Asking members surprisingly simple questions can help start conversations that build much more meaningful engagement, rather than bombarding them with an avalanche of information in the hopes of finding something that sticks.
Conversational engagement creates a two-way exchange that helps organizations get away from a broadcast-only mentality of jamming a lot of content in emails and talking at people. That kind of communication might lead to a few click-throughs, but that’s it, according to Dave Will, cofounder and CEO of software platform PropFuel.
A deeper, more focused conversation begins with easy questions that yield better and more personalized outcomes, he said during an express talk at ASAE’s Marketing, Membership, and Communications Conference last week.
How Does It Work?
Conversational engagement is a process that allows the membership team to listen and respond to members so they can better target individual member needs. “The process is: ask, capture, act,” Will said. “We ask a question and capture some input, which allows us to then take much more relevant action.” It not about talking to segments or personas: “We’re talking to a market of one,” he said.
Why Is It Effective?
One way it is effective is for reaching out to “never members” who have interacted with the association in the past but have never become members, said Diane Scheuring, CAE, co-presenter and vice president of membership and marketing at the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.
“This is our opportunity to really reach out to them to start that conversation,” she said. “It’s all about engagement and being present at the member’s point of need.”
Scheuring’s team uses this prompt: “HPNA members are part of a larger mission dedicated to advancing expert care in serious illness,” which draws prospective members into HPNA’s mission. Then they pose a question: “Would you like to join us as part of this mission?” That approach makes it less transactional and more centered on asking if they would like to be a part of something larger.
What’s the Benefit?
Starting a conversation by emphasizing the organization’s mission demonstrates that joining is about more than just benefits or discounts. It’s about who you are as a person and whether you are interested in getting “emotionally connected to your industry,” Scheuring said. By phrasing the conversational exchange that way, she said, “You’re planting the seed that by joining this association, you’re joining something bigger than a discount.”
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