Membership Pro Tip: Two Questions to Ask New Members
It turns out there is an optimal email plan for successfully engaging new members at the outset. And two simple and specific questions in the emails help kickstart the relationship in several beneficial ways.
Want to get excellent renewal and retention rates with new member onboarding emails? According to the New Member Engagement Survey [PDF] by Kaiser Insights, LLC, and Dynamic Benchmarking, associations that include new member-specific emails in onboarding programs had higher retention rates.
And the associations that had the best renewal rates used an email plan that roughly follows this 3-3-6 schedule: three emails the first week, once weekly for the next three weeks, and then monthly for six more months.
“We finally have an evidence-based model for bringing people on board,” said Elizabeth Engel, CAE, chief strategist at Spark Consulting. She recommends asking two specific questions in the latter part of the schedule.
How Does It Work?
The initial messages in the first part of the 3-3-6 model tend to be very process oriented, such as getting members set up with website login information and so forth. Once you are in the monthly email phase, Engel suggests asking these two questions:
- How did you hear about us?
- What were you looking for when you joined?
Include a variety of radio buttons or a checkbox in the emails, depending on whether you want one response or multiple responses, but it’s a good idea to have some preset options members can choose from. And in both instances, be sure to include a comment box in case a member comes up with an option you haven’t thought about yet. If enough people come up with the same idea, then you can update the preset options.
Why Is It Effective?
Asking people how they heard about your association helps you understand the return on investment of your marketing efforts so you can allocate future dollars appropriately. It also reveals which marketing campaigns are successful—indicating you should do more of them—and it shows which campaigns are less successful and should have dollars redirected from them.
Asking members what they were looking for when they joined allows you to immediately connect them to what they are interested in to help build a relationship early on with the association’s programs, products, and services.
“It shows that you are paying attention to her as an individual, that you want to know what she needs, and that you’re there as a solution provider for her,” Engel said.
What’s the Benefit?
“The overall benefit for both the member and the association is that everyone is happier and able to get the relationship started more quickly,” Engel said. But once you have that information from the member, it is imperative to do something with it. “It creates a virtuous cycle for everyone,” she said.
Do you have a membership pro tip? Please share in the comments or send me an email.
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