Member Engagement to Drive a Better Trade Show

member engagement to drive a better trade show

6 Trade Show Benefits to Retain Members and Keep them Engaged

Most of the time, associations see trade shows as an opportunity to recruit new members. These events are, by nature, an excellent networking opportunity to meet new prospects and build on member engagement strategies. Association executives take part in these events to inform people, socialize with industry professionals, and eventually to recruit members.

But what if associations saw trade shows as a part of a member engagement strategy and a retention strategy?

Associations tend to focus more on recruitment than engagement or retention. “McGovern, senior director, marketing and member services at ACA, says she knows why this happens: ‘Well, recruitment is sexy. Retention is hard work,” (Associations Now).

The truth is, it costs a lot more for associations to recruit a new member than it does to retain one. For every action taken by associations to bring in new members, there should be a secondary engagement strategy.

make members association evangelists

Benefit #1 – Members as Association Evangelists

For example, trade shows are also an effective way to retain members through event engagement. Invite current members to take part in association trade shows as an evangelist for the association.

Hearing the benefits straight from a member’s mouth appears more genuine to prospective members. Of course, the association executive thinks their association is the best of the best. But a prospect hearing a member making this statement? That’s priceless.

proving members with branded merchandise will help spread awareness

Benefit #2 – Tradeshows as Networking Events for Members

The reason why most people choose not to renew their membership is usually that they feel the value isn’t worth the cost. A lot of the time this isn’t because the association isn’t offering enough benefits to members. Associations struggle more often to find ways to show members all of the benefits available to them. In other words, by inviting members to participate in trade shows, associations provide additional value.

Trade shows are a great opportunity for members to network, learn more about the industry, and explore what their association does behind the scenes. Trade shows are like a backstage pass; showcasing the exclusivity and education that their membership offers them within their association. Bring branded swag to trade shows for members to keep and/or to give to prospective members. Encourage members to explore opportunities within their industry.

transform membership into an industry community

Benefit #3 – Transform Membership into an Industry Community

This is what it’s all about, right? The best retention strategy for an association is all about focusing on building a strong, engaged community for its members. Invite members to participate in trade shows so they can connect with one another and see the big picture of their membership. Create spaces for members to collaborate and network within the association. As an association, it’s important to learn from this community to see how the association can evolve and meet the needs of members.

use trade shows as a resume builder for younger members

Benefit #4 – Trade Shows as a Resume Builder for Younger Members

Most associations will say they don’t want one year members, they want 20-year members. The best way to do this is by putting a lot of focus into learning all you can about your members and compare it to your strategies for member engagement. Arguably, younger members have the most to gain from association membership. They are looking for opportunities to meet young professionals and industry leaders.

Young members join an association to build experience, gain knowledge, and receive opportunities to participate in their industry in a meaningful way. These members are enthusiastic and community focused, which makes them the perfect member to invite to trade shows. By seeing a fresh face at trade shows, young prospective members may be more compelled to explore association membership.

give members a face to a name

Benefit #5 – Give Members a Face to a Name

Lastly, inviting members to participate in trade shows gives associations the opportunity to meet their members face to face. Members will appreciate the personal touch and enjoy meeting the people behind the shared value of their membership.

Of course, many members get to know their association executives through the process of elections. Undoubtedly, meeting members face to face will give association executives the chance to show who they are as a person and as a professional within their industry.

get insight about member needs and wants

Benefit #6 – Get Insight About Member Needs and Wants

Another great benefit to bringing members to trade shows has to do with the information they get from the attending members. From this exchange, you can learn about your members’ habits, what services they want going forward, and how you can improve your member engagement strategies. Find insight on what you’re doing well… or, what you’re not doing well. The people willing to attend a trade show are some of your most engaged members. These are the “20-year members.”

