The onboarding of new members is the hottest discussion with association membership pros. Association partners are telling me onboarding, and following engagement is just as important as recruitment and retention tactics. Here are five quick tips to develop a successful onboarding program.
First and foremost, build out a separate process and operational program for onboarding. I recommend a process slated for unique and personal engagement 30, 60, and 90 days from joining.
Secondly, the measurement of successful onboarding is engagement. You must connect in some way with new members during this initial period. Do they join a community? Do they participate in an event? Do you invite them to a meeting or a committee discussion on an important topic? Members are not renewing due to “lack of engagement” or return on investment. This means the member isn’t active or has found the association is not worth the time and money. If we connect right away, the ROI goes way up.
The third element is segmentation. We know new members join for one, key compelling reason. Be sure to communicate often about the one aspect most important to them throughout the onboarding process. It’s just lazy to blast pull everything the association has to offer.
The fourth tip is to enable the communication tools available to all of us. During the onboarding process, identify how new members wish to engage. Is it by digital because of your email welcome resonated with them? Or, do they prefer the “old school” mailing of the membership kit? Very importantly, welcome the new member through social media. We understand through Marketing General’s Membership Marketing Study 70% of associations say members are increasing their engagement with the association through social media. By recognizing new members in this way, you amplify the value of membership and acknowledge their company.
The final tip: my colleague, Julie Divine has implemented a fantastic onboarding approach to an association client, and it is hugely successful. She begins with an online webinar for new members. Through this platform, she shows them how to navigate the “members-only” section of the website and tells them what to do should they lose their member password (because you know this will happen to them). So, by engaging them with a webinar right off the bat, you showcase tremendous member value.
To learn more on building an onboarding program at your association, join me for my next Moery webinar – “Onboarding New Members, and Why it Matters,” on October 11th at 2:30 pm. RSVP here for a calendar invitation. I look forward to speaking with you.