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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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3 Ways to Use Testimonials to Your Association’s Advantage

Posted by Callie Walker

Maximize Member Testimonials

We now live in the review economy. What does that mean, exactly? Well it means people - your members and potential members - trust third-party reviews more so than they do the messages that come from companies and organizations. In fact, 91 percent of people trust online reviews, even if they don’t know the person/people making those reviews. That means your association can say something 100 times, but the second one of your members says it (even if it’s the exact same message), it instantly becomes more credible.

Why do we bring this up? Well, to emphasize two points, really: 1) You NEED to have member testimonials (if you don’t already), and 2) You NEED to be using those testimonials as much as you possibly can. (You may think having them in one place - on your website, for example - is good enough, but trust us, there’s way more you can be doing with them than just that.)

So how exactly can you use member testimonials to your association’s full advantage? Here are three primary (and fairly easy) ways:

1. To boost event attendance

Events are likely one of your association’s biggest offerings, and you need people to attend (for engagement purposes, non-dues revenue purposes, etc.). To bump up registration, why not use member testimonials praising last year’s event? Ask a few of your members who attended last year (if it’s a reoccuring event) how their experience was and what they got out of attending. (Note: If you can film their responses, that’s even better.) Then, place those testimonials - one-by-one - in your organization’s newsletter, on the event page of your website, in your pre-show marketing emails, on your various social media channels, etc.

If people can see that others actually got something out of your event and are looking forward to attending this year’s event, they’ll be more inclined to register, themselves. (FOMO at its finest.)

*And tip: Be sure to capture a few testimonials at your event this year, so you can then do the same thing next year.

2. To encourage renewals

Regardless of what industry you work in, no one wants a high turnover rate. But we realize, easier said than done.

This is another area, though, where testimonials can really help. See, when members go to renew, they almost always evaluate what they got out of the association the year prior. Did they get anything out of their membership with your association? If not, that’s not necessarily your fault. Maybe they didn’t attend your events or read your association’s members-only content. Let them know - in a nice, roundabout way - that the issue wasn’t really with you...it was with them.

How? By utilizing member testimonials! Have a few of your members speak to what value they’ve gotten out of being a member of your association. Did your training courses help them get promoted at work? Did they meet their current employer through a contact at your association? If your members see that, they’ll think, “Ok, other people are benefiting from this. I want to as well.”

*Tip: These types of testimonials are good to have in both print and video form. You can include the videos in your renewal reminder emails, but if you send out any mailed renewal reminders, you can include a printed, one-page testimonial sheet, showcasing what others have gotten out of their membership with your association. (A lot more compelling than just a printed renewal reminder letter!)

3. To push membership recruitment

The testimonials we talked about in point #2 - what other members have gotten out of their membership with your association - aren’t just good for renewals; they’re good for retention as well. See, training courses that led to a promotion or a contact that led to a new job are compelling testaments - ones that will likely appeal to prospects considering your association.

The difference between using these testimonials for renewals versus using them for recruitment is simply a matter of where you place them. Like we said, for renewals, be sure to include them in your renewal reminder emails and mailed letters, if you send those. For recruitment, however, place these on your website home page (where prospects can immediately see them), on your YouTube channel (if you have one), and on your various social media sites.

Get the word out there about the value your association provides. Coming from a third party, that type of message is invaluable.

Want more tips for growing your organization’s membership, engaging your members through events, and ensuring your existing members renew? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Membership Management below!

The Ultimate Guide to Membership Management  Everything you need to know about managing your membership online, from  acquisition to engagement to retention. Download this guide

Topics: association management, member retention, membership management, Association Views

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