Reward participating members by giving them what they ask for. Do they want a new resource on a specific industry related topic? Are they asking for more networking opportunities? Do they bring up a desire to learn more or get involved further? Document these interactions and do your best to make the necessary updates to delight engaged members.

traveling from trade show to trade show and discover the rewards of membership engagement

The Rewards of Membership Engagement at Association Trade Shows

Overall, trade shows provide over a dozen benefits to both association executives and association members. It’s a win-win situation. Make the most of association efforts by finding more ways to blend trade show attendance with your member engagement and retention strategies.

Optimize all of the work your association puts into attending and hosting events by reaching new members and retaining and engaging the current ones. If you do this, your association will have all the information and connections needed to build, engage, and retain its membership base.

Build Your Association’s Retention Strategies Using Predictive Analytics

use predictive analytics to build on retention strategies

Understanding Data Trends Keep Member Retention Rates on the Rise

Every year, association members choose whether to continue their annual membership or cancel. During this time, associations are revising their retention strategies to encourage more renewals.

There are a few member factors that go into the renewal decision-making process. First and foremost, are they happy to be a member?

Aside from having a generally positive experience with the association, members may also consider:

  • How often they engage with the association
  • How often they use association resources
  • How many association events they were able to make
  • How many new contacts they’ve made through networking events
  • How often they felt a part of an association community

These factors are also a great way to anticipate who will renew and who may be at risk. A lot of associations struggle to categorize members by risk to see who needs a little extra attention.

a good retention strategy involves collecting data on current and past association member data

Understanding these trends is an essential part of strong retention strategies! Introduce predictive analytics into your current retention strategies and see how data can help you retain membership.

What is “Predictive Analytics”?

It’s clear how predictive analytics can help associations develop retention strategies. However, defining predictive analytics may not be as clear. Essentially, it is the process of using and combining historical data and statistical algorithms to give you an accurate depiction of the future. The idea of predictive analytics has been around for quite some time but has only recently started to grow more rapidly.

The reason why it’s become a popular strategy for businesses is that it’s more accessible now than ever before. In the past, this type of data analysis was used mostly by mathematicians and statisticians. Now, anyone can collect this data and interpret it. As data continues to grow over generations and provide more insightful information, it will become more and more valuable to associations.

Predictive Analytics for Association Retention Strategies

businesses and associations use predictive analytics to retain memberships

There are many reasons why businesses and organizations use predictive analytics. For the most part, it’s used to avoid company fraud, increase high-value leads, optimize marketing efforts, reduce overall risk, and retain current client bases.

For example, everyday use of predictive data that you may be familiar with is your credit score. Credit scores are calculated using this same data interpretation! For associations, predictive analytics can collect data regarding member interactions to help associations target members who are at risk.

A few variables that can be calculated include:

  • Email Opens and Activity (do they scan it or actually read emails?)
  • Social Media Engagement (how often do they comment or like posts?)
  • Content Reads (do they read blog content or online resources?)
  • Attendance at Tradeshows and Networking Events
  • Web Footprint (how often do they visit and search through the association website?)
  • Event Participation (do they often RSVP for association related events?)
identify member engagement strategies that work for your association

Anything else that can identify member engagement can be used as a variable. Collect this data on past and current members and create a data file that links to these variables.

The general process for predictive analytics is this:

  1. Add a statistical modeling technique that provides an equation related to the variables
  2. Grade members based on the equation and rank by grade
  3. Segment members into 10 groups from least to most at risk
  4. Create a profile for each group explaining their rank
  5. Form a personalized retention strategy for each group

How to Start Predictive Analytics-Based Retention Strategies

In a perfect world, you could read this blog post and say, “oh, perfect! I’ll get right on that!” and have all this data collected in minutes. Unfortunately, this is not the way of the world. If the idea of spending months collecting data and adding it to a spreadsheet, followed by consistent hours used on maintenance doesn’t appeal to you, well, don’t worry… there are other options.

