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MC Talks
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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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MC Talks, Halloween Edition: 3 Horror Stories for Association Pros

Posted by Callie Walker


Halloween is right around the corner, and with that comes scary movies, haunted houses, spooky costumes, and other creepy traditions.

But you know what’s really creepy? The horror stories that aren’t made up! And some of those, association professionals know all too well.

In fact, here are three horror stories association professionals fear (and often face), and more importantly, a few solutions/workarounds for each:

Horror Story #1: With the holidays approaching, your members are starting to disengage.

Eek! This is a common problem for association pros, and one that happens nearly every single year. But that doesn’t make it any less scary! We all know the importance of membership engagement, so how do you keep your members engaged even during the busy holiday season?

Here’s a tip: Try using the holidays to your advantage. For example, with Thanksgiving coming up, try hosting a Thanksgiving potluck for your members. Or with Christmas right around the corner, consider hosting a Christmas party. You can even allow your members to invite their family, if you think that will help boost attendance.

Don’t have the budget for another event? Get creative with social media! In fact, here are four ways to leverage social media during the holidays and keep your members and potential members engaged.

Horror Story #2: You have an event coming up, but registrations are WAY low.

There’s nothing scarier than being weeks away from your big event and having way too few people registered. The last thing you want is to LOSE money off an event. So what do you do?!

Well first, don’t stop promoting! Whether registrations are low or not, it’s a best practice to promote your event right up until it starts (or right up until it sells out, best case scenario). Make sure you’re promoting it on social media, via email, on your organization’s website, etc. In addition to that, get creative with your promo tactics. Can you offer a 24-hour flash sale on tickets? Or a special where the first 50 registrants get a free t-shirt and/or koozie? These are tactics worth giving a try. (More tips on promoting your association’s event here.)

Horror Story #3: Dues renewal season is right around the corner, and honestly, you don’t know where your members stand.

Oh man, this is perhaps the scariest of them all. You put SO much time and energy into recruiting new members, the last thing you want is to lose them and have to start again. So what’s an association professional to do?

Well if you can, start your dues renewal efforts early. According to Marketing General Incorporated’s 2016 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, associations that start their renewal efforts three or more months prior to expiration are significantly more likely to have an 80 percent or higher renewal rate. So don’t wait! Start sending those reminder emails out ASAP!

Additionally, to avoid panic towards the end and/or beginning of the year (if that’s when your renewal season starts), try sending out member satisfaction surveys mid-year - or at least a few months prior to dues renewal season. If you can find out early on whether or not your members are happy, you can 1) make adjustments to make/keep them happy, and 2) not have to play as much of a guessing game come dues renewal season.

We get it - association management can be scary. But the last thing we want is for you to experience a real-life horror story!

Let us make it a little bit easier for you. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Membership Management below. It’s filled with best practices for membership recruitment, engagement, retention and more!

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, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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