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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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Survey Says…Just Ask!

Posted by Callie Walker


For many associations, membership retention is the key to success. But it shouldn’t be your organization’s only measure of success. If you really want your association to grow, you need to bring back former members and engage with individuals who’ve never been members at all.

But how do you engage with people who’ve never even heard of your organization?

Simple. Survey them! 

A lot of organizations are good about surveying former members, but don’t think to survey current and never-been members. But let me tell you, if you really want to grow your membership, it’s important to examine all three.

Take a look:

Current members

We see this happen all the time. Associations just assume their members are happy until one day, that member – and their dues – disappear. Come to find out, that member had been unhappy all along.

Don’t wait until your members leave to find out they’re unhappy. Survey them throughout the year to make sure their needs are being met. Ask them what offerings they like and what areas could be improved upon. That way, if there are any problems, you have an opportunity to fix them upfront. 

Former members

Despite even the best renewal strategies, there will always be members that choose not to renew. When a member decides to leave your organization, send them a short survey to find out why they left, what offerings they liked, and what areas of your organization could be improved upon. Take time to read through those responses and then use them to better your organization’s offerings and retention rates over time. 

Never-been members

If you really want to grow your association, try reaching out to never-been members. This is where you’ll likely find the most surprising information. Ask them if they’ve ever been involved in an organization, why or why not, and what offerings would entice them to join. Remember though, the key here is to survey people that match your member personas. If your organization doesn’t have member personas, try creating them with these three easy steps.

Want more tips for increasing membership retention? Download our free retention guide below!

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Topics: association management, member retention, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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