Using proprietary machine learning algorithms, you can interpret this data in no time. 24/7 data analysis collects all of the variables mentioned above automatically. It analyzes and delivers predictions for what members want to see and be a part of. Using a resource like predictive analytics can help associations truly understand their members in a way that they may not articulate themselves.

get the most from predictive analytics to raise retention rates

Get the Most from Predictive Analytics

Overall, using predictive analytics is a great way to understand your members and segment them to provide personalized services.

In this way, predictive analytics can be used for more than retention strategies. It can also be used to connect with strong leads, delight current members, and give valuable association insights. Through this data, associations can get to know thousands of its members in a matter of minutes.

Four Steps to Increase Member Retention at Your Association

InLoop has 4 steps to increase member retention at your association

Recognizing the Past, Current, and Prospective Barriers of Retaining Association Memberships

Retaining membership is often the highest priority for an association because it is the core of a successful association. In the past few decades, associations have witnessed an unfortunate trend of decreased membership; a decline in prospect members translates to a decline in member retention. This means that is more important than ever to maintain those long term association members and build a strong membership network.

On average, most flourishing associations will see a member retention rate of 75%. Does this sound like your association? If not, some changes need to be made to focus on member retention.

Members need to see the tangible value from an association in order to justify paying for a membership. Associations can provide members opportunities to build genuine connections through networking events both in person and online.

Simply put, the best way to improve member retention is by keeping members happy! Here are some strategies to help your association improve member retention.

1. Association Surveys

asking members to fill out association surveys is a great way to improve member retention

Sending association surveys to members shows them you care about their specific role in the association. It also provides you with specific ways to improve retention straight from the source! Send quarterly surveys via email to members (or even monthly) with every e-newsletter.

Read and respond to each survey, address their concerns, and share how, if possible, you will make the necessary changes.

You can also send an association survey to past members. Ask them why they left so you can improve for the next generation of members. Find out what they felt was missing as a member of your association. Addressing the specific reasons why members have left will help associations avoid making the same mistakes with current members.

2. Member Engagement Reports

collect data that measures member engagement and use that data to aid your efforts to increase member retention

You can consider this as the association’s version of a “survey response”. So, by collecting data that measures the member’s engagement, you can then provide your members with personalized opportunities for increasing their engagement habits.

In the report, present your members with data about how often they respond to other members; engage with emails and social media; how often they read association articles; participate in events, etc. Demonstrate the missed opportunities your members had to connect and take advantage of their membership.

By providing these reports, members see where they can improve as a valued member. Therefore, it puts the pressure on the member to become more engaged within their association. It allows for all of the opportunities that their membership grants them to really resonate.

3. A User-Friendly Experience for Members

Most members today will be using the internet to some degree. As a result, user members look up resources on your website, receive emails, and are following you on social media. Be sure that your association is providing member resources on a user-friendly platform. Consequently, it doesn’t matter if you have a ton of valuable content if your members have a hard time accessing it. Use your website, emails, and social media pages to engage members and ask for help from experts if that’s what you need.

user-friendly software will help your association with member retention

A few things that will make your associations’ software more user-friendly include:

Having an organized website homepage with information such as:
  • Member testimonials and survey responses
  • Upcoming networking opportunities
  • Article previews and resources for members
  • Quick links to all social media platforms
  • A newsfeed of any industry related news
Sending an e-newsletter that provides:
  • Industry and association updates
  • Ways to get involved and engage with members
  • A link to any live surveys
  • Details for any upcoming opportunities
Engaging with members through social media by:
  • Responding to comments and messages quickly
  • Prompting members to share ideas on social
  • Sharing events and news on social regularly

Most importantly, be organized and clear with members. Make sure all online resources are easy to read and have ample visuals. Members need clear and concise information that shares all the benefits of membership. Make it easy for members to contact the association with any questions or concerns and respond as quickly as possible.

4. Find the Right Members

find members with the same values and interests that your association offers them and you will increase member retention rates

In other words, to improve member retention, associations must reflect and focus on the beginning of membership. Find members that fit, not just ones who can pay for membership.

