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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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Industry Buzz: 3 Key Takeaways from #MCLIVE18

Posted by Callie Walker

Takeaways from #MCLIVE18

If you follow us on social media, you likely know about the conference we just held in Indianapolis - MC LIVE! (If you don’t follow us on social media, well...you should! All the links are at the bottom of this page.)

That said, at MC LIVE!, there were a number of breakout sessions covering a variety of industry-related topics: how to work with a difficult board (yeah, we’ve all been there), how to improve the member experience, how to more effectively manage your organization’s data - all that good stuff.

Now as you can imagine, we left with pages and pages (and pages and pages) of notes, but if we were to pull only a few key takeaways, they’d be as follows:

Takeaway #1: Partnerships should be about more than just the products and services themselves (and the economical benefits that come with those). For a partnership to be truly successful, organizational values MUST align.

Too often, when companies and organizations seek partnerships, they focus almost entirely on the economical gain. But while that’s certainly important, for a partnership to be truly successful (and one that can withstand time), the two companies/organizations pairing up must share similar values.

This point was made by MemberClicks’ President and CEO, Mark Sedgley, in a panel discussion about non-dues revenue with industry leaders from Payscape and JobBoard.io, powered by ZipRecruiter, two of MemberClicks’ current partners. Sedgley talked about waiting years (10, in fact!) before entering into a formal partnership with Payscape. The reason? He needed to know 1) that the two companies values aligned, and 2) that it would be mutually beneficial for both customer bases.

Because that’s what partnerships should really boil down to: Providing the customer with added value. If you can make the case for that, you’ll be staring into a pretty bright future (for both you and your members).

Takeaway #2: Customer experience is NOT the same as customer service (but both are critical to member satisfaction and retention).

You’ve probably heard the term “customer experience” tossed around quite a bit lately. And for many, that’s synonymous with “customer service.” Good customer service means a good customer experience, right?

Well according to Adrienne Bryant, Account Executive at IntrinXec Management, Inc., those terms actually represent two very different things. Customer service, for the most part, is reactive. When you provide good customer service, you’re reacting to a situation brought forth to you: A member coming to you with a question or complaint, a member checking in at registration, etc. But customer experience, on the flip side, is proactive. It involves you thinking about ways to make your members happy before they even come to you. (Think member journey mapping.)

Is one more important than the other? Nope. They both impact member satisfaction/retention and both deserve some thought and effort.

Takeaway #3: When it comes to managing your organization’s data, one of the most impactful tactics you can take is creating an internal users group.

Data management is one thing all organizations strive to improve. No organization’s database is perfect because, let’s face it, data can never really be perfect (addresses and occupations are always changing).

But data can be improved upon, and Wes Trochlil, President of Effective Database Management, talked about several tactics for doing just that. The one tactic, though, that typically has the most value for organizations is creating an internal users group.

Think about conferences and professional development events that you’ve attended. Typically, you learn just as much (if not more) from other attendees as you do from the speakers. Well, the same thing applies internally. Consider creating a users group (of staff and/or volunteers - whoever uses your database the most) that gets together to talk about what’s going on in the system. Typically, different staff members have different jobs, and so they’re focused on different parts of the database, not everything (and rightfully so). Well, by creating a users group, you’re giving them an opportunity to come together and look at/discuss “the everything” - how everybody’s individual pieces come together.

That’s MAJOR in terms of cleaning up your data and using it to its full potential.

As you can see, we learned a LOT at MC LIVE! - and got to hang with some of the best customers around. To see more of what went down in Indy last week, check out our photos on Facebook!

And for more tips about successfully managing your organization, check out our Ultimate Guide to Membership Management below. It’s filled with best practices for member recruitment, onboarding, engagement, retention - the whole nine yards!

The Ultimate Guide to Membership Management  Everything you need to know about managing your membership online, from  acquisition to engagement to retention. Download this guide

Topics: association management, association leadership, Association Views

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