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Increasing Member Retention Using Integrated Automation

Written by Andy Steggles | on June 9, 2015 at 3:24 PM


Address your association’s common pain points using automated engagement tactics. If you’re like many associations, member retention can be a struggle. Start with identifying and measuring your member engagement tactics that surround key member benefits (e.g. Annual Conference, Mentoring Program, Advocacy Efforts, Chapter/Components) or processes (New Member Integration, Conference First Timer, Committee Volunteerism). We’ve outlined a few easy examples below using one of the most common pain points for association member management: First Year Member Retention.

3 Key Takeaways to Improve First Year Member Retention

1. Map Existing Processes

Identify every interaction between the member and the association during the first year of membership. Group activities into “campaigns,” and identify every element of that campaign. Measure both the importance of the campaign and each element within it against the perceived member value. By going through this process, you’ll have a quantifiable method for prioritizing the respective member experience.

2. Create Calls to Action (CTAs)

CTAs are measurable and a core opportunity to get your members engaged. For example, when focusing on the “Member Integration (Onboarding)” campaign, it may be appropriate to not just welcome the member but ask them to perform two or three simple CTAs such as:

  • Complete your member profile (with a link asking them to import their profile from LinkedIn or simply upload a bio and photo)
  • Introduce themselves to your online community by answering two simple questions, such as: How did you get into this industry? Can you provide one fun fact about yourself others may find interesting? (This will link to the “Introduce Yourself” thread.)

You can create an entire campaign based on the measurable results of the CTAs. For example, if someone did not update their profile within five days of sending them the welcome email, remind and ask them to do so, then a follow-up email would automatically be sent to them from the respective community/membership manager.

The same is true with a CTA asking them to introduce themselves. If they haven’t, a series of follow-up emails will be triggered based on the measurable data that indicates they have not performed this particular CTA. It’s important to note every message is personalized and would typically not look or feel like marketing email. The reply address would be that of the individual responsible for onboarding.

3. Use Engagement to Generate Engagement

One common, key objective for associations simply is to get members more engaged, because there is often a strong correlation among engagement, satisfaction and ultimately, retention. The measurable CTAs should be integrally woven into the first-year member experience by gradually nurturing them up the organization’s engagement ladder, resulting in higher engagement, more satisfied members and significantly improved first-year retention. 

Learn more about how to grow retention and engagement in our most recent Community Benchmarking Report.

One example for gradually nurturing your members up the engagement ladder is to leverage action-triggered automation, which is designed to leverage one piece of engagement to encourage another. If a member posts an industry question to their online forum and received four responses quickly, then you could automate a message congratulating them on the responses and inviting them to select one of the responses as the “Best Answer”. If/when they do finally select the best answer, another email is triggered to the author of that best answer congratulating them and thanking them for their contribution as well.

Community managers are simply membership managers who have learned to work smarter versus harder. Using automation technologies often found in both your community platform and your email or AMS provider, it’s possible to provide members with a deeper, more meaningful experience by focusing on specific campaigns and using appropriate KPIs to gauge success.

3 Key Questions to Ask Your Staff

When considering automation, personalized campaigns and measurable objectives, be sure to ask yourself these three questions:

  • What CTAs are currently tracked?
  • How are existing processes measured?
  • Which Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are you reporting on?

If you still have questions surrounding member journey mapping, nurturing engagement via automated processes, KPIs or CTAs, contact the vendor of your Member Engagement Platform to see which out-of-the-box processes can be easily configured to your needs.



Topics: Member Retention, Online Community Software, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

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