The ‘Secret Sauce’ of Member Engagement: Part Two

By Bobby Peralta posted 21-05-2023 11:17


In my last post here, I wrote about a formula on member engagement: “Engagement equals Value plus Experience.” It came from Amanda Lea Kaiser, author of the new book, “Elevating Engagement: Uncommon Strategies for Creating Thriving Member Communities.”

Here are additional thoughts which I adapted from Amanda’s recent webinar and the articles on her website:

Most associations equate engagement only with value such as content, benefits, and events. This emanates from the usual question an association asks its members: “What do you need?” However, this is only one part of the engagement equation. Whenever you ask, “what do our members need?” you should also now ask a new question, “How do you want your members to feel?”

Asking this additional question brings you to the mindset of experiences. This could mean making new members feel welcomed, appreciated, and celebrated. You can help them feel these emotions in the words you choose and the tone you adopt, for example, when you craft a welcome letter, create a product, plan an event, pick up the phone, do a webpage, write an article, email, or post. Take a second to ask yourself, “When members connect with us, how do we want them to feel?”

Amanda suggests a few more tips: start virtual meetings with some royalty-free or licensed tunes, take a few extra seconds to warmly welcome new members when you call them, start a meeting with a good icebreaker, and when you hand attendees their badge, program, and lanyard, give them a genuine smile, too. Positive experiences are unique, can help you stand out, and will make your organization memorable and remarkable.

Also, ask yourself these questions: Are you creating an environment where members want to participate? Do first-timer members wish to become involved? Is the sense of belonging increasing? Are members making friends? Is the association community energy high?

First impressions are also memory makers. Members may not remember their third, fourth, or fifth conference when asked about them years later, but they’ll likely remember their first. One of the best ways to onboard new members is to optimize first impressions.

There are many opportunities to enhance member engagement by sprucing up first impressions. Here are some steps: (1) brainstorm when first impressions are likely to happen, (2) decide whether each experience is as good as it could be, and (3) re-engineer each first impression to make it great.

So, these bring me to a new designation that an association can create: that of a CEO—not chief executive officer but chief experience officer. Every association leader can become a CEO. You may be on the IT team, accounting, research, editorial team, or be a volunteer and still be a CEO. Assuming the CEO role is not just for the membership department or committee; becoming a CEO is for everybody. No matter your current title, you can take on the CEO role.

Associations are experience-creating centers. Experiences will happen organically, or these can be planned. Every great experience drives the emotions that grow member engagement. So, remember the formula: “Engagement equals Value plus Experience.”

This article was published by the Business Mirror on May 5, 2022 and may not be reproduced without prior consent from the writer and Business Mirror.