Meanwhile, the ideal member believes in your cause, cares about the industry, and wants to be as involved as possible. The perfect member has a genuine interest in connecting with other professionals in their field. They are knowledge seekers and are always looking for the next opportunity to learn and gain new experiences.

Utilizing AI technology and automated technology like customer relationship management (CRM) software is one of the ways that associations can track down the right members. In the same vein, by embracing the use of technology, associations can use member data to find out who the “right” members are. Greatest of all, you learn the most about who the ideal member is by listening to the ones you currently have.

Raise Member Retention for Your Association

To sum it up, be sure to keep this in mind: if member engagement is on the rise, member retention will follow. Find new ways to connect to your member base, aspire to growth, and meet your members where they are. If you do these things, worrying about member retention will be a thing of the past!

raise member retention for your association

Finding New Millennial Members Through Community Involvement

Every day, millions of young professionals take part in philanthropic efforts like donating and volunteering. Millennials are often referred to as being service oriented and giving. They also use volunteering and fundraiser events for professional networking. In general, millennials donate their time and money to help a good cause, meet other professionals, and add the experience to their resume. For this reason, community involvement is an excellent way for associations to connect with these young, prospective members.

By creating crowdfunding campaigns, hosting fundraiser events, building association volunteer teams, and being involved with the community, associations can recruit more young members.

Join Local Community Efforts

community involvement

According to an article written by Forbes, about 23.5% of adults volunteer with a nonprofit. These volunteers give 8.7 billion hours of their time annually. As an association, a great place to start getting involved is local. This way, associations can find more of the local professionals in their industry that may have an interest in membership. By showing potential members that your association cares about the community, you show that you care about members as well.

Local fundraising events tend to involve local business owners and figureheads of the community. These events are the perfect place to set up a booth and get to know everyone. Build awareness for your association and give yourself a chance to share the benefits of association membership.

Associations can involve themselves in the community by:

  • Creating an association team for charity walks/marathons
  • Signing up for a booth at career fairs, community development workshops
  • Volunteering time for community action projects
  • Donating to a nonprofit auction event
donating to nonprofits

Find opportunities in community involvement to meet potential local members. These members are often more engaged than the average member because they are close enough to participate in events in person.

As Millennials are towards the beginning of their career, they are preoccupied with two goals:
  1. To do good in the world
  2. To grow professionally

Give them the opportunity to meet these goals, and your association provides immediate value to prospective members. By understanding the mindset and goals of millennials, you can share the benefits of membership that meet these goals and gain new membership. Where else can associations meet millennial where they are?

Volunteer Association Time to Colleges

volunteering members

Another way to get involved in philanthropy is by donating time and resources to higher education. The majority of college students are typically in their early 20s and looking for opportunities to meet professionals in the field they are interested in. This is where associations can inspire students to become a member and open the door to countless professional opportunities.

Associations can volunteer time to colleges through workshops, guest speaking, and career fairs. This shows potential millennial members that your association cares about helping people, namely them. Your association can provide countless opportunities for a generation that is struggling to make the most of their degree. By becoming a member, they guarantee themselves valuable resources and networking opportunities. These benefits increase the chances of finding a great job in their field following graduation.

Association Membership and E-Philanthropy

association giving

Associations are not just locals. They involve membership from industry professionals living all over the country. It has never been easier for associations to reach prospective members through the power of the internet. New, prospective members communicate through emails, social media, website chats, online forms, and more. It really is impressive the number of ways that associations can use the internet to increase membership. One of the ways is through e-philanthropy!

By using all of the tools available to you, your association can make it easier for new members to find you. Share photos and videos from current volunteer projects, run crowdfunding campaigns on your website and send emails to subscribers that include information about upcoming fundraiser events. There are a ton of ways that you can share your history of philanthropy, raise money for nonprofit organizations, and connect with young prospective members who may have an interest in volunteering or donating.

Email Campaigns

email campaigns

This is more applicable once a person is aware of an association and has subscribed to the email list. Email is further down the funnel between awareness and membership than social media or a blog. This is where you can highlight professional connections, resources, and events only available to members.

