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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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5 Steps to Personas, Prospecting, and Peace of Mind

Posted by Callie Walker


A new member joins your association. At first, he or she is active – reaching out to others, participating in events, and attending local meetings. But after a while, you stop seeing that member, and sooner or later, their dues disappear too. 

For many associations, this scenario is common. But while some member lapses are simply unavoidable, many can be prevented right from the start.  

That’s right, we’re talking about personas and prospecting.  

Part of retaining a solid membership involves choosing the right members to begin with. Your ideal members are the ones that identify with your association’s mission and, more importantly, see value in your organization’s offerings.

Not sure who your ideal members are? Try creating member personas. Member personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal members based on market research and real data about your existing members. By focusing your efforts on these key individuals, you’re more likely to have better member retention from the start.

In order to create accurate personas, five steps are needed:

Step 1: Conduct research

In order to create accurate personas, you need to talk to as many existing members as you can. Ask them questions about their occupation, family, career, etc. Find out what a typical day in their life looks like, as well as why they joined your organization.

Step 2: Form skeletons

As you do your research, you’ll probably start to notice similarities in the types of responses people give. Use those trends to create skeletons of your member personas. Skeletons are brief and can be made up of a bulleted list of characteristics. 

Step 3: Bring your personas to life

Once your skeletons are complete, it’s time to bring those personas to life. Take the information you have and weave it into stories to better depict who your personas are as people. It’s also a good idea to give your personas a name and face to further humanize them.

Step 4: Share them with your team

Now it’s time to share your personas with the rest of your team! Encourage everyone to keep your personas in mind when planning future content and events. 

Step 5: Rinse and repeat

Personas don’t ever have to be completely done. In fact, personas may actually change over time, so it’s important to revisit them often and make changes as necessary.

Creating personas is only the first step in building up solid membership retention. Want more tips and tricks? Download our free member retention guide below!

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Topics: association management, member retention, Small Staff Chatter

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