Member Engagement in your Association
Chances are your members aren’t as engaged as you’d like them to be, despite your association’s efforts at creating a unique member experience. Think of the multiple touch points where your association is currently interacting with your members: paper renewal notices, monthly newsletters, updates from the board, etc. It can be challenging to gauge if your member engagement tactics are working until it’s too late, when you find out they won’t be renewing their annual membership with your organization.
According to the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, the average renewal rate for individual and trade memberships is 80%. Depending on your industry, it can cost between 4 to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. The stakes are high when it comes to showing your board a healthy member retention rate, and even higher when trying to grow your membership.
So how can you keep your organization’s member benefits top of mind all year round?
Give Your Members What They Want
Whether your association’s members are part of the medical industry, not-for-profit, or anywhere in between, the top membership driver continues to be a desire to network with others in their respective fields. The opportunity to share and learn best practices as well as opportunities for continuing education are also strong membership drivers. Your association may try to facilitate these member goals in a number of ways, like hosting an annual conference or monthly webinars to foster learning, or sending out email blasts for recommended resources to read or workshops to attend. But how can you begin to think outside of the box and delight your members in new ways to foster year-round engagement?
Your small team of staff is tied up as is, and you’re looking for a long-term strategy that will be cost-efficient and easily gain buy-in from your board. We’ve seen mobile apps work well in this area. Acting as your brand’s own ecosystem, a mobile app can be a frictionless destination for a discussion forum for your members to network and share best practices, but also to receive regular updates and interact with your organization. The best part of a mobile app is all of this is happening right where they are already likely spending a lot of their time – on mobile.
To learn more about how mobile technology can help you increase year-round member engagement, read the ebook Driving Member Engagement Through Mobile: A Step-by-Step Guide for Associations.
Convince Your Board
Now that we’ve established that implementing a mobile app can be a great way to engage with your members all year round, it’s time to convince your board. Here is a 5-step approach that will help you get buy-in:
1. Pinpoint the Benefits
With all the other responsibilities stakeholders on your board have to juggle, it can be easy to forget the necessity of member engagement, and the overall benefits to the organization by providing opportunities for member interaction year-round.
Not only does a mobile app help with engaging members at your organization’s events, it will also foster increased opportunities for your members to engage with one another, and in doing so giving them exactly what they want: networking, a community of practice, document sharing, and professional development.
2. Research all Associated Costs
Step in your board member’s shoes for a moment. What are they thinking after you tell them about all the benefits? They’re asking themselves, “What’s the price tag on all of this?”
Do your research and be transparent. Beyond the dollar costs, think about the time it might take for your staff to be trained on the software.
3. Identify other well-respected associations who already use mobile app technology
Which associations come up in conversations most often? The answer to this question may be a helpful identifier of which organizations are most well-respected by senior executives of your board. Other associations who have already used an app at their events and conferences will assure your board members and encourage them to follow suit.
4. Anticipate their questions
No one knows your board like you do, and you know the specific concerns that arise in the face of change or new ideas. Make a list of them and rehearse your responses. Download our guide for a list of frequently asked questions your board may bring up.
5. Build and present your business case
Lastly, take all the research and information you’ve collected and form one concise pitch for your board. The dollars and cents are important but so far anecdotes from respected sources. Leave room for questions at the end.
Many associations prematurely adopt technology before considering the investment (both cost and time-wise) of their staff. A thorough implementation and marketing strategy will save you from a future headache down the line when your board asks you about ROI.
The possibilities that a mobile app might benefit your association are endless when it comes to delivering value for your members. Now, all you need to do is to get your board to give you the green light.
For a deeper dive into questions your board might have, common objections, frequently asked questions, and a presentation template, read our complete guide today.