to decide the best way forward for your association’s member engagement strategy.

4 components of successful member engagement strategies

If you want to improve your association member engagement strategy or implement a new one, begin by looking at the components of successful strategies.

Here are four essential factors in a successful membership engagement strategy:

1. Continuous

First, the best association member engagement strategies are continuously used and updated. By using your plan year-round, you can keep members engaged and interested in your association. When you take time to get to know members, they’ll feel respected and will be more likely to renew their membership for the following years.

2. Focused on members

Next, you should tailor your engagement strategies to your members’ needs. For instance, you should plan newsletters or activities that are relevant to members’ situations or interests. Many associations use members’ behavioral data to make their strategies more member-centric.

If you have a website or send out emails, you can analyze what links they click on or what pages are most popular. A member’s online habits can show their interests, which you can then integrate into an engagement strategy.

3. Uses multiple channels

Many successful strategies use a variety of connection methods. For instance, you could invite members to virtual events, encourage participation in an online community platform, or even make personal phone calls. Everyone has different preferences, so providing various ways to participate can boost overall engagement.

4. Innovative

Lastly, the best engagement plans are innovative. You must keep finding new and creative ways to appeal to your members. Your association’s needs might change, and it’s up to you to meet new demands.

How to evaluate your current member engagement performance

With those crucial components in mind, you can start evaluating your current engagement rates for your association. You can use your current rates to craft engagement goals for the future. For instance, you might have a goal to increase member retention rates or to raise your overall number of members.

Because associations can vary widely, the method you use to evaluate performance might differ. One of the best ways to get started is by examining the current engagement opportunities you offer.

For example, you might provide opportunities on platforms like:

  • Social media
  • Online community platform
  • Email marketing
  • In-person events
  • Learning seminars or panels

Track member engagement at each of these opportunities. You can keep track of attendance numbers and involvement, like how many members answer questions or suggest new ideas. Once you have these metrics, you can turn the data into actionable plans.

One way to transform data into a plan is with key performance indicators (KPIs). These metrics can help your association reach a quantifiable goal, such as an increased number of members. You can set member engagement KPIs based on your objectives.

For example, you could create a set of KPIs for your social media or online community platforms. Consider tracking how often you gain and lose followers, how much your followers engage with your posts, or which posts are the most popular. Once you have these KPIs, you can use them to set other quantifiable goals. For example, if you notice a particular type of post receives more engagement, you can create more posts similarly to boost engagement.

Common membership engagement challenges

As you start implementing a membership engagement plan, you might run into a few roadblocks. There are a variety of factors that could impede membership engagement, such as:

  • Lack of feedback
    You could also experience a lack of feedback from members. One of the best ways to enhance your engagement strategy is to ask for feedback from members about your current structures. For example, after you complete an activity, you could send a quick survey asking about their enjoyment. But if you don’t receive enough feedback, it can be challenging to find ways to improve.
  • Too many communication channels
    Many association leaders increase their communication when they feel like they don’t receive enough responses. But if you send too many messages, members could feel overwhelmed and decrease participation.

Membership engagement strategy examples

While there are many member engagement strategies available, they can vary by industry. The good news is this—whether you want to boost engagement or increase the overall number of members in your association, you’ll be sure to find a strategy that suits your needs.

Here are some engagement strategy examples:

  • Start advocacy campaigns
    Interest in advocacy is rising, especially among Gen Z and Millennial members. One way to interest more of your members is to start advocacy campaigns for topics that they feel passionate about. Have members create an entirely online advocacy campaign or carry it out in-person. If members work on a campaign they feel strongly about, they are more likely to engage and feel purposeful with their work.You can also consider using advocates or influencers to further engage your members in your mentoring programs. Any action you take with advocacy is sure to have lasting effects with your member engagement strategy.
  • Offer multiple membership levels
    Another engagement strategy idea is to switch up your membership levels. By establishing more than one option, members can get involved at the level at which they feel most comfortable. For instance, the first tier of membership might require less participation than the third tier. Members can choose the level that suits them best and will be more likely to engage when they feel comfortable.
  • Provide incentives and awards
    You can also start giving rewards and incentives for participating in events. Whether you offer gift cards, discounts on membership fees, or anything in between, members will strive to keep earning rewards, which could raise engagement levels.

How to engage members in developing your strategy

You can also involve your members during strategy development. Once you identify a member engagement strategy, seek out member feedback and listen to the responses. By listening to members, you can understand which benefits are most important to them and how well you have delivered these so far. Then, you can adapt your plan for maximized engagement.

Here are some ideas for engaging members during your plan:

  • Regularly read their comments in your online community.
  • Send them surveys to ask about their experience.
  • Set up a member advisory group and meet with them at least once or twice each year to get their input.

Establish a team that meets regularly to review the member feedback and determine how to fine-tune your benefits to provide a more engaging member experience.

How can technology improve member engagement?

The Community Brands research shows that technology plays a vital role in many associations. Members who view their organization as early adopters of technology are more satisfied, more connected, more likely to renew, and more likely to promote their organization.

