What do you hope your members feel when they think about your organization? Perhaps excited about an upcoming event, proud to contribute to your successes, or grateful to be part of your community.
Excitement, pride, gratitude—all of these emotions can stem from a positive member experience!
So how do you improve your member experience? In this post we’ll explore:
- Why member experience matters
- What makes a great membership experience
- How to improve member experience
- How event management software helps deliver better a member experience
What is Member Experience?
Member experience describes how people view, feel about, and engage with your organization’s brand. All together, these factors define the value members (and potential members!) place on what your membership program has to offer.
You can foster better membership experiences both in person and online by providing a range of benefits and opportunities for engagement. For example, you can:
Elevate the membership experience in person with:
- High-value, relevant programming
- Engaging events, like conferences and galas
- Community volunteer opportunities
Build online membership engagement through:
- Social media engagement
- Virtual events like workshops and networking opportunities
- Year-round, online community
There are plenty of strategies for improving both in person and online member experience, which we’ll get into below!
Why Does Member Experience Matter?
Your organization’s success is tied directly to its relationships with your members and their faith in what you bring to your community.
Improving your organization’s member experience helps you with:
- Member retention. One of the keys to saving money as an organization is putting effort into member retention. Providing a great member experience keeps people close and saves you the cost of having to build your relationships from scratch each year!
- Member engagement. Membership experience ultimately defines the value of your organization. The more your members feel drawn to the work you’re doing, the more likely you are to see a boost in engagement.
- Expanding your community. A positive relationship with your organization will inspire your members to refer their friends and colleagues. This organic connection is worth its weight in gold and can save you on big marketing costs.
- Making your brand stand out. 90% of millennial donors are motivated to give based on the mission rather than the organization. Offering stand-out member experience that ties directly into your mission can be what sets you apart from competitors.
In the end, membership experience is what makes or breaks your connection with your members! Putting extra effort into your members’ happiness inspires them to support you for the long haul.
5 Qualities of a Fantastic Membership Experience
Your member experience might look different depending on whether you’re running a club, association, nonprofit, or other membership organization. But no matter what type of organization you run, a truly valuable membership experience has a few key qualities in common.
The best membership experiences are:
- Personal. According to a study from Salesforce, “84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business.” Make an effort to recognize your members’ unique pain points, show that you understand their perspective, and personalize the experience to reflect their values and interests.
- Streamlined. Your members already want to be part of your organization, so make it as easy as possible for them to engage! Take advantage of event management software to offer your members a smooth experience and you’ll also cut back on the time your team spends managing logistics.
- Data-driven. Gather member data to avoid guesswork when it comes to identifying your members’ feelings, wants, and needs. If your event app or community management software includes analytics and reporting, you can use this data to score insights into member behavior–and adjust your membership experience strategy in response.
- Accessible. Consider following an accessibility checklist or hiring an accessibility advisor for your virtual and in person events to ensure your member experience can be enjoyed by everyone.
- Feedback-oriented. Polls and surveys are a great way to check in with your members and gather feedback about the member experience. Plus, people love to see their feedback implemented—and making your members feel heard can play a big part in their experience with your organization.
14 Ways to Elevate Your Organization’s Member Experience
Now you know the basics of how to improve member experience, it’s time to take your member experience to the next level. Here are 14 tips to help you get there!
Lead with a warm welcome
Member appreciation begins the moment members have registered to be part of your event or organization. A warm welcome package can include a friendly email, a video, a paper letter, or anything else that shows the value of membership.
No matter what your strategy is, personalization is key. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be personal—small gestures can go a long way! For example, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
Create a valuable member benefits package
Depending on what type of organization you’re running, your benefits package will look a little bit different. Consider what your members care about, research what your competitors are offering, and keep an eye out for any gaps you can fill.
Some popular member benefits include:
- Networking opportunities
- Access to exclusive events
- Member spotlights and awards
- Coupons and discounts
- Job boards
- Mentorship programs
If you’re looking to give your benefits package a makeover, send out a survey to your members to find out about their interests and pain points!
Make renewal simple
A study on member engagement found that 16-27% of members end their membership simply because they forget to renew! If renewal is complicated, people are more likely to give up on the process and then forget about it.
Communicating when and how to renew will keep your organization at the front of members’ minds, and eliminate stress or confusion.
Use data to improve
Member data should inform the types of programming, events, and marketing strategies you’ll implement moving forward.
The data you may want to collect in your member application or event registration form includes:
- Member name
- Date of birth
- How they heard about you
- What they’re most interested in
From the data you gather, you can segment your lists and target your marketing efforts to give your members the information that’s most relevant to them personally. This also means your members are less likely to feel misunderstood by your organization!
We’ve said it a few times and we’ll say it again: Personalization is everything! Especially when it comes to showing your members they matter. In fact, marketers report a 760% increase in email revenue alone from personalized and segmented campaigns.
You can personalize member experience with strategies like:
- Developing member profiles
- Segmenting your lists for social media and email campaigns
- Implementing feedback
- Using peoples’ names wherever possible
- Sending hand-written thank yous
The better you know your members, the easier it is to meet their individual needs. Making the effort to get to know them during (and beyond!) onboarding will make the personalization process much smoother.
