Blame it on social media or helicopter parents, but members expect more of us these days. The one-size-fits-all model of association membership is dead. As Seth Godin said, “The riskiest thing you can do now is be safe. The safe thing to do is be at the fringes, be remarkable.” Doing things as they’ve always been done is a recipe for extinction.
But providing a customized member experience for everyone is hard work and one that requires resources that many associations don’t have.
Associations are looking to customize:
- The recruiting and onboarding processes
- Dues renewal
- Marketing communication, and more
That’s a lot of hard work but it can be done with minimal resources by following a few of the suggestions below.
Poll your members. Find out what your members want and offer it. Do this by online polling, emailing questionnaires, and/or talking with them. Get a representative cross-section of your membership and not just the opinions of the squeaky wheels. Ensure your members understand that all of these questions will help you better address their needs.
Get inspiration elsewhere. It’s not enough to poll members. Their ideas of what they want are based mainly on their experience. For additional innovative idea, look around at other associations and companies for things they’re doing to engage their followers. Follow a lot of different organizations on social media to see how they interact with their audience. Mimic what you find effective.
Use technology to increase your efficiency. From implementing an AMS to social listening tools, take some time to find the technology that will help you become more efficient. Software that helps you manage and streamline your member processes will free up the extra time you need to engage your members on a deeper level.
The trick to developing more solid relationships with your members is making them feel welcome. This can mean very different things to different people so the more feedback you receive on what that means to them, the more successful you will be.