As an association professional, a huge part of your day goes towards collecting member data and learning more about your membership as a whole.
In fact, your association would probably be nothing without your member data. With members being the core of every decision and move you make, it’s important you have enough data on them to reach out, know who they are and what they want from you, and make sure they stay content in their membership.
With that being said, it’s important to take some time to reflect on the current state of your association’s membership database.
If you haven’t made an assessment on the current state of your member data, you may be surprised to find out there could be missing pieces, confusion organization, or other faults that are hindering your chances of engaging with members. While you try your best to keep everything in order, it’s easy to fall behind with the busy schedule of managing your association.
So, if you’re looking for a better way to refresh your current member data and improve your system for the future, you can find some answers within this article.
We’re going to give you 4 easy steps you can follow to better member data for your membership tracking efforts. That’s right, just 4 steps and you’re on your way to fresher data.
Let’s get started.
1. Clean up your email list
Most likely, your association relies on email as its main source of communication with its membership. It’s a quick and easy way to send out information and receive feedback. But with an out of tune email list, your messages could be floating by with zero engagement from some members.
If you frequently have emails that bounce or return to the sender, it could have something to do with the organization of your email database. And if your emails aren’t reaching members (or are ending up in spam folders), it could spell bad news for the future state of your membership rates.
Going through your email list on a regular basis can cut down on the misinformation and organize things to create a better emailing process.
Combat these malfunctions by reviewing your email contacts. Try to find out if these emails match up with members, or if they’re just a dead end. If you see that email addresses are no longer working and bounce your emails, remove them from your list to cut down on confusion.
You can also reach out to your members using other methods and see if they’re willing to update their profile information or provide a new email address. Your members may not know that the address they provided is no longer bringing them the messages they signed up for.
As a side note, it’s beneficial to monitor your email open and click through rates.
Proper email tracking can tell you whether or not your emails are being engaged with. And if your emails aren’t reaching members like they used to, it could be an indicator that your email list needs some work.
With any great membership database, first comes data cleanup.
2. Keep engagement tracking as a top priority
Engagement tracking can tell you everything you need to know about your members and their satisfaction with your association. And by always monitoring your engagement tracking data, you can stay on top of your membership at all time.
There’s a lot of different facets your association can cover when it comes to tracking. As we mentioned before, email tracking is just one way to keep tabs on how your members interact with your association, but there are many different other tracking methods you can consider using.
One way to track engagement is to use a tool like Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a free online tool that any organization can use to keep track of their website engagement. It can tell you what web pages are getting great engagement, where your website visitors are coming from around the world, and when your engagement is the best.
Using this information, you can track how and where your members view your association’s web content. It can also tell you a little bit more about your association’s demographic.
Keeping your engagement tracking as a top priority can help you get an insight on your members that you may not have had before.
3. Make data acquisition a must from the start
If you want to create an accurate database right off the bat, it’s important to have data acquisition be one of the first things your association focuses on when bringing on a new member.
Integrating your data acquisition into your member onboarding process is a great way to make sure you get the information you need from the start. It can save you the hassle of having to track down information from members later on (especially from those hard to reach members).
Sit down with your association’s team and create a way to integrate data acquisition into member onboarding.
There are many ways to do this. You can send members an information form to fill out during their application process. Make this form a mandatory task for members before coming into your membership, this way giving them the motivation to give you data.
If you have an online community, you can encourage members to keep their information regularly updated for your association’s use.
While this isn’t as direct as including it in your member onboarding, it can get long lasting members to refresh old data and bring them back into your association’s sights. You could retrieve data that you didn’t even know was outdated.
Or, you can come up with a data acquisition process that works well for your association. Since every association is different and your member onboarding strategy is unique to others, you can adjust your data acquisition plan to fit what your association’s data needs are.
4. Strive for quality, not quantity
While it might seem great to have an extensive list of member data, often times quantity can lead to less quality.
You want a list that’s made up of only the best information on your members. If you keep a list of all the information you’ve ever collected, it could lead to dead ends, unengaged members, and mistakes that you would not make otherwise.
Keep your focus on the idea of creating a high-quality list, whether the quantity is high and low. It’ll save your association time and frustration in the long run.
Be sure to regularly monitor your membership data to make sure you’re collecting the right information. Analyze your contact information and demographics and see if the information meets the standards that your association has for quality data. If not, feel free to set it aside- or get rid of it altogether.
With just 4 easy steps, you can get your member data on the right track and use it to enhance your association’s membership.
Try incorporating these steps into your current member data acquisition strategy and see how you can improve your data and your member engagement/retention rates.