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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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4 Little Ways to Make Your Members Smile

Posted by Callie Walker

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According to Webster’s Dictionary, a smile is a pleased or amused facial expression. Put simply, it represents happiness - and that’s exactly how you want your members to feel.

Not sure how to make your members smile? Here are a few little tips:

1. Address them by name

You have a lot of members. You know that and your members know that. So if you can address your members by name, they’ll feel all the more special.

Now I know it’s not exactly realistic to memorize everyone’s name (particularly when there’s constant turnover), but the good news is, you don’t have to. Let’s say you’re at an event and you spot a member you don’t know. Ask them kindly what their name is, then repeat it at least once during the conversation. Then, as the conversation is winding down, mention their name at least one more time, even if it’s just, “Bye Mark! Hope to see you again soon!” This will make them feel special and, likely, draw a smile.

2. Follow up with them

Do you ever have members come to you with questions, requests, or complaints? Of course! It’s a natural part of association management. But what are you doing following those questions, requests, and complaints? If you’re not reaching back out to the people who inquired about them, you’re missing out on a HUGE opportunity to make your members smile.

See, when you follow up with someone, it shows that you remembered them. Out of all the members you have, you remembered that one person who asked that one question. That’s how your members see it, and that’s a great feeling to have.

(Note: When we talk about following up with someone, we don’t mean answering or responding to their questions or complaints. You should always do that. What we mean, however, is a few days or weeks after responding to them, reach back out to them to make sure they don’t have any more questions or complaints. This shows you genuinely care.)

3. Thank them

Have you ever had someone thank you when you really weren’t expecting it? It’s a good feeling, isn’t it? It lifts you up and makes you feel good about yourself. Why not give that feeling to your members? Once a week, try calling a few of your members and thanking them for their involvement/participation in your organization. Or, if you can, try sending a few handwritten thank you notes. You might not be able to reach everyone at once, but a few at a time will really go a long way.

4. Do the unexpected

It’s easy to fall into little routines. But when you’re able to break those routines, that’s when the magic happens. For example, do you have monthly or quarterly meetings? Try surprising your members with breakfast or lunch (if you don’t offer that already). Or, let’s say you have a group of volunteers helping out at a 5K. Can you surprise them in the morning with coffee or hot chocolate? Or what about giving them a little “thank you” swag? Not only will they appreciate it, but it might encourage others to volunteer!

Smiling means your members are happy, and if they’re happy, they’re likely to stay. Want more tips for boosting member retention? Check out our free guide, 8 Steps to Solid Member Retention, below!

Membership Retention Kit  Best practices (and communication templates) to get your members to stay Download this guide

Topics: association management, association leadership, membership management, Association Views

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