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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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Shining a Spotlight on Your Association’s Member Benefits

Posted by Callie Walker

Benefit of the Month Program

How many benefits does your association have? Better question: How many of those benefits do your members actually use? Do you have benefits that your members don’t even know about? If we had to guess, we’d say yes.

But since members are already paying dues, don’t you want them to take advantage of all that they can? You want them to receive max value so they’ll continue to renew their membership.

Now you may be thinking, “Those benefits are listed on our association’s website. AND we include them in our onboarding documentation. How else can we get the message across?”

Well we recommend narrowing your focus. When you try to cover everything, that’s when people pick and choose. They may absorb the first two or three benefits you list, but after that, the information starts to get lost.

One tactic we recommend trying out: creating a “Benefit of the Month.” Pick one of your benefits (preferably one you’d like members to utilize more) and promote that heavily throughout the month. Include it in your organization’s newsletter, on your member landing page, in a special email campaign, in your online social community (if you have one), etc. And don’t just explain what the benefit is, but explain exactly how your members can access it and, if possible, offer some kind of time-sensitive special (for that month only).

Here’s an example: Let’s say one of your benefits is a discounted member rate for educational webinars. Well, if that’s your Benefit of the Month, consider discounting those registration rates even more. If your webinars are traditionally $45 for members, consider offering them for $30/member for that month only. The benefits here are twofold: Not only does this put lesser-known benefits on people’s radar, but it boosts the likelihood that people will actually take advantage of those benefits. And, not only that, but if people do take advantage of a certain benefit (because of the deal) and they find that they actually like that benefit, you’ve now spurred long-term engagement (even when the price goes back up).

One other note worth mentioning: Creating a program like this is also good for uncovering member insights. See, if you select a Benefit of the Month and notice that members still don’t take advantage (even if there’s a deal), that may mean it’s a benefit your members simply aren’t interested in. We recommend promoting it a few more times before nixing it altogether, but if it’s a benefit you spend quite a good amount of resources on (time, money, etc.) and your members really aren’t all that interested, it may be worth replacing it with something else - something your members will actually benefit from. Or, putting those resources into an existing benefit that your members do utilize - to make it even better.

Has your association experimented with a “Benefit of the Month” program? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

And for more tips on engaging your association’s membership, check out our free guide, Membership Engagement for Small-Staff Associations, below!

Membership Engagement  A comprehensive guide to engaging your organization's membership Download this guide

Topics: association management, member engagement, membership management, Association Views

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