Achieving meaningful engagement with your members will look different from one organisation to another. The fundamentals of understanding how it can be achieved and the theories and processes behind building a practical engagement strategy however, are the same. Asking yourself these essential questions will help to build a robust and successful member engagement strategy and plan.
1. Is your Member Value Proposition (MVP) actually valuable and do your members know about it?
A key assumption is that if there is Perceived Member Value there will be a strong likelihood of engagement/participation and increased chance of acquiring new members. If Actual Member Value can be demonstrated you will likely see strong engagement/participation and an increase in existing member renewal and potentially transitioning those members to advocate status.
Is your MVP strong? How do you communicate it?
You might know and understand how good the benefits are of being a member, but if your members don’t know, don’t understand, or are not reminded regularly, they won’t know how good they’ve got it! For it to drive success for the organisation by increasing actual and perceived value for members, your MVP needs clear messaging through every communication channel. That starts with communication to staff, who you will need to understand, own and deliver the MVP for it to have real impact.
Have you considered an MBS – Member Benefit Statement. To remind your members what they received as part of their membership. A simple sentence that says ‘you attended these events, obtained this many CPD points and saved this much money?’ is a really succinct way of articulating what the benefits they receive actually mean to them.
2. Do you know your members?
Do you know how well you know your members? How do you gauge that?
Do you know the challenges they’re facing?
Are you giving them what they need? Do you understand what the next generation of members want, what their perspective is? Millennials for example will make up 75% of work population by 2025 and they have a very different attitude to membership. Millennials are very much about wanting to understand what’s in it for them, what value they get, and if they don’t understand it – they will go elsewhere. A culture based on ‘consumerism’ whereby to them membership is a transactional relationship – work needs to be done to take them beyond this and realising that they are the membership, they are the gold standard and they have to own it! They are not simply purchasing a service and if their perception is the service falls short, there will be other services they can switch to.
So, how do you engage them? If it’s possible ‘type’ your members. If you can segment into categories such as area of interest, specialism, point in their developmental journey etc then your engagement strategy can be bolstered to use this information to help you to communicate in a more relevant way with them. If you can segment your data, working your engagement and content strategies in line with this is going to yield greater success.