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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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Are Mailed-Out New Member Welcome Packets ‘Outdated?’

Posted by Callie Walker

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One of the most common ways to engage and onboard your new members is by sending a new member welcome packet - usually by mail. But with everything going digital these days, are traditional, mailed-out welcome packets ‘outdated?’ Are your new members expecting more - or just something different - from your association?

The short answer: No. There’s a time and a place for every type of marketing (both print marketing and digital), and in the case of the welcoming your new members, both are necessary.

See, people aren’t receiving as much print mail as they used to - everything DID go digital. So if you send your new members a nice printed welcome packet, they’re likely to 1) actually read it (yay!), and 2) appreciate the small element of surprise.

Now a few important notes about mailed-out welcome packets…

Just because you don’t have to redo your new member welcome packet (take it from print to digital entirely), doesn’t mean you shouldn’t revamp it.

New member welcome packets should be revisited/potentially updated at least once a year. You don’t have to do a major overhaul every time you revisit them, but look to make little tweaks (or better yet, improvements) here and there.

A few improvements you could make now…

  • Consider including a welcome letter from the President/Executive Director - If your new member welcome packet doesn’t already contain a welcome letter from the President/Executive Director, you may want to consider including one. This should come from the President/Executive Director (in other words, it should be heartfelt) and be placed at the beginning of the new member welcome packet. This just creates a good first impression for your association and helps build the relationship between your new member and the senior leadership team.
  • Consider including a gift card/coupon code - When a new member joins your organization, the first thing you want them to do is start engaging with you. Why not encourage that type of behavior by including a little coupon in your new member welcome packet? This could be for a free educational event (a webinar, for example) or even a percentage off one of your educational events. Either way, it’s a nice little treat for your new members - with an added benefit for your association!

Just because you don’t have to get rid of your printed new member welcome packet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have digital components as well.

Yes, we’re big advocates of the printed new member welcome packet, but don’t ditch the digital efforts altogether! The two should work together - to accelerate onboarding and amplify engagement.

In addition to sending out a printed new member welcome packet, be sure to send your new members a couple emails as well - one as soon as they join (before they even get the new member welcome packet), one a few weeks later inviting them to an upcoming meeting or event, and one even a few weeks later with some special members-only content.

Be sure to invite your members to ‘like’ you on social media and get involved in your online social community (if you have one) as well. (*Many organizations have channels specifically for new members.) These types of tactics paired with your printed new member welcome packet are just enough to get new members to ‘take that next step’ - whether it be to visit your website, register for a meeting or event, or start reading (and maybe even sharing) your members-only content.

Still struggling to get your new members to take that next step? Allow us to help! Check out our free guide, 6 Tips for Onboarding New Members, below!

7 Musts for New Member Onboarding  How to make your new members feel right at home Download this guide

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

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