Share past community involvement and what members only volunteer opportunities are available to them if they join now. Leave a sense of urgency and a reason to become a member this week, instead of months from now. Use AI technology to streamline this process and craft personalized emails in less time.

Blog Posts

association blog

Part of the value of membership is exclusive content. That being said, you can still create a public blog with examples of past efforts, fundraisers, and networking events! This shows enough that it doesn’t take away from exclusive content and gives the prospective member an idea of membership.

Add a call to action at the bottom of each blog post to join your association! Allow prospective members to join an e-newsletter or follow on social media. Create content that shares the benefits of volunteering or donating as a member of an association.

Social Media

social media fundraising

For e-philanthropy, an association can do a lot through social media. For example, associations can create private events for members to fundraisers and community involvement. They can share blog content that highlights the association’s giving efforts. Associations can also create private volunteer groups for members. Crowdfunding efforts can also be shared on social media or even run through Facebook!

There are plenty of ways to use social media to build awareness and increase membership through nonprofit work. Using streamlining technology, your association can automatically schedule posts for social media so you can focus on creating groups, events, and being responsive to followers.

Community Involvement for The Greater Good

community involvement

In short, it feels great to give. It is gratifying to spend time and money on a cause that helps others. Giving and volunteering is a fantastic way for an association to bring its members together for the greater good. At the end of the day, you may attract more “do-gooders” to become a member of your association. Associations and community involvement go together like peanut butter and jelly.

So, what will your association do to give back this year?

How to Share the Benefits of Association Membership with Millennials

share the benefits of association membership with millennials

Adapting to the Generational Shift

Associations have existed in one form or another for hundreds of years. Generation after generation, associations have enjoyed a steady flow of memberships. In the past, there was no internet resource for professional development. At the time, associations were the main source for industry insights. Today’s generation has an unlimited source of information at their fingertips with access to industry articles, events, and networking opportunities. As a result, association membership has decreased over the years.

The key to increasing Millennial memberships is to find out what associations can provide them that they can’t do themselves. Previously, we’ve discussed who Millennials are, how to reach them, and how to build a community for young professionals. As a result, here are our six hacks to engage Millennials and increase association membership.

Build a Strong Social Media Presence

associations social media

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Most young professionals communicate via social media. A few of the ways Millennials use social media to create a professional community include:

  • Following industry-specific twitter accounts
  • Joining Facebook groups of young professionals in the area
  • Following Instagram accounts of other inspiring young professionals
  • Creating professional connections on LinkedIn

In addition to following people and joining groups, Millennials use social media to access information about upcoming networking events and industry updates. To these young professionals, social media is the most honest way to get information. It doesn’t make them feel as if they’re being pushed into a corner. Associations can use social media to increase awareness about associations and show them the benefits of association membership.

A few ways associations can improve their social media presence is by:

  • Posting consistent, relevant content
  • Investing in social ad campaigns that target a young demographic
  • Using social media influencers to build your social brand
  • Creating social media groups for young members

Find all of this overwhelming? Using an AI content curator, you can focus more on in-depth social campaigns and less on finding relevant content to post for the day. For instance, artificial intelligence collects social media content that is relevant to your target audience and streamlines the process of social media presence. Reach more young professionals with less time spent finding things to post!

Share Educational Content On Your Website

association blog content

In the past, websites were often used with the expectation of being sold something. Today, Millennials are looking for websites that provide more useful information and fewer ads. This is perfect for an association! The purpose of an association is to build a community of industry professionals, to share industry insights, and provide networking opportunities.

Likewise, this is exactly what Millennials are looking for (if they only knew it was available to them). Today, a lot of association content is only available to association members. Why not provide a few examples of what they’ll be paying for?

Here are a few ways to sample content:

  • Allow non-members to view blog content that is older than 6 months
  • Provide a streamlined newsfeed of third-party content
  • Give a short list of links to social media accounts of seasoned members

In other words, millennials are much less likely to pay for association membership if they can’t research what they’re getting beforehand. That is to say, this demographic responds well when given the opportunity to do their own research and weigh the pros and cons of joining a new professional community.