Run post-event feedback surveys
When your event is over, the best way to gauge member experience is by asking them directly. Send out a survey by email or through your event app to learn what you can improve on for your next event.
You can ask questions like:
- What was your favorite part of the event?
- Is there anything you didn’t particularly enjoy?
- Would you attend this event again?
- What changes would make you more likely to attend?
- Would you recommend this event to a friend?
The responses that come up again and again offer the most valuable data about the overall experience of your event.
Build a standout website
A website that’s attractive, informative, and easy to navigate goes a long way toward improving the membership experience. A seamless user experience allows visitors to find their way to your CTAs and click with confidence!
Your website should be:
- Consistently branded
- Visually appealing
- Intuitive to use
- Mobile responsive
Partner up with other organizations
There are plenty of ways companies can benefit from partnering with organizations–and a strong partnership can actually support your member experience as well. Tap into your members’ interests by connecting with an interesting partner and you’ll instantly add value to participating in your organization.
For example, if you partner with a local cupcake business, your branded (and delicious!) cupcakes can make a real impression on your members, and your members will be happy to support local businesses.
Transparency is essential to building trust with your current and prospective members—and a lack of it can be a real deal-breaker.
That’s why you should keep your members informed about:
- When and why fee increases are occurring
- Where their donations and fees are going
- How and why your programming might shift
- Changes to your organization structure or leadership
Remember, confidence in your organization is a huge part of member experience. The more transparent you are with your members, the better your long-term relationship will be.
Hire a Member Experience Manager
Similar to a Customer Experience Manager, a Member Experience Manager is someone who specializes in your organization’s member relationships.
A member experience manager can help you:
- Build customer service strategies
- Review member feedback
- Brainstorm ideas for improvement
- Train front-facing team members
- And more!
Host amazing in person events
A great event can be the backbone of the membership experience. Not only do in person events bring in non-dues revenue, but they also offer community-building opportunities like no other!
When you’re running an in person event, be sure to incorporate:
- Fantastic speakers and guests
- Eye-catching branding
- Detailed event maps and schedules
A memorable event will leave an impression on your members and give them something to share on social media or with potential referrals.
Take advantage of virtual opportunities
Virtual events and opportunities offer a few unique perks, and can create an awesome member experience by:
- Reaching members across the globe
- Reducing the cost of entry
- Building online community
- Offering recorded content year-round
- Bringing in more guest speakers
Not only will taking advantage of virtual opportunities improve member experience, but it’ll also make the planning process easier on your team and your budget!
Create an online event community
People join organizations and attend events because they want to meet like-minded people. From professionals who want to expand their network to fans who want to meet up at a convention, the heart of any great member experience is creating–and maintaining–a sense of connection.
The best membership experience is one that consistently provides opportunities to connect and create positive memories throughout the year.
An online event community can be built through:
- A members-only area of your website
- A member directory
- Ongoing events
- Networking opportunities
- And more!
Engage, engage, engage!
Repeatedly inviting your members to connect with your organization can drive retention, increase referrals, and boost event turnout.
A welcome email is essential, but it’s only the start! Engagement at every step of the member journey lays the building blocks of member experience.
Want to encourage participation at every possible turn? Engage your members with member engagement strategies including:
- A full event calendar with virtual and in-person options
- Clear and consistent communication
- Volunteer opportunities
- Polls & games
- Social media challenges
How Event Software Can Improve Membership Experience
Hosting amazing events can be a defining characteristic of your membership experience–and can lay the foundation for lifelong memberships!
One of the best ways to ensure your event runs smoothly and increases the value of your membership experience? Investing in the right event management software for your organization.
With EventMobi’s event management software, you can deliver better event experiences as well as more engaging membership experiences all year round! EventMobi’s tools allow you to improve your member experience through:
- A better onsite experience. EventMobi’s Event App allows you to provide members with private and public networking opportunites, including Appointment Booking, to help you deliver experiences and programming your members can enjoy!
- An easy-to-navigate event website. EventMobi’s website designer helps streamline member and event registration while ensuring access to all the information they need. And considering that 60% of consumers abandon purchases due to poor website user experience, the value of a great website can’t be overstated!
- Sharing engagement data with sponsors. Sponsors are a major source of event funding and EventMobi’s software gives hard numbers to back up the value of a sponsorship package. Securing the right sponsors means you might end up with a bigger event budget–and a more impressive member experience–for the next round!
- Foster year-round community. With EventMobi’s Event App, your member experience can carry over from a live event to a dedicated community space. This allows you to continue nurturing member relationships all year round without losing momentum in between events!
Maintain Momentum with a Year-Round Member Experience
Creating a positive member experience isn’t just a one-time thing—it’s an ongoing process that defines how your members understand and engage with your organization. With the right strategies, technology, and mindset, you can build stronger connections with members, deliver long-term value, and retain your members for years to come!
Recommended Resource: Want to nurture your member community beyond live events? EventMobi’s Year-Round Engagement Guide will help you develop a successful plan for an outstanding member experience!