October 29, 2018
Membership is changing. Members expect their association to understand their professional lives—their frustrations, worries, interests, and aspirations. They expect you to deliver information and education that helps them do their job, advance in their career, run a better business, make more money, and achieve their goals.
Collecting and updating member data can help you deliver the membership value they expect, so why not do so throughout the member journey? Think differently about data collection. It’s not a nagging task; it’s an opportunity for a conversation or a touch point with a member.
Sometimes a membership application is like the website home page. Every department wants something. Forms “by committee” end up being long and overwhelming—and a psychological barrier to joining. Don’t make it so hard.
Keep the application short. Only ask for what you absolutely need to get them started. You’ll have the opportunity to collect more information during new member onboarding.
We see more associations using new member onboarding campaigns with intermittent touches over several months. Onboarding is your chance to learn about your new member. But, unfortunately, many associations make onboarding all about themselves. The sweet spot is somewhere in between.
Learn what you need to know about the member to develop and deliver the best content, programs, and services for them and members like them. Guide them to the resources they need and the people they want to meet.
Now, about that data. During the first few months of membership, ask the new member to complete different parts of their profile. If your AMS has a self-serve member portal like MemberSuite’s, the member has the ability to update their profile whenever they need to.
In your on-boarding emails, ask questions that will provide the data you need for targeted marketing and content delivery, for example, their top three professional interest areas or legislative/regulatory concerns.
If you need to kick up your data collection efforts, we’ve seen associations have success with these tactics. Remember to explain how their data will improve their membership experience—and make good on that promise.
Newsletters. Insert pieces of data into email newsletters. For example, add a box saying, “Is it still true your company has [X] employees? If not, click here to correct your profile.” Select different fields each time you use this method. Once the member is in their profile, they’ll usually correct incorrect or missing information.
Events. Offer free headshots with the caveat that they have to update their profile first. Have staff on hand to guide them to the different fields you need.
Directories. If you print a member directory, send out a campaign encouraging profile updates. You can even have an annual profile campaign for online directories, perhaps before a big event.
Online community. Matchmaking (peer-to-peer connections) and mentoring functions rely on accurate member profiles. Every six months, prompt members to update their profile before entering the community.
Website. Use pop up boxes to prompt members visiting your website to update their profile.
Profile question of the month. Get help from colleagues who use the AMS. Every month, decide what data you want to capture from members who call the office. Ask staff to request that information at the end of the call. Get staff (and member) buy-in by explaining how this data is used.
After a member renews, make a call or send an email asking them to check, correct, and complete their profile information. Make this as personal as your staff time allows.
To learn how to leverage the data you collect to shape the member journey and enhance every interaction with your members, register for our November 14th webinar.