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Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Are Your Vendors Engaged? Would You Like Them to Be?

Rumor has it, in some association circles, trade show attendance is struggling. This could spell trouble for how vendor members find value in belonging to your organization. While some industries may be feeling the pain more than others, it is never a bad time to think about the ways you are engaging your vendor/supplier members. Read on for a handful of ideas on engaging your vendor-side members in effective and successful ways.

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Five Ways to Look Great to Your Members

Posted by Sarah Hill

It’s nice to be adored, and as a small staff association leader it gives you a little bit of flexibility. Think about it; if members generally think you’re a great guy/gal they’ll be more likely to attend programs, come to you with questions, and offer help and support. While you can’t turn your job into a popularity contest, there are a few things you can do today to make your members your biggest fans.

Five Ways to Look Great to Your Members

1)   Answer email personally

I’m sure you spend a lot of time on your email newsletters and your association emails, but a group blast is far more likely to be ignored than a personal email. When you get some time, try to answer emails personally. Many email programs, like gmail for example, even rank direct person-to-person email “higher” and it gets marked as important or just keeps out of the spam folder, which is half the battle.


2)   Respond to feedback, positive and negative

There are few things more frustrating than being asked for feedback and taking the time to provide it only to see no changes anywhere. As a leader, take some time to address the responses you’ve received from your members and a minute or two to address oncoming changes or perhaps even why that wouldn’t work at the present time. This would be great to add to a meeting agenda or even one of those aforementioned personal emails. Imagine how gratifying it can be to know that your feedback was heard and considered, even if it can't necessarily be implemented.


3)   Make an effort to accommodate crazy schedules

Your schedule is nuts, and so are your members’ schedules. You’ll never be able to accommodate everyone’s with unique work, family, and social obligations, but trying a variety of times and locations here and there could go a long way in making it work for as many people as possible. The effort won’t go unnoticed, and you may see your attendance numbers rise. Take note of what works and what doesn't, and you may have new protocol when it comes to scheduling meetings. That's sustained rising attendance!


4)   Consider getting the family involved

A major point in the work/life balance of many working professionals, like your members, is juggling work duties and extracurriculars (like your association) with their families. If you find that many of your members have kids, consider making your events family-friendly or hosting a meeting in a location with kids in mind like near a park with a playground or an indoor play area. That way members have the option to bring their spouses and children and can make a day of it instead of taking time to run out and preventing the start of their valuable time together while mommy or daddy attends this meeting real quick. It’s the little things that will show your members you’re invested in helping with their work/life balance, and members knowing their families are happy and having fun will cut down on distractions!


5)   Show an interest in their jobs

As great as your association may be for your members’ resumes, their job is always going to be a higher priority. Find out some essential skills and certifications your members are interested in obtaining, then see if you can work that into your programming, events, or association offerings. This could mean seminars, discounts on classes, mentoring sessions or speakers. And don’t forget that association job board! (If you’re a MemberClicks user, it’s a free service through JobTarget! Email Maximization@MemberClicks.com for more information.)


Work isn’t a popularity contest, but it does help to be well-liked! For more ways to engage with your members and leave them happy, download our free guide to Member Engagement by clicking below today!

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Topics: association management, association leadership, member engagement, member retention, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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