September 29, 2016
There is a right way and a wrong way to onboard new members to an association. It’s important to know which way to go since, you know, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
But even when new members can’t get their credit card numbers into the online membership signup form fast enough, it’s up to you to welcome them into the association in a manner that says, “we are so glad you’re here.”
Let’s break the new member onboarding process down into smaller pieces:
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September 28, 2016
Corporate incentive travel—companies rewarding their employees for performance with travel to a place they might never be able to afford on their own—is a win-win (yep, I said that) for companies and employees. The company wins with more sales, client retention, or valued employees that stay longer and employees get recognition, a deeper dive into the culture of the company (who doesn’t want to mambo with the CFO?), and a sense of accomplishment. But successful incentive travel programs require constant monitoring.
Here’s how to figure out whether your program is a hit or a miss:
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September 26, 2016
If you’re new to IMEX America in Las Vegas–a top industry event for corporate, association or agency planners–it can be somewhat overwhelming the first time you attend. So many connections to make, so much vendor research to do and tons of educational sessions and power-networking events to boot!
We bet you’ll want to full advantage of spending 4 days in one of the most entertaining cities in the world, so check out our top 8 recommendations on what to do, where to eat, and how to get the most out of this incredible industry event.
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September 22, 2016
Research shows that the top reason association members don’t renew their memberships is a lack of engagement with the organization. So, it’s not surprising to learn that increasing member engagement is the top goal for the majority of associations. Every organization has an association membership marketing plan, but getting the word out at the exact time a member is most receptive can be a challenge. A member engagement funnel can be an effective way to drive association members toward engagement and, ultimately, retention, but you need to deliver information where and when they’re likely to listen. It’s a bit of a dance really.
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September 20, 2016
User conferences. What a beautiful way to engage your customers, show them how to use your products in new and exciting ways, and (hopefully) convince them that your solution is the cat’s meow. In fact, if you’re not positioning your user conference as an advocacy channel, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to market your product to new and similarly aligned customers. Here are some suggestions on how to create true customer advocates from your attendee base.
Taking specific measures to address your customers as individuals will help you create a lasting impression on them. For example:
- Use your data, customer histories, and the relationships between your sales representatives and customers to personalize your interactions with attendees.
Offer personalized agendas in your event apaction with attendees.
- Pre-populate the registration form to save your customers’ time.
- Ask your sales staff to personally (telephone calls when possible) invite customers to the conference.
- Develop suggested conference agendas based on customers’ engagement and purchasing histories.
Sourcing conference content from your attendees builds the relationship by providing them with a seat at the table. Here are some crowdsourcing techniques:
- Ask them for input on the hot topics, pain points, and desired education that should be addressed during the conference.
- Create a customer advisory board to weigh in on programming, content, and special events.
- Solicit input on everything from what to call the user relaxation area to the name of the official cocktail.
Giving your customers channels on which to evangelize your products makes it easier for them to spread the word. For instance:
- Create and publicize a Twitter hashtag for the conference.
- Set up a Facebook, LinkedIn, or other online group specifically for the user conference.
- Install digital signage at the conference that shows other attendees the live feed from social channels and encourages them to comment.
- Create games with embedded educational content (here are some ideas) to reinforce product features and benefits that can be passed along to others after the conference.
Encourage attendees to engage socially with digital signage like Live Display
Allowing your customer to deliver the education, especially if one or more of them are high-visibility or influential brands, can add credibility to your brand. You can:
- Send out a call for proposals to your user group.
- Involve customers in a variety of educational activities, including workshops, birds-of-a-feather round tables, fireside chats, meetups, tweetups, or lunch-and-learn sessions.
- Work with your customers to refine their content and ensure that they are accurate.
Nothing says, “we don’t value you” like a horrible experience navigating the destination. Paying attention to these details can go a long way:
- Pay or provide instructions for your attendees’ transportation from the airport to the hotel.
- Provide your guests with in-airport and/or in-hotel remote event check-in.
- Simplify navigation by delivering information in an easy-to-use conference mobile app with maps, agenda, alerts, and networking capabilities.
Help attendees find their way around by adding maps and location details in your event app
Train a hand-selected group of customers to be evangelists during the conference. Include these elements:
- Assemble a team of customer advocates whose sole purpose at the user conference is to answer questions about the product. Call it a genius bar, help center, explanation station, or whatever suits your user base, but encourage your advocates to be honest and authentic in sharing their experiences.
- Consider giving your ambassadors uniforms, ribbons, or pins to draw attention to their expertise.
- Reward your ambassadors with specialized training, early access to new products, or free admission to the conference.
Bringing users face to face with your employees—engineers, product developers, trainers, technical support staff—and other users is a unique experience in the lives of customers and the company. With the appropriate strategy around serving, involving, engaging, and educating your user conference attendees, you can convert a group with few things in common besides the use of your product into enthusiastic brand advocates.