Communication is the key to successfully running and growing your association. It's how you deliver more value to your members and keep them engaged. Furthermore, it helps you understand how and where to improve to serve your members well.
But, have you wondered how you can build effective member communication from the beginning of the membership process i.e.onboarding to the point they become your association advocates.
In this article, we will highlight some great tips you can implement to improve member communication and build a long-lasting relationship with them.
Let’s get started.
- Tips for Effective Member Communication
- How to Create Effective Communication Between Members?
- Executive Summary
Tips for Effective Member Communication
1. Create Consistent Messaging
According to Hubspot, your target customers are more interested in why you do something than what you do. Thus, communicating your association's unique value proposition to the members can help you build a positive relationship with them.
This way, they can relate with your association's value consistently and can make their contribution. In addition, having a clear expression of your brand value motivates members to want to know more about how to obtain that value to solve their pain points.
2. Track Member Engagement
To improve your member communication, you need to track how your customers (both potential and current members) engage with your association. For example, what kind of content do they like the most? What type of feedback do they usually leave for you?
According to a survey conducted by Hiver, 66% of customers say that providing the best experience leads to more communication from the members.
For example, if your target audience mostly attend events that are related to digital transformation and technologies, its better to produce more such events and content around it.
Similarly, you can use social media monitoring tools to see how your members are engaging with you on your social media posts.
To reach a larger audience base, focus on the keywords that your potential customers are searching for the most and create your content around them for search engines.
3. Avoid Overpromoting Yourself
It is not uncommon for businesses to overpromote themselves in their content. You may think it's a part of successful marketing, but it can damage your members’ trust, and negatively communicate your value proposition.
The following are some mistakes associations make when doing email marketing:
- Sending mass promotion campaigns, resulting in your emails landing in the spam folder.
- Using a more promotional tone instead of providing information to members.
- Not promoting enough member benefits.
- Delivering inconsistent branding across the newsletters.
These mistakes can decrease your online engagement rates drastically. Therefore, make sure that you implement a customer-first approach in your marketing strategies.
Additionally, you can use association management software to build successful campaigns for your members that deliver a consistent brand image across all your website pages and EDMs.
Read more: AMS vs CRM: What is The Best Fit for Your Association?
4. Use the Right Communication Tools
A number of associations offer job boards and LMS to members as a way of providing training and opportunities. This often requires the use of some virtual communication tools and systems.
Make sure that the tools and systems you are mandating are easy-to-use and popular among your members.
The best way to approach this is to conduct a survey and ask your members what tools they’d prefer to use. As a result, your members will be able to communicate more effectively using tools they understand better and that they love and are easy to use.
5. Right Person for The Right Campaign
A great brand message and great tools wouldn't do you any good if your members cannot resonate with your campaigns.
For example, if you are a multi-chapter organization operating in 3-4 countries, it is better to have a separate marketing and communication department for each country.
With this approach, your local team will have a better chance of engaging your local audience since they can target their pain points more directly.
6. Talk Face-To-Face When You Can
Organizing in-person meetings with your members can help build strength and improve their communication with your association.
They can see the people from the organization who help run and deliver solutions to their challenges. Research shows that 75% of customers prefer human interactions to automated communication.
In addition, they can have their questions and concerns answered one-on-one by experts from the industry. The meetings could also provide your members with an understanding of how your association works and how it can solve their problems.
Organize conferences periodically and invite members to attend. Share meeting details with them in advance so they can come up prepared with the burning issues they want to share with you.
Read more: 7 Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Conference to Your Association
7. Practice Active Listening
To drive better communication, ensure you listen to your members' challenges. Show them that you value their opinions and feedback by making consistent improvements to your programs and services.
A face-to-face meeting can also provide you with great opportunities to demonstrate empathy towards your members. For example:
- Nodding your head
- Maintaining direct eye contact
- Showing appreciation with words like thank you, I understand, etc.
Are some great cues that indicate your compassion towards them during in-person meetings. When members feel that you’re actively listening to them, they develop a deeper relationship with your association that’s nearly impossible to replace.
