Creating Connections: 5 Digital Member Engagement Strategies

5 Minute Read
Members of a membership organization talk on a zoom call.

Creating Connections: 5 Digital Member Engagement Strategies

5 Minute Read

Modern technology has revolutionized how we can connect with others. People from around the world are now able to interact with and learn from each other, all from the comfort of their own homes. This is great news for member engagement strategies!

Effective member engagement is crucial for membership retention. Keeping members involved with your organization ensures your services stay top-of-mind for them. Facilitating meaningful networking and friendships between your members helps them view your association as a key piece of their community and identity. Member engagement is what reminds your members to renew for the next year before they even get your reminder.

From attending your events to connecting with your organization online, the more members interact with you, the more they’ll stay invested in your organization over time. By harnessing the power of modern technology and employing digital member engagement strategies, your organization can boost its members’ involvement year after year. Below, we’ll offer five digital member engagement strategies to get you started!

1. Cultivate new members.

As actor Will Rogers once said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Begin nurturing a long-lasting and productive relationship with each of your members as soon as they join. This sets a positive tone for your connection and shows them from the start that membership with your organization provides value.

Spend time with your member engagement team to brainstorm fun ways to welcome new members. Here are some ideas to get you going with making your new members feel especially welcome:

  • Personalize each welcome letter: Address your members by their preferred names and use any information you have to customize their welcome letters. Wish them a happy birthday if you know it’s just around the corner. Highlight specific member benefits they said they were interested in. Show them you care about them as an individual.
  • Provide an information packet about their membership: You can mail this or send an interactive online brochure. If you mail it, include a QR code they can scan for a digital copy they can always access. Highlight the key membership benefits they should remember to take advantage of and include frequently asked questions for quick reference.
  • Send a welcome gift: This could be branded merchandise, such as a reusable water bottle, shirt, or pen. It could also be a bring-a-friend pass to your next event. Give your members a little something so they know you care. It’s a bonus if it’s something that will make them think of your organization whenever they see it!
  • Spotlight them in a newsletter or social media post: Help new members feel extra welcome by letting your full community know they’ve joined. With fellow members saying hello and welcoming them after hearing the news in your member spotlight, they’ll feel a sense of connection and belonging with your group.
  • Organize a welcome event for new members: New things can feel scary! Take the edge off for your new members by facilitating a meet-and-greet with fellow members. You can do this in-person or through a digital event platform to make attendance easy for all.

These steps ensure new members start off with a great impression of your organization and approach their membership with excitement.

2. Optimize your website.

One of the first things we do these days when we want to learn about an organization is look them up online! Make sure that when your members do, they’re met with a modern, user-friendly site that communicates your brand well.

Having an optimized website for your members is incredibly valuable. In addition to being a key recruitment tool for new members, it allows current members to have a single resource where they can access everything they need to know about their membership. 

On your website, members should be able to:

  • Manage their membership
  • Connect with other members
  • Access educational content and resources
  • Sign up for events
  • Contact your staff if they have questions

Since many of us are now doing these tasks on the go, ensure your membership website is also mobile-friendly. Check your page load times and formatting on a variety of devices regularly to identify any needed improvements that could enhance a user’s experience.

3. Host virtual conferences and events.

One of the most significant benefits of a virtual conference or event is that it’s convenient and easy to attend. Your members don’t have to worry about commute time, finding parking, getting a babysitter, being based in your area, or any number of other hurdles to attend. This means that hosting virtual events can often boost your overall attendance rate!

Additionally, organizing a virtual event for your members requires less time and resources from your staff. You don’t have to worry about securing an event space, doing set-up and take-down, training volunteers, or other in-person to-dos.

However, you will need to consider ways to inspire engagement over your virtual event platform. Even though you’re communicating through digital screens, be sure to encourage interactions through approaches such as: 

  • Breakout rooms
  • Chat features
  • Polling options
  • Icebreakers

Offering virtual events is an easy way for members to stay engaged with your organization by being able to participate from wherever they are.

4. Segment your members.

Different members have different needs and interests! You can show your members you care about their unique connection to your organization by personalizing their experience. By segmenting your members into different cohorts, you can accomplish this without additional administrative burden on your staff.

Review your members’ data to better understand their:

  • Communication preferences: Do they prefer emails? Snail mail? Social media? Text messages? Group members by how they want to hear from you.
  • Interests: Do your members want to hear about upcoming talks? In-person events? Specific topics? Are they interested in networking and socializing opportunities, or certification programs and learning sessions? Make sure each member is in a cohort that receives the information that’s most important to them.
  • Demographics: Are they mid-career professionals? Interns? CEOs? Consider age, financial capacity, and other demographic characteristics that could inform which membership benefits and communication styles are most important to different members.

You can use what you learn from your member data to enhance your marketing results by segmenting your communications based on members’ interests and past involvement with your organization. Based on this information, engage with them through some of these online methods:

  • Email newsletters
  • Social media
  • Blog articles
  • Online discussion boards

By showing that you’re prioritizing each member’s personal experience with your organization, you strengthen engagement among your members. And with the right software and segmentation, you can automate much of this process.

5. Measure engagement metrics.

Now, just because something works once doesn’t mean it always will! Keep your membership organization fresh and exciting for members by reviewing your engagement tactics regularly and making adjustments whenever necessary.

There are a variety of metrics you can review to help inform your engagement strategy’s success, such as:

  • Social media interactions
  • Virtual event attendance
  • Email newsletter open rates
  • Website utilization rates
  • Discussion forum participation

You can also conduct annual or quarterly membership satisfaction surveys to gain greater insight and ideas from your members about areas where you’re doing well and those that could be improved to further increase member engagement. Include a variety of questions about: 

  • Current and proposed member services
  • Member experiences using your digital platforms
  • Overall satisfaction levels with the value your membership provides

Leverage different question types, including rating scales, multiple choice, and open-ended text boxes. This will give you a wide array of information to inform your engagement strategy. Just remember that in order to keep your members engaged for the long run, it’s important to consistently evaluate and adjust your member engagement strategy!

Keep Members Engaged Through Digital Outreach and Strategy

Using digital strategies has significant potential for boosting member engagement with your organization. When used effectively, these virtual approaches prioritize members’ convenience, tailor communications successfully, and show members you value them.

At the end of the day, engaged members are retained members. So, meet your members where they are by offering easy ways for them to build connections with your work and fellow members through digital platforms. 

Consider how you can optimize your digital engagement to be mobile-friendly and personalized for each member. The more you invest in your digital member engagement strategies, the more connected your members will feel toward each other and your overall mission!

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