15 Member Engagement Tactics - Which One(s) Work?

Posted By: Donna Oser, CAE Blog, Industry,

New member engagement is the holy grail of association membership, especially post-pandemic. Association memberships are grown by adding new members, but new members are far less likely to renew than existing members, so it's important to get it right. Fortunately, reliable data on what works and what doesn't when engaging first-year members is now available: the 2022 New Member Engagement Study is hot off the press.

Led by engagement Guru Amanda Kaiser and conducted in partnership with Dynamic Benchmarking, the study is an easy read, packed with insights key to calibrating engagement plans and targeting precious resources.

The study explores the efficacy of the following 15 engagement tactics for trade associations versus professional associations/societies:

  1. Emails
  2. Phone Calls
  3. Online Community
  4. Welcome Kit
  5. In-Person Events
  6. Virtual Orientation/Webinars
  7. Social Media
  8. Pulse Surveys/Embedded Email Surveys
  9. Letters
  10. Chapter or SIG Onboarding
  11. Website Welcome Center
  12. Videos
  13. New Member Engagement Committee
  14. New Member Ambassador Program
  15. Text/SMS

The study identifies email as the most commonly used engagement strategy and highlights differing results and effective practices. For example, professional associations report a much higher efficacy rate for email (71% ) versus only 48% for trade associations. But what email practices work for engagement? According to the study, email effectiveness is linked to a 3-3-6 schedule.

The 3-3-6 schedule works like this: three new member-specific emails are sent in the first week after joining, then weekly for the first month, and then monthly for the next six months for a total drip campaign duration of seven months. The 3-3-6 schedule is a best practice, and many associations saw an increase in renewals by implementing it.

For association leaders looking to get the most bang out of their membership marketing investment, there is much to be gleaned from the 2022 New Member Engagement Study. Download the full report at this link.