8. Be Open and Honest
In order for your members to become your advocates, you must be honest with them.
Keep them informed about your annual progress, where their membership fee is being spent, and what improvements your association is making to provide them with a better experience.
The more honest you are with your members, the more loyal they will be to your brand, and the more likely they are to recommend it to others (one of the membership drive strategies). The result will be a better retention rate and a greater sense of trust in your brand.
9. Introduce Feedback System
Feedback is an essential component of a successful communication process. To give members the best value, you need to know how they value your brand which can only be found through an effective feedback system.
Research shows that 86% of customers spend more for a better customer experience, which is improved by implementing customer feedback.
You can use different strategies to get honest feedback from your members, like:
- Sending them an email with a questionnaire to fill out or a link to a webpage where they can leave feedback.
- Creating a survey and share it with the members.
- Monitoring the feedback of your members on social media sites using social listening tools.
10. Show Appreciation Whenever Possible
As Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman mentions in his book, How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market, 95% of the purchasing decisions are emotional. Thus, showing appreciation to your members helps a great deal when trying to foster deeper connections with them.
You can show appreciation to your members in several ways, such as:
- Highlight their personal and professional achievements.
- Create recognition awards like Member of The Month.
- Give them a shoutout on your online community or social pages.
- Add their success stories to your website.
11. Create Consistent Graphics
Visual content tends to engage people more than text content. To ensure that your communications are effective, you can create consistent images and graphics that align with their interests.
As you create the visuals, ensure you use the best tools to create captivating and engaging visuals for your member communication. Also, hiring a professional graphic designer would go a long way in helping you achieve the desired visual quality in member communication.
How to Create Effective Communication Between Members
To create effective communication between your members, you need to have the right strategy and plan to engage and inspire them. Here are some ways you can do that:
Group Members Wisely
To boost communication between your members, segment them into different groups based on common interests and background.
Once you do that, offer activities to introduce them to each other. These can be both online and offline. Events and get-togethers work best for in-person activities. For online communication, you can use several options like:
- Speed networking events
- Online hangouts
- Webinars and webcasts
- Social media community and groups
There are several technologies like gamification that create fun and interaction interface for ice-breaking conversations.
Read more: 10 Virtual Networking Event Ideas for Your Organization
Choose The Right Type of Communication Platform
In the same way you choose the right platform for training your members, you must select the right communication tool for connecting them.
Due to varying preferences, members will not use the same mode of communication. So make sure you choose a platform most of your members know of and prefer. Since learning how to use a tool can be a hassle some people.
You can choose platforms like:
- Zoom for meetings
- Trello for project communication
- Social media groups and forums for discussions
Regardless of what you choose, make sure you provide a tutorial or walk-through so your members can fully utilize it.
Make Your Communities Private
As a professional association, your members would like their content to remain confidential. So, whatever platform you choose, make sure your member communities are private.
Your members will be able to stay connected and network easily without fear of information leaks or harassment.
Glue Up offers a community management module that acts as a private social media for your members. They can create posts, connect with each other on 1-on-1 chats and share their business cards. Moreover, people with member interests can create separate groups and events to boost engagements within the community.
Furthermore, it comes with an app for your members so they can stay informed and connected using their phones.
A better communication strategy can help reach more target customers, gain their trust and develop positive relationships with them.
Your members will need your support at every stage of their membership journey. And if they will feel that they are not being heard or appreciated, they will move on to your competitors.
But with an effective member communication strategy for your association, you will be able to win their hearts and turn them into brand ambassadors.
Looking forward to create effective strategies to increase your engagement and retention rates? Book a call with our team today and catch up on the latest digital solutions to keep yor members connected.
Author Bio: With 10+ years of eCommerce & marketing experience, Bhujal is passionate about helping businesses get more revenue and profit through customized strategies. Bhujal lives in Toronto, ON, and writes about affiliate marketing programs and scaling the eCom business at mydigitalkube.com