As an association, active members are your livelihood. Without them, you wouldn’t exist. This goes beyond simply being aware of roster numbers – although that shouldn’t be disregarded. You need to ensure that your members don’t just exist, but that they’re engaged. What does that mean? I like David Gammel’s definition of engagement, which is the “result of a member investing time or money with the association in exchange for value.”
Why does it matter? In his article featured by The Center for Association Leadership, Gammel says that engagement “is evidence of success and provides fuel for your mission and future growth.” The degree to which your members actively participate in association events or take advantage of offerings is the truest testament to your achievements – and it can drive your future success.
Here are a few reminders about how you can keep tabs on your members, depending on your activities and communication tactics:
- Social media: Do you maintain an online presence to keep in touch with your members? Measures such as retweets and @replies on Twitter can give you a good indication of how well your message and offerings are resonating. Likes and shares on Facebook – and metrics from Facebook Insights – are also worth paying attention to if you use these platforms.
- Email marketing: Do you send emails to your association members? Make sure you’re measuring their effectiveness by looking at figures like open rates, click-through rates, which links received clicks, etc.
- Website activity: How well is your website performing with visitors? What pages are people visiting the most? That content is likely very popular and can tell you a lot about your visitor or member base. Evaluating your web metrics offers great insight about your audience.
- Events: Attendance is the key measurement here, of course – but so are outcomes. How many people are signing up to attend? How many people are actually attending? What kinds of conversations or leads resulted from people showing up and talking to you?
These numbers can provide good insight about how your members feel about your association. Want to improve these figures? Make sure you’re effectively conveying your value – do folks understand the benefits of being a member? As Sarah Sladek explains, “Members are looking for benefits that add value to their businesses and lives, not merely a basket of products and services. They also want experiences that give them a sense of belonging without leaving them feeling like they’ve had to earn the privilege.”
You should also be sure you’re open to feedback and listening to what members are – or aren’t – saying. Allowing opportunities for your members to share their concerns, suggestions and commentary is an important element for success. Encouraging feedback conveys your commitment to meeting your members’ needs. And meeting those needs will keep your current members around – and engaged.