Making onboarding all about the member is an excellent strategy for recruitment, retention, and engagement.
“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” is a saying that applies to membership, says John Lingerfelt, CAE, senior manager of member communities at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. After all, retention efforts begin as soon as you start the onboarding process for a new member.
How Does It Work?
It’s important to understand why a member has joined your organization. “You can’t put everyone in the same bucket and assume that they must all want the same benefit,” Lingerfelt says.
Using information from surveys, member applications, and onboarding webinars helps to personalize the member onboarding experience and shows that you are prioritizing their interests and being responsive to them from the get-go.
“You have to make sure the member feels like they’re not just a member of the organization, they are the member of the organization,” he says.
Why Is It Effective?
Personalization makes the new member feel like it’s their association and that the organization has a vested interest in what matters to them, he says. That builds a foundation of loyalty that extends the lifetime value for a member, and they also are more likely to remain a member.
It also increases recruitment efforts because a satisfied member is more inclined to tell their friends, colleagues, or businesses about the value they get from being a member, which can encourage others to join too.
“If you really want your retention efforts to be fruitful, you have to start with personalization in the onboarding process,” he says.
What’s The Benefit?
It goes back to: What’s in it for me? When a member joins an organization, they want to feel like they’re getting a benefit out of it—something that is important to them.
For associations, it can result in increased retention or more members. “Word-of-mouth advertising is some of the best recruitment any organization can ever have,” Lingerfelt says.
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