Investing in an association membership is a huge step for many professionals to take, which is why it is so important to create a new member welcome experience that is positive, informative and valuable from the first day.
Creating a new member welcome experience that possesses these characteristics will help your association retain members for years to come and will help grow your membership base significantly.
So, what should your association be doing once a new member joins? Here are 6 tips that are sure to help you welcome new members without overwhelming them:
- Immediately send an informational kit
- Confirm their decision to join was the right one
- Make it easy to find high value content
- Help them find their tribe
- Shout out new members
- Stay connected
1. Immediately send an informational kit
Before you start promoting all the amazing benefits you offer, immediately confirm with the new member that what they did was successful. Confirm their payment went through with an auto-responder email and that their information was received. This helps make the new member feel secure in their purchase and become familiar with your payment process.
Now you can send out the informational kit so the new member will have all the information they need to begin their member journey in one place. In the kit, re-state the member benefits they now have access to so they feel good about their investment. Include a link to a landing page that has more in-depth details about the benefits they can access and begin using.
Pro tip: Personalize your email with a staff member’s name instead of a [email protected] address! These types of addresses indicate lack of human connection and support – which is not the best way to create a member community. Humanize your communications with a staff member’s name to make new members feel comfortable.
The last piece to include in your informational welcome kit is a short, 2 to 3 question survey asking why they decided to join your association. Again, you don’t want to annoy your new members by asking them to fill out a long, tedious survey, so just keep it short and sweet!
2. Confirm their decision to join was the right one
As stated before, joining an association can be a huge step and investment for a new member to take, so confirming their decision was in fact the right one will make all the difference in their comfort and engagement level.
Congratulate them on this achievement and reinforce they made the right choice by including a line like “Congratulations! You’ve just joined our exclusive network of almost 5,000 professionals in your industry!”
Including a line like this signals this was the correct decision, makes them feel confident in their decision and can find comfort in knowing they are joining other like-minded individuals in their industry on this journey.
3. Make it easy to find high value content
To ensure there are no miscommunications or questions about the benefits offered through your membership, include links to resources and landing pages that describe your benefits in detail.
For example, creating a landing page for your career center is a great way to explain the benefits associated with using this benefit and is an easy way for members to refer back to it months or years later. It helps keep all your information in one place so members and prospective members can easily review it if they have questions about the career center.
Be sure to include links to sign up for your newsletters, blog subscription and events calendar so new members can quickly sign up for communications and register for any upcoming events or webinars.
4. Help them find their tribe
Including links to social media channels, online communities, member directories, mentor programs and other networking opportunities helps your members become acquainted with their peers and grow their professional network. Networking opportunities are often one reason why many people decide to join associations, so making it easy for them to connect with their peers creates a sense of community and appreciation for your association.
Pro tip: Include introductions of staff members they may need to contact at some point if they need assistance with payments, experience account issues or need help navigating their member benefits. Introducing these employees at the beginning of membership helps make new members feel comfortable reaching out for assistance and so they don’t have to dig around your website to find the correct phone number or email address.
5. Shout-out new members
When new members join, considering giving them a shout-out in your newsletters, on your website or in a social media post to make them feel welcome. Be sure to ask each new member for permission to share this update before you send out any announcements. When a new member agrees to this, have them send you a head-shot, a short bio about themselves, what they are most excited about in joining your association, and any social media handles so other members can connect with them.
This is also a great way for existing members to see who has recently joined so they can reach out, offer guidance or advice, and build their own professional network as well.
6. Stay connected
After 45 – 60 days, otherwise known as the honeymoon period, send a follow up email or give new members a call to say hello and see how their member journey is progressing. This can be an opportunity to provide advice on which services they should use or remind them of member benefits they haven’t taken advantage of yet by reviewing your AMS and career center data.
This is another chance to send out a brief survey to gauge where they’re at in their member journey. Are they enjoying being a member? Do they see and feel the value in this membership? Do they feel engaged and noticed by your association?
Knowing how your new members are feeling after a month or two into their membership journey will help you better understand member expectations so you can improve your onboarding process for the future and retain more members.
Your first few interactions with new members are critical to improving member retention rates and the overall success of your onboarding process. Developing a new member experience that is positive, informative and valuable will help you achieve these goals and create lifetime members.
Experiment with a mix of these 6 tips to see which ones your members respond to the most and get one step closer to creating the perfect new member welcome experience.