Marketing General Incorporated shared the results of their 2023 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report. This year’s report highlights the strategies and tactics that have produced powerful rebound in association membership. 814 associations participated in the survey.

One of the issues highlighted in the survey was that many associations struggle with retaining first-year members. Associations were asked what strategies they had effectively employed to increase first-year members’ engagement and retention rates.

Here are some of the approaches that have worked:

  1. Consistency and Personal Outreach: Maintain consistent messaging and provide a personal touch through methods like personal phone calls, targeted email campaigns, and assigned account managers.
  2. Highlight Benefits and Networking Opportunities: Ensure new members understand available benefits and networking opportunities for career enhancement.
  3. Monthly Touch Campaigns and Activity Reports: Implement touch campaigns to ensure members utilize benefits, and run reports to identify those needing extra support.
  4. Freemium Memberships: Offer free memberships with staff interaction during the trial period.
  5. Facilitate Networking: Help new members integrate by facilitating introductions to existing members, leadership, and staff.
  6. Onboarding Webinars and Email Flows: Provide informative onboarding webinars and automated email flows explaining the association’s history, benefits, and resources.
  7. Microsite for Member Value: Create a dedicated microsite illustrating membership benefits and usage.
  8. Robust Automated Orientation Program: Implement a comprehensive automated orientation program for new members, reviewing metrics for effectiveness.
  9. Ongoing Orientation Webinars: Conduct regular orientation webinars for ongoing support.
  10. Executive and Board Support: Ensure support from executives and the board for engagement initiatives.
  11. Membership Bundled with Conference Registration: Bundle membership with conference registration for increased exposure, monitoring retention rates for adjustments.

We’ve added a few ideas:

  • Implement mentorship programs pairing new members with experienced ones.
  • Create a gamified experience to incentivize engagement and participation.
  • Provide ongoing educational opportunities relevant to members’ interests and career goals.
  • Gather feedback from first-year members regularly to identify areas for improvement and tailor engagement efforts accordingly.