Are you interested in adding a newsfeed to your website, but not sure how much association time it will take up? We’re trying not to toot our own horn here “toot, toot”, but using an AI content curator is the quickest way to get it done. By using this automated technology, setting up a streamlined process for your association’s newsfeed is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Send Valuable Monthly E-Newsletters

e-newsletter for millennials

However, contrary to popular belief, Millennials are still using email. This group uses email for everything from work to informational newsletters. They do so to establish professional contacts, for job opportunities, renting a home, utility bill accounts, online shopping, you name it! Most of this generation has the e-mail app on their phone, and check it daily.

The key to sending emails to Millennials is this: don’t make them click the unsubscribe button.

That is to say, send engaging emails to help increase association membership. For example, here are some quick tips for sending monthly newsletters that prospective young members will enjoy:

  • Send easy to scan information that provides value
  • Make emails membership oriented, compelling them to join without making them feel like they’re getting an advertisement
  • Apply curated content that intrigues and is visually appealing
  • Do not send more than once a month!

Collaborate with Local Colleges

associations in higher education

Lastly, these young professionals do exist beyond the internet ethos! Find them at the point where they need your help the most. By partnering with local colleges, your association can provide value at the most stressful part of a young professional’s career. It’s the beginning. Millennials have few professional contacts, a very small resume, and a hunger to be successful. By reaching out a supporting hand during this time, associations increase their chances of making lifetime members out of this new generation.

Most importantly, make these opportunities known. Make opportunities available to college career development offices. Give information out to advisors in departments relevant to your association’s industry. Meanwhile, create career building opportunities for students and alumni who may still be searching for a community. After that, join career development fairs and enjoy some networking of your own! Bring seasoned members to meet and greets with students and create opportunities for students and members to network.

show millennials why joining an association will be beneficial

As an Executive Director, you know the benefits of joining an association. Using these hacks, you can share these benefits with young professionals and guide them towards greater career development. To sum it all up, build your social media presence, share information with prospective members, send out new and exciting industry developments, and get involved in the Millennial communities.

Marketing for Millennial Association Membership: Form the Perfect Campaign through Social Media

form the perfect campaign through social media when marketing association membership

Member Engagement Strategies for Connecting, Recruiting, and Marketing Association Membership

Before we get into marketing association membership for millennials, it’s important to know who millennials are. Millennials are the people who were born between the years 1977 and 2000. They make up 25% of the U.S. population, and now they’re old enough to become the driving force behind many markets. They’re tech-savvy adults who want to feel a peace of mind about where their hard-earned money is going.

Millennials receive a lot of bad press. They’re called entitled, lazy, and selfish. But oftentimes, so-called “millennials” are mislabeled and miscategorized.

While millennials often receive a bad rap, in reality, millennials are discerning, adaptive, and strive to become successful adults. They are changing, and yet, at their core, want the same things any other generation wants. So how can you market association membership to this fluid demographic while still staying true to the needs and values your association already has?

create the best strategy for marketing association membership to millennials

The key to coming up with a marketing association membership strategy geared towards millennials is to understand who they are and what they want from an association. And most importantly, it is to understand what your association can offer millennials that they can’t get somewhere else.

Think about how to reach this demographic on their own terms. More than any previous generation, millennials are highly in tune with the world of social media.

So here’s the million-dollar question: how can associations utilize social media to recruit this next generation of potential members to join your association?

Understanding Millennials Will Help Market Association Membership

marketing association membership to millennials means staying aware of their need to save money

Millennials Want to Save Money

Millennials make up a huge portion of the working population, yet studies show that they are making 20% less money than their parents did at the same age. Consequently, they also own less property and are much more likely to be renting apartments or homes.

One way to make a millennial an engaged member of your association is to speak to them on terms that are important to them. How can your association help them save or invest money? How can you help them plan for their long term future?

