You’ve received notice that you’ve added a new member. Wonderful! For many associations, this is a cause to celebrate, especially with where things stand right now.
But, is that the end? The member joins and everything falls into place? Unfortunately, many associations operate this way. The big push is to gain new members, but, once they’re in, the push ends and the new members become numbers, part of the larger whole.
This isn’t how successful associations, or associations that want to BE successful operate. In fact, if they did, retention levels would plummet and the future of said associations would be in question.
Let’s back up and revisit the aforementioned scenario.
A new member just joined your association. Great!
If you’re unsure of what happens next, you’re not alone. Let’s take some time to think about your members’ journeys and to find ways to improve! Follow the tips below to improve the experience of new members while pushing for a more engaging, positive acclimation process. The best part? It can all happen INSIDE your digital member community!
- Automate the Process
Your Social HubSite is critical for engaging new members. It’s where all the important information relating to your association, and access to all of its members, are found (if it’s not, or if you have yet to start your Social HubSite, we need to talk…but more about that later!)
Because it’s so critical for outreach and engagement, new members should be added to your community the moment they sign up. Whether this is completed by a staff member or the process is automated is up to you. But, from the time membership dues are paid forward, members should become a part of the community.
- Start Internally – Get Personal
It’s likely that new members have spent money that could have been spent elsewhere to join your association. This might not be a big deal to you, but to them it probably is. They want to see benefits right away, and to feel like they’ve spent their money in the right place.
You can reassure them of this by reaching out. Appoint an internal staff member to reach out to new members, to welcome them to the association and to make themselves available to answer any questions. This can be done by a simple internal community message, a phone call or any other personalized way of reaching out.
- Branch Out, Use Ambassadors to Your Advantage
Once you’ve reached out internally, take it a step further. The buddy system is so common because it works!
Reflect on your member ambassadors. Who attends all the events? Is quick to volunteer when you need something? Who makes other members feel welcome? These individuals are your ambassadors. Pick a few and ask them if they’d be interested in helping to welcome new members; chances are, they’ll be all about it.
Ask an ambassador to reach out to each new member. Relationships keep associations growing and help to sustain them, you can easily facilitate this by taking this step.
- Make a Public Introduction
At this point, if the steps above are followed, your new member has been welcomed by an internal staff member and has started to forge a relationship with one of your outstanding member ambassadors. But, that’s not the end.
Next step? Go public.
Use your Social HubSite to introduce your new member to the community. A quick “ABC would like to welcome our newest member John Smith to our association!” is all it takes. Tag the new member and watch what happens. Active community members will comment and relationships will form.
This simple step will help encourage event attendance, will start networking conversations and will make membership more worthwhile in the long-run.
- Automate a Tour Process
Your new member has been welcomed by your community. Now, they’re ready to access what’s available to them as a member. Put your member benefit materials in one place inside your digital community. Make them easy to access and easy to understand. Then, direct new members to them. Think of it as a digital tour to be sure that each and every member has the resources they need at their fingertips!
- Check in!
It’s easy to welcome a new member, to follow the steps above, and then to forget about them and move on to recruiting new members. That’s how life works inside of associations sometimes.
But, it’s not a recipe for success. You can help ensure a long member relationship by checking in from time to time. Set up an automated campaign to check in after the first month, then every 3-6 months going forward. A simple “Hi, just wanted to touch base to see if you have any questions relating to your membership” is all it takes. It’s as simple as that…really.
Watching membership numbers fluctuate on a screen isn’t going to take your association to the next level.
Make a change by reflecting on your member journey starting today. If you could improve, consider the steps above. Have another great idea? Share…we’d love to hear from you!
Not on the Social HubSite train yet? That should be step one. To engage, share and connect with your association’s members like never before…check out our demo today. Let’s schedule a time to chat, we’d love to work with you!