Membership Engagement, “Stickiness” and Stories

Lori Halley 09 January 2015 0 comments

Your members are your focus year-round. But to help associations, clubs and non-profit organizations off to a great start in 2015, this week’s link round-up is all about membership. From practical tips to “increase the stickiness of your membership”, to the importance of following your member’s “decision-making path”, and member communications trends to look out for in 2015 – we’ve rounded up some terrific insight on membership.

Here are summaries of five of the top posts we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam this week:

Six Ways To Attract Engaged Members in 2015

Kerry Stackpole (Wired 4 Leadership) asks: “Why do so many nonprofits end up leaving them [engaged members] stranded?” and offers up six ways to attract engaged members in the new year. Here's one of them:

Seek out similarities: While building strong, loyalty-based relationships with customers and members is about differentiation, there are still a surprising number of similarities among those engaged members most loyal to your organization. Look for the common ground and beef up your activities to support this area first.

Retention is a Relationship

In a recent post, Elizabeth Weaver Engel (Spark Consulting) writes about the importance of creating relationships to increase retention:

Retention is key to long-term membership growth and to maintaining vital, lively chapters. While recruitment is like dating, retention is like getting – and staying – married. It’s about being in it for the long haul, about making an increasing commitment of time, energy, attention, focus, and money on BOTH sides.

...we become takers in the relationship. We want the members to give us their money and their time and their attention, but we don’t give anything meaningful back (a subscription to your magazine is not a meaningful relationship). We don’t make any attempt to get to know them: their professional (and personal, where appropriate) wants, needs, problems, dreams, fears, goals. We don’t work to find out how we might be able to help them meet and fulfill those.

That’s unacceptable.

10 Tips for Increasing the Stickiness of Your Membership

Tony Rossell (Membership Marketing Blog) offers practical tips to increase member retention. Some of these tips include:  

  • Reward continuous membership tenure with loyalty points or recognition with a “member since” award.
  • Provide member financial incentives beyond member discounts like members only product sales, group purchasing, and free shipping.
  • Exclude non-members from the benefits of full access to your organization’s social media networks.

Check out Tony’s post to read all 10 tips.

Association Communications and Services Trends for 2015

Kelly Donovan (Association Advisor) first looks back on 2014, and then looks forward to trends that will “rise in importance” in 2015:

Mobile is still going to grow in B2B and B2C communications prominence: According to Pew Research, more than 58 percent of American adults now own smartphones, and 91 percent of those owners access their email accounts at least once per day on their devices. Mobile apps are becoming standard guides for events, and with the advent of “Internet of Things” concepts, such as Apple Pay and smart sports equipment, this space is going to explode in the coming year. As an association, make sure you are poised to use mobile to provide your members with enhanced membership experiences and to earn yourselves non-dues revenue.

Have a look at Kelly’s post to read about more communications and services trends expected for 2015.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

In a post on SocialFish, Amanda Kaiser explores storytelling and wonders if it’s “the next new fad or is there really something to it?” Amanda notes:

Marketing communications is not just sharing information. Or selling without a salesperson. The best marketing communication is a story and the best stories are told to your members by each stage of their decision-making path.

Why does the business media keep showing us examples of all these small little startups that hit the web with an idea and overnight they are catapulted into fame and fortune? Their audience shares their content or product by word of mouth so rapidly no advertising spend could even match it. Why can’t we get just a slice of that?

Even our members seem immune to our messaging. How about that email open rate? Why is our marketing not connecting?

It is our story. Does our story attract, captivate and motivate? Can members quickly and easily make the link from their problem to our solution?

Read Amanda’s post to follow your member’s decision-making path and figure out how to appeal to them at each juncture.

That’s it for this week’s link round-up - want more non-profit and membership links?

That was just a taste of some of the membership and non-profit posts and articles we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam lately. For more, you can check out the latest posts on topics such as: Membership, Volunteers, Communications, Events, Social Media, Leadership and Fundraising.

You can also find additional articles and guides on non-profit and membership topics in our Membership Knowledge Hub.

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 09 January 2015 at 8:30 AM

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