Your success depends on member retention. The truth is, the cost of onboarding a new association member can be up to ten times more than it is to keep your existing members. If you are losing more members than you bring in, your organization will not survive.
A recent study found that only 65 percent of associations reported a membership retention rate of 75 percent or higher.
The associations that report greater success cite member engagement as their strategy. The more engaged members are, the more satisfied they are with the time and money they invest in the association. The happier they are, the less likely they are to disengage – and that is the ultimate goal.
There are many highly effective ways to improve member retention, but at the root of just about every approach is one, simple concept: engage them. Then, once you have their attention, don’t let it go. Continue to offer reasons for them to keep coming back, and you will always have an eager audience.
Keeping it simple is the key principle. These days, people have little time to spare for anything that doesn’t immediately offer some value.
Here are some tried-and-true best practices for member retention:
If your website is easy to navigate, if it is member-centric, and gives the user a reason to come back, you’re winning the game. This advice may seem pretty basic, but it bears stating, as it is often overlooked.
Your website should be the jumping-off point for everything about your association. Creating a sense of community will flesh out the bigger picture. Show how active and engaged your members are through testimonials and member-generated content.
When members see people just like them who are succeeding with the help of their association, they are compelled to participate, attend conferences, get involved, and continue to pay their dues.
Member engagement is a critical factor in driving member retention. Engaged members participate in events, volunteer, interact with social posts, website posts, and download content. Tracking these events are all reliable methods of scoring member engagement and will show you how well you are connecting with your audience.
Your analytics will tell you what content is performing well and what might need some help. For the vast majority of associations, when it comes to online and digital engagement, video is king.
One of the most reliable ways to engage an audience is through content marketing. Give your members messages and stories that they can relate to. Make it easy for them to engage and share, and you have won half the battle.
So, if we can agree that engagement is the most critical aspect of member retention, ask yourself: is the content you produce and distribute meeting your member’s needs?
Approached strategically, content marketing can be a powerful tool. The content you share must be relevant to your membership, but even the most well-written blog posts sometimes don’t bring the desired result. Of all the different types of digital content, video is, hands-down, the single most effective method of delivering your message.
Today, video content dominates the internet.
YouTube alone boasts more than five billion views every single day – and it’s not just about clickbait or funny animal videos. People go to YouTube to learn about things, to find out more about brands, products, people, and their stories. This proves what the marketing stats support: no matter the reason we seek it out, video is a preferred method of accessing information.
Consider these statistics:
Aside from being more visually exciting than your average blog post, there is a physiological reason that video is more effective.
A full 90 percent of what our brain processes is visual. It takes far less time for us to process an image than it does text. We tend to remember about 80 percent of what we see, compared to 10 percent of what we hear and 20 percent of what we read.
Smart associations will build video into their member engagement and member retention plan, but for the best possible results, you should:
One of the most significant barriers to establishing a video content strategy is finding the time and resources to maintain some consistency. User-generated content is a highly effective way to accomplish this, as it removes budgetary constraints and reduces the time spent on creating the content itself. Members create videos on their smartphones at their convenience. All your team has to do is choose the most appropriate videos, edit, and publish.
Gather Voices is a platform that helps you collect UGC videos, which can then be posted on your website on their own merit. Or, you can use your UGC clips to create longer-form videos to use in your content marketing strategy.
Viewing members’ stories and learning how your association has helped make their lives better lends authenticity – much more so than a polished, scripted narrative could do.
Incorporating UGC into your annual conference is a great place to start. Invite your attendees to talk about their experiences and challenges. Ask them what they think, what inspires them, and what problems your association solves for them. These testimonials can then be leveraged to create content that will serve you well throughout the year.
To discover what UGC and Gather Voices can do for your association, request a demo today.
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