February 11, 2019

Increasing Engagement with a Member Portal

Increasing Engagement with a Member Portal

Members expect a return on their membership dues—an aspirational investment for them. They join your association with hopes of developing new skills and knowledge, advancing in their career, developing new relationships, and increasing their company’s bottom line. But this transformation won’t happen unless they take action—attend events or programs, read, learn, connect, volunteer, contribute, or lead. They seek engagement that serves their needs and interests—and their schedule and budget. A member portal makes it easy for members to find opportunities for engagement and make your association a habit.

The Member Engagement Launch Pad

As the public face of your association, your website serves many purposes for many audiences, but a member portal is a member’s home base. In the portal, they find everything they need in one place.

When members enter the portal, they’re greeted by name and reminded about events they’re scheduled to attend. You can configure different parts of the portal home page to promote opportunities for deeper engagement, for example:

  • Put out a call for conference volunteers or suggest other micro-volunteering opportunities
  • Announce a new online learning program
  • Promote an upcoming event

Each of these calls-to-action should link to a splash (landing) page in the member portal or on your website. You could also integrate Google Maps into your event splash pages so members can see where the venue’s located and how to get there.

Members, especially new members, don’t always know how to take full advantage of their membership. They forget what you told them during orientation and don’t always open your newsletters. Pique their interest and keep them in the loop by periodically refreshing the list of engagement opportunities on the portal home page.

Different Pathways for Member Engagement

To develop any good habit, you have to remove barriers that stand in the way of regular practice. Members are more likely to develop the association habit if all it takes is one click on a URL to find everything they need in one place. You want the member portal to become a favorite on their phone, tablet, or desktop browser’s bookmark. Just one click and they can visit the member portal at breakfast or lunch, while commuting on the train or bus, on the treadmill, or relaxing on the couch.

Once in the member portal, they should be able to easily navigate to everything they want or need to do with your association:

  • Participate in an online community discussion
  • Check out upcoming events—and register for one of them
  • Search the member directory for a new acquaintance’s contact info
  • Read a magazine article
  • Purchase the latest benchmarking report
  • Apply for certification

In the portal’s headers and footers, you can include links to your association’s social media profiles or other external links of interest to members.

The portal is a member-centric experience. It’s not diluted by information typically found on association websites, for example, information for consumers, media, policy-makers, and prospects. A member can see at a glance all the different pathways to engagement, and investigate any opportunities that capture their attention.

A Place to Update and Correct Member Data

“Hey guys, all our member records are complete and up-to-date,” said no association professional ever. Change is a constant. Names change, jobs change, addresses change, and interests change. Data entry is a never-ending chore. Wouldn’t it be nice to get help from your members?

You can empower members to correct and update their data in the member portal. Use one (or all) of these methods to encourage them to review and edit their profiles:

  • Rotating banner announcement on the portal home page
  • Link in a newsletter
  • Reminder during membership renewal

For company memberships, consider giving data management rights to the primary contact so they can update employee records. Encourage them to help their company take full advantage of their membership by using the portal to add new employee profiles.

It’s amazing how often members don’t renew their membership because they didn’t see the renewal emails or invoices you sent. Keep them in the membership fold by setting up automated notifications in the member portal for membership renewal.

When a member thinks about their membership and your association, they should only have to go to one place. In the member portal, they are one click away from all kinds of member engagement opportunities, and one step closer to achieving their professional goals and aspirations.

Find out how MemberSuite’s member portal can help you increase member engagement and improve the membership experience in our Mobile Responsive Portal eBook.