Increase member retention for your association by supporting your members’ journey – from backpack to briefcase
The complete member journey requires you to implement strategies and techniques to support your members needs through each phase of their career. Here are seven strategies and techniques for supporting the needs of all your members – from students to retirees, and everyone in between.
Serving your members means delivering a great experience from their first interaction with your organization to the moment they renew. From the association’s perspective, you may think about the member experience in phases: acquisition, onboarding, engagement, and renewal.
But it’s also important to think about your members’ needs and expectations as they move through their careers. The complete member journey requires you to implement strategies and techniques to support their needs through each phase of their career – from student and early career to retirement.
Here are seven ways to support members through various stages of their career journey:
While members typically join an association to develop and grow their careers, they get value from the organizations to which they belong in different ways along their career journey.
1. Consider what members want. The 2018 Member Education and Career Development Report found that many individuals join member-based organizations because they seek a place where they can network with other individuals while growing and developing their careers in various ways. In fact, fifty-one percent of members surveyed say they joined their current organizations for benefits such as continuing education and networking.
Another report, the Member Engagement Study, found generational differences indicating that members may value different benefits early in their careers than they do in the middle and latter stages of their careers.
So while members typically join an association to develop and grow their careers, they get value from the organizations to which they belong in different ways along their career journey. Think about your members’ career journey, and consider ways you can deliver value to them in each phase.
2. Reach new members early. The Member Engagement Study found that the best time to attract new members is early in their career stage (as a student or between one and five years into their career). As you develop content for attracting prospective members – such as tip sheets, industry news, reports or information about legislative issues affecting the profession – consider weighing it more heavily toward the early career stage segment.
3. Consider your pricing model. Price can be a barrier to joining, especially for those early in their careers. Consider offering a budget-friendly monthly payment option.
4. Re-think your programs and services. Take a close look at your member offerings and programs to see how they map back to what your members want most in each stage of their careers. Ensure your offerings provide three key professional development benefits in some capacity: learning and continuing education, career growth, and networking. As you onboard new members, be sure to highlight networking opportunities, learning opportunities, career resources and key content that can help throughout their career journey.
5. Ask for feedback. Don’t wait until a member fails to renew to find out what went wrong. As you plan various member programs, make changes to your website or do anything that will directly impact your members, get your members involved. Select a few members that may be most interested in the project at hand, and ask them for feedback. Be sure to include members at various stages in their careers.
6. Remind your members how your organization has helped, can help, and will continue to support their careers. As you near renewal dates, remind your members of the benefits and value they receive from your organization. This is a great time to segment your list and send targeted messages that highlight specific benefits that help them advance their careers. For example:
- Reinforce the value of membership by reminding members of the benefits they have taken advantage of so far, such as event discounts and learning opportunities.
- Remind members of the benefits they have not yet taken advantage of, and that there’s still time to do so.
- Let members know about the upcoming events and opportunities they’ll miss out on if they do not renew.
7. Leverage association-specific technology. To support the member career journey, it’s critically important to have association-specific technology solutions in place. Make sure the technology you rely on for membership management, learning management, event management, and career center is purpose-built and works well together. This approach will help your team operate efficiently and effectively while providing the career support your members seek.
Delivering an exceptional member experience includes managing and supporting members through each stage of their careers. Be sure to have in place the right strategies and technology to support both.