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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 Ways to Really Wow Your Members in 2016

Posted by Callie Walker


There’s nothing quite like knocking your members’ socks off to bump up engagement and retention. And with 2016 right around the corner, why not start your year off with a bang? Here’s how to really WOW your members in 2016:

1. Meet them with a “wow” staff

You can’t wow your members if you don’t have a wow staff. Think about it. Behind every interaction a member has with your organization, whether it’s via email, social media, phone, or an event, there’s a staff member managing that particular point of contact. Because of that, high quality customer service is crucial. Listen to your members. Be empathetic. Be welcoming. And be personable! It’s these types of qualities that will work wonders when it comes to member retention and recruitment. 

2. Go the extra mile

Now I know this can be hard to do sometimes, particularly if you’re a small-staff association, but it really is one of the best ways to guarantee a wow. If one of your members calls in with a complaint, don’t just resolve it and call it a day. Call them back in a few weeks to make sure things are still ok. If one of your volunteers goes above and beyond, don’t just thank them in person. Write them a nice, handwritten thank you letter or acknowledge them at your next big event. It’s these types of actions that people will remember, and it’s these types of actions that will get people to stay.

3. Personalize everything

Your members don’t want to feel like just another face in the crowd. They want to feel special, and more importantly, like they belong. To convey that message to them, make sure you personalize everything - emails, letters, profile pages, etc. Now don’t panic. Even with 10,000+ members, this is extremely easy to do with the help of an association management system. An AMS can integrate with your organization’s database, allowing you to pull any of the member data you’re tracking into a clean and personalized email, a custom member profile message, a unique social community message, etc.

4. Always offer a solution

I saw an infographic from Amanda Kaiser recently that perfectly sums this up:



Members come to your organization to receive something they can’t get elsewhere. If you can meet your members’ problems with a unique set of solutions, not only will they be wow’d, but they’ll stay. Even if you can’t offer a solution, help them as much as you can. Here’s an example: I recently reached out to Zappos to see if they’d be restocking a particular pair of shoes. They said they weren’t sure, but instead of leaving it at that, they directed me towards several other stores that had the shoe - and in my size, at that. So even though Zappos didn’t have the solution I was originally looking for, they still provided me with one - and that’s what makes all the difference.

Looking for more ways to stay engaged with your members in 2016? Check out our free member engagement guide below!

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Topics: association management, member engagement, Small Staff Chatter

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