Associations struggle to communicate their value to members. However, when used correctly, content can play a key role in reinforcing the value of an organization to its members. In the Community Brands Member Loyalty Study, we wanted to better understand how members like to consume content and the part it plays in member retention.
Instead of spewing out a drumbeat of dues reminders and event save-the-dates, associations should look to what their members value, and take into consideration that different segments of members value different things. Your organization should develop a strategy around improving the member experience and moving your member base up the loyalty spectrum.
Here’s some points to consider when you’re ready to take the PLUNGE and build out a member-focused content strategy:
Forty-seven percent of surveyed members say the typical content they receive from their professional membership organization is not personalized. Members expect the same level of personalization they’re used to receiving from other organizations such as Amazon and Netflix. While your organization may not be ready for this level of personalization, incorporating some level of segmentation, based on at least one or two characteristics or preferences, is a good first step.
Limit your length
Shorter really is better when it comes to content. You start to lose the attention of most member’s after about four paragraphs of written content, however, your more loyal members are likely to read on for longer. Try keeping video content between two and four minutes, this will help retain the majority of members’ attention. Look for opportunities to break up content into a series If you have a longer message you are trying to communication.
Use your super members
Leverage your more committed members to help evaluate and create compelling content that members care about. Your most engaged members – whom we like to call Super Members – are your biggest assets. They can be great sources for feedback on topics and frequency, and give insight into what the member community needs to hear from you.
Narrow your frequency sweet spot
The majority of members want regular updates, at least monthly or even more frequently. More loyal/committed members want a more high-touch communication cadence. Survey your members, and try A/B testing within different member segments to find your organization’s sweet spot.
Earlier we referenced the importance of personalization, and that all starts with gathering and using preferences for segmentation. It’s not enough to just have the data, you need to use it. A good place to start is with channel, frequency, and topic preferences. Once you have effectively aligned your content to preferences with each group, you can start to look for opportunities to optimize your content to increase engagement and move members up the loyalty spectrum.
Email. Email. Email.
Email is the top-ranked channel among all segments of members. Surveyed members cite email content as the easiest to consume, most likely to keep them engaged, and most powerful for telling the organization’s story. Segmenting your email sends, based on preferences, is key to providing that level of expected personalization.
Implementing a new member-focused content strategy doesn’t happen overnight, but there are small steps your organization can begin to take to move in that direction. Here’s a handy infographic summarizing some recommendations for creating a member-focused content strategy