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How to Keep Your Members Engaged Through the Holiday Season

Engagement Audra Hopkins

While the holidays can be a great time to get together with family and share some awesome memories, it can also be a scary time for associations looking to keep all of their members engaged.

Q4 can always be a tough time to get all of your members together and on board with any of your association’s current updates. With your members’ focus shifting into family life, holiday present wrapping, and all the fun that comes along with it, they may be putting your association on the back burner without even realizing it.

Your association has a lot to offer members, especially in the winter months. With discounts and benefits happening all season, this can be a great time for members to utilize their membership perks and save a few bucks during the holiday season. But it’s up to your association to get their attention.

With the right strategy in hand, your association will be able to pull in even the most holiday-obsessed member and get them back on the engagement track. So, let’s go over a few ways your association can learn how to keep up the engagement efforts even through the holiday excitement.

 

The dreaded holiday dead zone

It’s the holiday season- and your members are about to take some time off from their hectic work schedules. And while that thought alone shouldn’t be enough to scare your association off- their lack of communication will.

Let’s face it, members are going off the grid during the holidays. They will not be checking their emails, or perusing social media looking for new posts, and they definitely will not be answering phone calls. As far as your association is concerned, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day your members have just entered a complete dead zone in terms of communication.

And overwhelming your members with messages once they return can only make things worse.

Think about it, if your members open their email inbox once they’re back in the office and see a pile of emails from your association, what is their likely response? They may be so overwhelmed with messages (a phenomenon we know as email fatigue) that they just entirely ignore any messages you might have sent- making your efforts completely go to waste.

So, instead of spreading out your messages, consider creating one large catch-up email for members to read once they get back into their work space.

Creating a “while you were away” email is a great way to ensure members don’t miss out on any important updates that occured over the holidays. You can link to any new, exciting content you’ve produced in that time, inform them on any major changes and/or membership deals running, and even provide a helpful calendar to let them know where you’re at in terms of events and conferences.

Similarly, you should also keep your social media use to a minimum. Unless you have pressing news, you may want to wait until you’re sure your members are back on social media, so you can ensure your engagement efforts are going somewhere valuable.

Pre-make and schedule content

Just because your outreach efforts are being dialed down doesn’t mean you should miss out on a chance to create killer content throughout the holidays.

Content is a great solution to your engagement problems because it allows members to consume highly-valuable and interesting information on their own schedule. Keeping up with your content will allow members to have something to read when they have down time during the holidays. Or, it will provide them with a lot to keep them occupied once they return from their time off.

But creating content and keeping it updated over the holidays can be a lot of work for your association’s staff- and of course you want to enjoy your holiday as well.

By scheduling your content pieces ahead of time, you can ensure fresh, new content goes up on your association’s website while your staff is away. This eases the stress of having your members engaged while still making time to relax yourself!

Sit down with your association’s team to come up with a few unique content pieces to push out over the holidays. Then, create a reasonable schedule to make sure that content is distributed evenly for all of the major holiday breaks.

 

Ask for reviews beforehand

With the holidays leading right into the end of the year, this is a great time to get a performance rating on how your association is rating with its members. But getting that review during the holidays can be virtually impossible.

That’s why it’s important for your association to get your review requests in early. You want to have all of your responses in before the end of the year, so you can both reach members before they go dark and prepare to make serious changes at the start of the new year.

Sending out an email survey weeks in advance will give your association a better shot at getting the answers you’re looking for. Preparing all of your materials and putting them into a well-timed email campaign can seal the deal and help you contact members just before they check out for the holidays.

When it comes to your surveys, you want to keep them short and sweet. You never want to overwhelm your members or make them dedicate time they do not have to spare, but especially during this season. Create short, close ended questions that will get you the answers you need without asking a lot from members.

Preparing for reviews will make getting feedback for the new year a much easier process.

 

Make engagement hassle free

Asking your members to do anything strenuous and/or thought provoking can be hard in any case. But trying to get new things accomplished in Q4 around the holidays is almost a lost cause.

So, instead of calling on your members for new tasks, you can engage them by by reminiscing on great moments your association has had with them over the year. Think of this as a recap of all the great things you want members to remember about your association when taking time off during the holidays.

This is a great way to keep your association fresh in members’ minds no matter how much time they take off. You can create photo collages of events, send out an email of shared accomplishments, and wish members a great holiday season (and let them know you’ll be excited to hear from them in the new year!)

By bringing up past memories, you can get members in the holiday spirit and hopefully push them towards making more memories with your association in the future.

Don’t let the holidays take engaging members off the table. Work around those quieter holiday breaks, and you can find yourself with a strong membership even as you welcome the new year.

 

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