Keep the love alive: Relationship advice for you and your members

Beth Farrar, Senior Marketing Manager, Nimble AMS

February 9, 2021

It’s a love story for the ages: your association and your members. Like any good relationship, you and your members are stronger together. You provide them with resources to help them grow and succeed in your industry while they help your organization thrive.

But the bond between you and your members needs attention to stay strong. Tend to it carefully, and you’ll have a lifelong partnership. Take it for granted, and your members just might move on when something better comes along.

Don’t let your members slip away. Here are three proven ways to keep that perfect partnership between you and your members going for years to come.

Be a good listener.

One of the best ways to keep your relationship strong is to let your partner know you’re listening. Two great ways to give them the attention and respect they deserve:

  • Ask them what they need. When it comes to being a good partner, asking members their opinion is a great way to find out what’s working and what’s not. Throughout the year, as you plan various member programs, make changes to your website, or generally do anything that directly impacts your members, make plans to get your members involved. Select a few members that may be most interested in the project at hand and ask them for feedback. Ask members about their experience so far. Present members with your ideas for improvements and ask them what they think.
  • Hear what they’re saying. Even when you don’t ask, your members are telling you what they need. For example, a great way to understand their needs is to watch group discussions on your online member community to see what they’re talking about. As they ask questions and talk about their biggest challenges, you’ll have insights into how to bring more value to the relationship.

Nimble AMS offers Nimble Communities, which allows you to easily set up and host an online member community built on the Salesforce Community Cloud platform.

Keep the spark alive.

You likely put a lot of effort into attracting new members. But once they’re members, don’t let the honeymoon end. Make sure they continue to feel that spark that made them want to join in the first place. Some ideas:

  • Show appreciation. Make your members feel special right from the beginning. For example:
    • Thank them for joining your organization.
    • Send a “welcome” email series with helpful information about your organization.
    • Celebrate your new members in your email newsletter.
  • Get personal. Personalize the member experience by presenting your members with content that is specific to their needs and interests. You’ll win them over again and again by demonstrating that you understand them and that you’re working to deliver value to them.
  • Get them involved. Invite new members to join an online forum or virtual meetup event for new members. Ask more seasoned members to serve as a mentor or hold a leadership position. The more involved they are, the more engaged they’ll feel, and the more likely they’ll be to stick around.
  • Renew the relationship. Be sure to communicate the value of your relationship as you approach renewal dates by reminding members of the benefits they’ve received and the benefits they’ll miss out on if they don’t renew on time. And, make it easy for your members to stick around by giving them an option to automatically renew membership, with the membership fee charged to their credit card.

Why members leave and how to win them back

Increase member retention by understanding what makes some members leave, and then take action to keep members from lapsing in the future

Recapture the magic.

No one likes to see it, but it happens: the breakup. Members walk away, and you might find yourself asking, “Was it me? Why are they unhappy?”.

Just remember that a non-renewal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over. Your members once loved your association enough to join, so launch a re-engagement campaign to win them back. For example, send an email series (with appropriate time between each communication) that:

  • Lets them know you’re sorry they’re gone
  • Reminds them of the value your organization provides them
  • Offers an incentive to return, such as a discounted membership or a monthly membership dues payment option

Relationships take effort. But they’re worth it. Take the extra time to make your members feel special and appreciated, and you’ll win them over for years to come.

Make sure your members continue to stick around.

Download our success kit for top resources to help you boost member retention.

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