Having a soon-to-be member fill out a member application on your organization’s website is exciting. More interest! More growth!
But in addition to it being an exciting process, it’s also a great opportunity for your organization to gather information that can help with engagement and retention, as well as future recruitment efforts...as long as you ask the right questions.
In fact, here are four questions you may want to consider adding to your online member application moving forward:
1. How did you hear about [organization name]?
This one’s important because it gives insight into where interested prospects are coming from. Did they hear about you from a coworker? Did they stumble upon your website while searching for industry-related content?
Knowing what’s working is a great opportunity to ramp those efforts up and be more strategic about how you’re recruiting new members. If several people heard about you from coworkers, it may be worth revisiting and fine tuning (or creating, even) a member referral program. There’s ALWAYS room for improvement. Consider this question on your member application a good starting point.
2. What do you want from your membership?
Few organizations ask this outright, but it can help down the road with engagement and retention. If you know what this member is trying to achieve, you can hone in on those specific areas in your marketing communications.
Let’s say one new member is primarily interested in networking with others in the industry. If that’s the case, they need to receive ALL networking-related emails, and maybe even emails that other members don’t receive. For example, emails promoting your online social community (if you have one) and blog posts with networking tips and best practices.
The more you can help this member get what they actually want from your organization, the more likely they are to stay long-term.
3. Are you interesting in serving on a committee? If yes, please specify which committee(s) below.
When a member first joins your organization, that’s when they’re the MOST excited. They’re eager to get involved and optimistic about what a membership could help them achieve.
That said, now (when they’re filling out the application) is the perfect time to ask if they’d like to get more involved with your organization, specifically by joining a committee. (Note: You’ll probably want to list out your committees with checkboxes next to them, since many soon-to-be members probably don’t know what those are at this point in time.)
Remember, the more engaged a member is with your organization, the more likely they are to stay, so getting them engaged right off the bat is a win-win - for you and the new member.
4. How many years have you been working in the XYZ industry?
You may ask for age range in your existing member application, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s also a good idea to ask how long the soon-to-be member has been working in your particular industry.
Why, you might be thinking. What’s the difference? Well, the way you go about engaging young professionals should be different than the way you go about engaging more senior-level professionals...and age isn’t always the best way to tell. You could have a 35-year-old member who’s brand new to the industry that would benefit from YP-related content just as much as a 25-year-old recent graduate would.
You can’t make any assumptions here, so a best practice is simply to ask.
Ok, ok. So the member fills out the application...then what? Well it’s time to start onboarding them! Help them get to know others and start utilizing the many great benefits your organization has to offer. And be strategic about this. Make sure every new member goes through the same new member onboarding process. For tips and best practices, check out our free guide, 7 Musts for New Member Onboarding, below!