Losing members faster than you can even say goodbye to them? If your association is really struggling to maintain member rates, it’s time to get down to the bottom of the mystery.
Be honest, there’s a lot going on at your organization. From events, to reigning in revenue, website updates and projects, to… well, pretty much anything you can fathom. With so many moving parts going into making an association great, it can be easy to focus in on the details and be blind to the overall picture- a picture that includes your membership.
Scarily enough, losing members is easier than you may think. While there are so many reasons for an individual to become a member of your association, there are just as many if not more reasons to stray from the pack. No matter the loyalty or time spent with your organization, if needs aren’t met members will have no choice but to say goodbye.
Managing the rate of losses your association’s membership takes is all about noticing what’s driving members away in the first place and fixing those errors. So, we’d like to show you 3 steps your association can take to stop member loss in its tracks and turn retention around for the better.
With our tips, you can take an issue that seems larger than life and boil it down into a process that you’re proud of.
Step #1: Optimize your onboarding strategy.
Members want to feel at home with your association from the second they come on board. But if your onboarding process doesn’t have that “at home” feeling to it, you won’t be setting a great first impression.
New member onboarding is a process all in its own. It’s both apart of the member retention process and a separate entity in its own respect, and it should be treated with the same importance as member renewal. After all, new members won’t stick around for very long if they don’t feel respected and comfortable from the get go.
You’ll want to optimize onboarding in order to keep things running smoothly from start to finish. In order to do this, take your association’s current onboarding strategy and give it a quick audit. What do you do to make new members feel welcome? Are the materials and messages you’re sending them impacting the way they navigate your benefits as a new member? What could you be doing differently to benefit them more?
Taking a look at your onboarding mishaps can give you important insight into the future of new member retention, hopefully allowing you to make changes sooner rather than too late.
Step #2: Tighten up your online member community.
Once you’ve taken a closer look at how new members are doing, you’ll want to assess current member engagement. Your members should be interacting with both your association’s staff and other members to form a healthy community full of support and growth.
In order to do this, you’ll want to focus on you online member community. For many larger associations with a membership base spread out across the country, having online communication is essential. It allows everyone to be on the same page at a convenient time of their choice. And therefore, online member communities should be held to high standards.
And a premium online member community boils down to just a few things: technology, accessibility, and content. If you can master these three components, you’re on your way to better member engagement- and hopefully less members lost.
For technology, always choose a platform that works well for your association. There are so many different options out there, so do your research and choose wisely. As for accessibility, members shouldn’t feel like they have to struggle to navigate your member platform. Making things easy for members will result in less stress and frustration. And for content, you want to be sure your member community is a host for articles, videos, blog posts, and other things members can actually interact with.
Tightening any loose screws on your online member community can help keep engagement at a healthy level.
Step #3: Get the feedback you deserve.
Do you feel like you don’t even know how to help members stay with your association even if you tried? If so, you could be lacking the feedback you need.
Getting feedback from your members will allow you to get to the source of your member retention issues. It’s a way to see how they’re actually feeling about important association activities such as: Events, benefits, webinars, discounts, and so much more. And it’s a goldmine of ideas to help boost your association into a new level and keep members coming back for more.
Be sure to ask members for their thoughts and opinions frequently. Send out feedback surveys on a quarterly basis via email or direct mail. Similarly, you should have a place on your website for member feedback. You can place a small feedback box with the phrase, “How are we doing?” and have members send in comments directly to your association’s staff to deal with properly.
By getting feedback on your performance, you’ll be able to tackle problems before they become big enough to drive away members from your organization.
Member loss doesn’t have to come out of nowhere and damage your association to such extremes. With 3 simple steps, you can get started minimizing your losses and better managing your association’s membership.