Six Ways to Make New-Member Digital Onboarding a Success

Wondering how to show new members the most value during digital onboarding sessions? Here are six tips to make them aware of all the benefits that can help them maximize their membership and—ultimately—prompt them to renew.

A thread in ASAE’s Collaborate community [member login required] asked for advice on conducting successful digital new-member onboarding sessions and how to facilitate the conversation to give members the most value. Lia Zegeye, senior director of membership at the American Bus Association, offered some excellent suggestions on what has worked well at ABA since the pandemic began. I followed up with her to learn more.

ABA is a trade association representing many parts of the travel industry—including bus operators, tour operators, lodging, attractions, and more—and its members have been hit hard by the pandemic. Like many other associations, ABA has been working tirelessly on the advocacy front to support the industry, and the membership team is leveraging that work to recruit new members. Once they are on board, Zegeye shows them all the benefits of membership they might not know about, customized by member segments.

Showing members value at the outset is paramount, Zegeye said. Her mantra: “Keep it clean, concise, and easy to digest.” Here’s how she and her team do it.

Make it personal. Zegeye conducts the onboarding webinars herself. “It’s a great way for me to connect with our members,” she said. The webinars immediately put a face with a name, and members are more likely to reach out to her directly with questions about the webinar. The digital onboarding has also been a good way to keep members updated on new programs in real time. Zegeye easily updates her PowerPoint slide deck and is good to go. “Mailing out packets has become a thing of the past,” she said.

Show, don’t tell. The onboarding session includes a short promotional video from ABA’s tradeshow, providing a personal testimonial about the value of the event from a member’s perspective. It shows why the member is there and how they benefited from attending. Zegeye said she often gets thank you notes from webinar attendees who say, “Wow, I had no idea you guys did all of these things!”

Guided website tour. During the webinars, Zegeye walks new members through key parts of ABA’s website, like where to access a government affairs report or how to edit their company’s description in the membership directory to market themselves more effectively. With the travel industry lagging, it’s a good time for members to update their information so they can hit the ground running when the industry kicks back into gear, she said.

Engage with social media. Zegeye shows new members all of ABA’s social media platforms during the webinar and asks them to follow ABA from the start. Members tend to gravitate toward Facebook to discuss their challenges, which gives the membership team a good way to tap into what members are experiencing and engage with them in a meaningful way, she said.

Share incentive programs. ABA has a member-get-a-member incentive program. Any member who brings in a new member gets a $50 gift card and is entered into a raffle with a chance to win $1,000 at the end of the year. Letting members know about incentives from the beginning means it’s on their radar from the start. “Your members are your best ambassadors” for recruiting new prospects, Zegeye said.

Highlight social responsibility. Remember to include information on social responsibility programs, such as local community service projects at events. Through its ABA Cares program, ABA conducts fundraising events for a selected charity in the city that hosts its annual tradeshow. Talking about these programs during an onboarding webinar shows new members “you are more than just an industry,” she said.

“We all have a wealth of information to share with new members at an early stage,” Zegeye said. “It’s all about how they can maximize their investment.”

(LeoWolfert/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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