The greatest benefit of using social media as a way to garner the attention of younger members is that it is essentially “free”. While millennials are already paying for internet service and data plans for their mobile devices, it doesn’t necessarily cost them more to see and use Facebook, or YouTube, or access their email.

Marketing association membership using social media as an engagement point for interaction can be key because you’re meeting millennials where they already are.

millennials want to get recommendations when marketing association membership

Millennials Want Recommendations

Very closely associated with the idea of saving money, millennials want to know where their money is being spent. That’s why unboxing videos are so incredibly popular. Millennials are reading reviews, and getting recommendations from friends and family. They’re making less money, so they want to be sure that when they spend it, they’re getting what they want.

When using social media to reach your target audience, instead of using a call to action like “buy now” to link to your blog post or website, invite them to “learn more”. Millennials want to trust that their money is going to something they believe in, and something they actually desire, so make sure to speak to that need when marketing association membership.

when marketing association membership to millennials, consider their desire for incentives

Millennials Like Incentives

Another way to bolster your engagement with would-be millennial members is to incentivize them to recruit more assciation members for you. Give them a chance to win a prize, or just give them a prize, for referrals to new members. Everyone wants to be part of a community, no matter what age.

Motivate them to help create this community and simultaneously give prospective members something to believe in, like the judgment of their peers. A huge amount of millennials (84%!) say that user-generated content, rather than advertising, influences how they spend their money. Use this knowledge to your advantage when marketing association membership!

millennials want to be engaged with, not advertised to when creating a strategy for marketing association membership

Millennials Want to be Engaged With, Not Advertised To

Millennials are a very savvy group. They have a great sense of when they are being marketed to, and they’re not fans of it. They are 247% more likely to be persuaded by blogs or social-networking sites than baby boomers are. This is because they view these online communities as trustworthy. And, in a sense, they are right to believe this. In this day and age, social media is the democratic voice of the people; it’s 2019, which is reason enough for associations to strengthen their social media presence.

What they don’t respond to is traditional advertising in newspapers, commercials, etc. Millennials would much rather recommend their friends to read an informative blog post than show them a newspaper advertisement.

This goes back to their desire to save money. Millennials don’t want to feel like they are being sold something, rather they want to feel like they are becoming part of something. If emails are still a large part of your marketing association membership strategy, tailor it to the millennial mindset.

“Click-bait” subject lines are likely going to get your emails forwarded straight to the spam folder. Send an email that invites both your prospects and your new members to partake. Invite them to share, and become part of the front-running team. Use an email campaign that doesn’t make your members feel like customers, but makes them feel like they’re part of a community that cares about them and their individual beliefs.

An Engagement Plan for the Next Generation

form the perfect plan for marketing association membership through a strong social media presence targeting millennials

Membership Organization for Millennials

We can’t expect to continue with the same marketing association membership strategies forever if we wish to grow our membership base with the coming generations. Millennials want to make money, they want to be engaged, and they want to invest in the things that matter to them. This might sound like every generation, but the ways in which they try to achieve these goals are substantially different than Gen Xer’s or Baby Boomers.

Social media is where the younger generation lives, so use this new medium to speak to your new audience. Millennials are diverse, and fluid. It can be hard to market your association to target them because they are truly such a diverse crowd. But the first trick to catching a fish is knowing where to find it, so get your waders on and hop into the river.

The Secret to Retaining Millennial Memberships in Associations

continue to build the value of association membership

Continuing to Build the Value of an Association Membership

Associations have been providing value to industry professionals for decades. Today, Millennials make up a huge percentage of the workforce. As a result, many associations are being updated to meet the needs of this growing demographic. By this point, you may have found ways to promote your association to Millennials and increase young memberships. Retaining millennial memberships is the next step to association success.

Using social media, association newsfeeds, and email marketing, associations can attract new, young industry professionals to join. How can associations delight this new member base, and build successful long term member/association relationships?

