Simple Strategies to Connect to Your Loyal Members

At a special "Ted Talk" like session, Scott Douglas, Director, Membership and Business Development, National Strength and Conditioning Association, talked about strategies to connect with your loyal members.

He started with a question.  How do you think of your members?  Are they a commodity or are you building a community?

I hope you’re in the building community at your chamber.  While your members are joining to get something specific (i.e., networking contacts, new business, etc.) it’s important that they feel part of a bigger thing, that thing being community and not just being a transactional member or as stated above, a commodity.

Another point he made was are you listening vs connecting with your members.  He went on to talk about how successful top companies have leadership touching their customers.  Is the CEO of your chamber reaching out and making contact with your members on a regular basis?

I think we all listen, in some form, with our members and most of us use the common ways we listen to gain feedback from our members – annual survey, membership growth/decline trends, informal feedback at meetings using focus groups.

A better question he posed was are you listening to the people who never call you?  In addition, anytime you do a survey, you should survey your members and non-members alike.

There was a brief discussion on the term net promoter score – and a lot has been written about that subject over the years.  I see this more in the association world with groups who have tens of thousands of members and not so much at the local chamber. If interested in more information on the net promoter score go HERE.

He ended the talk with a brief discussion on the normal ways we connect with our members - newsletter, social media, and meetings and the less common ways - schedule feedback calls, handwritten appreciation notes, onsite visits.

With social media as it is today, are you taking pictures of the volunteers working at your events and then posting on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, which ever platform your members are on with a note of appreciation? They may just repost on social media for you.

Just a thought!

Key Metrics to Identify Member Loyalty

I attended a recent seminar led by Pam Loeb with Edge Research and Peggy Smith with Community Brands focused on the title of this blog.

Value propositions are shifting from expectation driven to experience driven.  For a book on the experience economy by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore go HERE.

  • Expectations - outcome driven, logical, meets needs, everyone has it, tangible.
  • Experience - influences decisions, emotional, above and beyond, subjective, intangible.

Engagement comes from exceeding expectations, which means being relevant and providing value.

And remember, an engaged member is worth more than a new member.  So true!

Studies show that on average members of associations are 84% satisfied vs 55% feel connected - 20% extremely connected 80/20 rule (great opportunity to grow that connected percentage)

Extremely connected members - have the following characteristics:

  • They care about belonging;
  • Normally belong to more than just one organization;
  • Wants regular communication from you that is targeted and are most likely connected locally; and
  • They’re in their jobs a long period of time and in leadership roles.

Rank and file members - satisfied but less connected, want updates on a weekly or monthly basis.

Value seeking members - majority are critics, lapsed in the past year, little value for reason they dropped - they go by the WIFFM theme “What’s In It For Me.”  Definitely not altruistics – those that believe in your overall mission and that’s why they are members.

Lapsed Members - the following are the top reasons for non renewal.

  • ROI - cost too much or I didn't get anything out of it;
  • Changed industry/employment;
  • Forgot to renew;
  • Company would no longer pay; and
  • Decline in benefits or quality of benefits offered.

What drives retention - code of ethics, industry information, representing your interests, fueling growth of profession, advocacy and raising awareness, certifications, training, networking, fueling innovation, job opportunities, and online continuing education credits.

What’s interesting is that studies show little difference in the above observations no matter what generation your members are from.

A final thought that’s imperative, your website must be mobile friendly and you must be able to communicate differently using segmentation with your members, based on their individual needs and wants.