Every time you engage with your members or your members engage with you - that’s a touchpoint. Now touchpoints are crucial because they dictate emotion, opinion, and action (basically everything you want to be positive from your members).
That said, what type of strategy do you have behind your member touchpoints? Do you have a strategy or are you just taking it day-by-day?
If the latter resonates more, allow us to help. Here are three tips for building strategic member touchpoints at your association:
1. Think big picture
Often, associations do take member touchpoints day-by-day. They reach out to members when it makes sense - before an event, when dues renewals are approaching, when they need volunteers, etc. And to an extent, that’s necessary.
But in order to really add value, it’s important to look at the big picture. We’re talking member journey mapping.
Does your association have a member journey map (or several maps) in place? If not, you may want to consider making one. Yes, some of these can get VERY detailed, but if your resources are slim, start with a simple sketch. Outline what a typical professional journey looks like for one of your members. Perhaps they start as a young professional looking to gain experience and maybe even get certified. A few years down the road, they are certified and need help keeping that certification. Fast forward a few years, and perhaps they’re in a leadership position - looking to keep moving up the ladder. As you can see, the needs change based on where the member is at. And if you can understand what those needs are and when they arise (by developing a member journey map), you can then come up with strategic touchpoints to truly delight your members (a training class when they’re trying to get certified, a leadership toolkit when they get promoted, etc.).
2. Think about the positives and negatives that could come from each touchpoint
Isaac Newton said, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” - and that goes for member touchpoints as well. Every time you reach out to your members, they’re going to have a reaction. You hope it’s going to be positive, but sometimes, it’s just the opposite.
The key is understanding what could lead to a positive reaction and what could lead to a negative reaction - and making adjustments to your touchpoints accordingly.
For example, let’s say when someone has been a member for three years, they receive a coupon for a free educational event. Chances are, when you notify the member of that, they’re going to be delighted. That’s a touchpoint they maybe weren’t expecting, but nevertheless, will appreciate.
On the flip side, let’s say you reach out to a member about renewing their membership dues, but unfortunately, this is the first time they’ve heard from you in months! That could lead to a negative reaction - even though you didn’t intend for it to. Understanding what touchpoints could potentially be negative allows you to be more strategic in terms of when and how you reach out to your members. (In this case, you’d want to build in more touchpoints before sending out that renewal reminder.)
3. Use the data you have!
Determining when to reach out to your members is tough, but the good news is you HAVE data that can serve as a navigation tool. For example, let’s say you notice that the percentage of members that renew after one year is significantly lower than the percentage of members that renew after 3+ years. Why do you think that is? Well, that’s when you go back and look at your various touchpoints. When did you first reach out to that new member? How often did you reach out to that new member? Were they engaged at first and later dropped off or were they pretty disengaged from the get-go? Evaluating data like this (which you can easily do in an association management system) allows you to see where and how you can improve your various member touchpoints.
Want more tips for engaging your association through a variety of member touchpoints? Check out our free guide, Membership Engagement for Small-Staff Associations, below!