Millennials are a generation that cares about community involvement. They are service-oriented, which means they like to spend their time helping others. At the same time, Millennials are used to a world in which they can access unlimited information at their fingertips. For this reason, this demographic expects fast information and short response times. As a result, Associations must both become more efficient and more community-based. Here are a few ways that associations can achieve this feat.

Building an E-Community for Millennials

e-community for millennials

While Millennials do have a preference for a close-knit community, it doesn’t mean the same thing today. In the past, building a community meant bringing people together in person for meetings and networking events. Today, a community can be a virtual experience. For example, many of today’s young professionals connect via social media. Job searches, professional industry chat groups, and one on one communication is all done online. Associations have a bad reputation of being stuck in the past, unwilling to evolve into the world of social media engagement and mobile compatibility.

The solution is simple. If associations can re-think their business model to become more technology focused, Millennials will be more delighted with membership. As an association executive would know, a delighted member is a long term member.

A few ways that associations can meet young members where they are is by:

  • Building an association mobile app
  • Creating member chat groups (Facebook group, slack, Gmail chat, etc)
  • Hosting private facebook events: volunteering and networking
  • Sending an E-Newsletter with all community information
  • Showing Millennial members how to become Instagram ambassadors for the association
  • Hosting online webinars for members to participate in together

By making it easier for young members to connect with other professionals across the country, associations build a greater and more connected membership. The internet is the perfect tool for associations to take advantage of, so why not use it? If time is a potential issue, there are plenty of streamlining services that can make this process much more efficient.

Retaining Millennial Memberships Through Volunteer Work

retaining millennial memberships

As mentioned earlier, Millennials are very service oriented. They have an interest in sharing crowdfunding campaigns on social media, donating to local causes, participating in charity events, and building experience assisting non-profits. They like to help create positive change for their community.

Associations by nature are a service-oriented community, which makes them perfectly suited for this new generation of young professionals. If associations can hone in on this aspect of membership, then retaining millennial memberships should be a piece of cake.

Some examples of this could be:

  • Hosting or connecting members to nearby charity events
  • Providing consistent volunteering opportunities
  • Crowdfunding with members to donate to industry relevant nonprofits
  • Share examples of the association’s community involvement in an e-newsletter

Giving these opportunities to young members will increase member engagement, help them build a strong resume, and fulfill that desire for community involvement. Plus, organizing these nonprofit fundraisers for members looks excellent when recruiting new members to join your association.

Use Technology to Become Faster and More Responsive

association member retention

For a generation that relies on instant information, being fast and responsive is extremely important. Where older generations used the library for research, today’s generation has had the internet. In conversation, Millennials are quick to pull out the smartphone and google a question to get an immediate answer.

Alternatively, for customer service, the younger generation is quick to use a company’s chat service for a quick response. Unfortunately, associations have difficulty adjusting to this “quick information” era. Resources consist of lengthy white papers and response time take a few business days. As a result, retaining millennial memberships may be a more difficult task.

This is where associations must evolve and put in the leg work to prove a new responsive nature. There are a few ways that associations can become more responsive for members and focus on retaining millennial memberships.

This includes:

  • Adding a chatbot to your website so association employees can respond quickly to members
  • Responding to messages and comments on social media
  • Responding to comments on the association blog
  • Answering any questions via email
  • A phone line to call during business hours
industry associations

In addition to being responsive, Millennials appreciate quick information that answers questions they may have in a short period of time. This doesn’t mean get rid of case studies and white papers! Plenty of members still appreciate an in-depth and industry-focused piece of writing.

It appears that to help with retaining millennial memberships, associations can create short videos, FAQ articles, listicles, and slideshow-style posts that get straight to the point. This type of writing is increasingly taking over the market, both for younger and older audiences.

Using streamlining services like AI, you can focus more on retaining Millennial memberships and creating healthy association/member relationships. Spend less time choosing posts for social media, deciding what news to add to your website, or what content to add to the e-newsletter with technology that makes the process efficient.