This data suggests that a lack of technology could detract from your members’ experience. In turn, this trend could impact engagement and the long-term status of your association’s success.

Your association technology can help you close the gaps between the services members value and the experience you deliver. Leveling up your technology will increase member engagement and ultimately create more loyal members.

Member engagement software can streamline aspects of your engagement strategy. Choosing technology like association management software (AMS) can combine advanced solutions like membership management, event management, and more. Integrated solutions can provide comprehensive insights into your members, which can help you connect with them even further.

5 effective ways your AMS can increase member engagement

When it comes to improving member engagement and driving a superior member experience, your association will need innovative technology to help get the job done.

Look for the following features in your next AMS:

1. Online community

Build a bustling online member community and maximize membership value by providing a place for member connection and industry resources. Offering an online community is a great way to elevate and encourage networking among your association’s members. It can also make your association part of your members’ daily social networking habits.

Look for an AMS with a built-in online community platform that offers the following features:

  • Present members with a custom home page that presents them with targeted, valuable content based on their member profile.
  • Use group functionality to create discussion and content areas in the community based on specific topics, so members can join in the areas that interest them most.
  • Use online badges to acknowledge and reward active and engaged members.

TECH TIP: With Nimble AMS built-in online community platform, Nimble Communities, you can easily set up and host a branded online member community. Nimble Communities provides the collaboration capabilities you need to drive continuous member engagement.

2. Personalized content

Email is still a great way to connect with your members regularly. Sending targeted, personalized communications shows your members you understand and care about their needs and that you’re committed to delivering value.

Here are three types of emails that can be especially helpful for keeping members engaged:

  • Onboarding email series: Help new members feel at home right away with a series of emails that lets them know how your organization works, what to expect next, and where to go for information.
  • Newsletters: Send a regular newsletter to keep members updated on new resources, industry news, and upcoming events. This communication will help to keep your association top-of-mind with your members.
    • Renewal communications: As your members get close to their renewal dates, remind them of the benefits and value they receive from your organization.

TECH TIP: Nimble AMS helps you create and send personalized email communications through an easy-to-use point-and-click branded templating tool called Nimble Create. Use Nimble Create to build personalized member-facing communications for onboarding, engagement, renewals, and more.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

You have a wealth of data in your AMS. Wouldn’t it be great if your AMS could use that data to predict member behavior and give you actionable insights to encourage deeper engagement with members?

Using Artificial Intelligence tools, like Nimble Intelligence, empowers your organization to become data-driven. Leveraging predictive analytics keeps your organization one step ahead.

With Nimble Intelligence your association can determine the following:

  • Which of your members are at risk of not renewing, and then take steps to avoid non-renewal.
  • Which of your members are high-quality candidates for your certification program and then steps to send them targeted learning/certification opportunities.
  • Which annual meeting registrations might cancel or be a no-show, and then take steps to encourage them to attend.

TECH TIP: Are you ready to gain powerful insights to empower your entire organization? With Nimble Intelligence, your association can leverage AI to unlock actionable insights to drive member engagement, grow revenue, reach your goals, and more.

4. Member portal

Look for an AMS that puts your member first, offering a personalized member experience. Offering a branded and stylized member portal encourages your members to connect and network, boosting member engagement.

Choose an AMS that offers the following member portal features:

  • Customize a member portal template to reflect your unique brand identity and encourage member connection.
  • Create a member portal that is mobile responsive so members can access your page whenever and wherever they want.
  • Keep your members engaged with easy to create call-to-action (CTA) buttons to encourage members to sign up for a newsletter, make a purchase, or contact your association.

TECH TIP: Nimble AMS makes it easy for organizations to personalize the member experience. By leveraging Salesforce Experience Cloud, Nimble AMS can help your associations easily personalize member engagement, driving deeper member connections.

5. Modern e-commerce

To keep members coming back to your association, look for an AMS with innovative e-commerce. A great e-commerce experience improves the member experience and helps to drive revenue in these ways:

  • More purchase options: Members can purchase multiple items, renew their membership, register for events, enroll in a learning course, manage their membership, and more, all from the convenience of your e-commerce page.
  • Personalize shopping: Offer product, event, or learning recommendations based on past member purchases to create an excellent experience and drive revenue.
  • Send automated cart reminders: If a member forgets to make a purchase, send an automated reminder to prompt them to return to their cart.  

TECH TIP: With the Nimble AMS Lightning Store , your association can boost member engagement with automatic cart reminders, personalized recommendations, Apple Pay and Google Pay, and more. Drive a personalized member engagement strategy with Nimble AMS.

At Nimble AMS, we understand the importance of developing a personalized member engagement strategy. Learn more best practices to deepen member connections and personalize your member engagement strategy.

Develop a new member engagement strategy with Nimble AMS

Download our free whitepaper: “Seven tips to strengthen your member engagement strategy” and discover more tips to boost member engagement at your association today!

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