With a new year comes new challenges and new opportunities for membership managers. With 2019 finally behind us, it’s time to look forward and see how we can grow in the new year!

As part of our Strategies for a Successful New Year blog series, we want to devote this article to taking a look at a few powerful, accessible techniques to help drive success this year. We’ll show you how a few simple tools in Member365 can help you drive participation in your events, increase membership engagement, drive renewals, and capture new applicants.

Note: Not using Member365? Don’t worry! Whatever software you’re using, these tips will apply!

1. Use Online Workspaces to Drive Event Engagement

Events are a cornerstone of success for many member-driven organizations. For many members, these events are the only opportunity all year to enjoy the value of their membership. For membership managers, this makes driving event engagement a core priority.

Typically, ‘event engagement’ is understood in terms of registration and attendance. We spend months leading up to our events doing all we can to capture registrations, and then do our best to convert those into actual attendants.

Online workspace are a powerful tool that can help you do both. Set up online workspace with the right strategy in mind, and you can turn those who participate in your online workspaces into powerful event advocates.

Make Event Evangelicals with Online Workspaces

Registering for an event typically takes place well in advance of an events actual date.

Because of the distance between registration and attendance, membership managers have an uphill battle to ensure their events stay top-of-mind. Excitement is what motivates a registrant to attend, but it fades quickly unless constantly nurtured.

As a membership-manager, there simply isn’t enough time in the day to monitor and manage your pool of registrants to maintain their excitement. Email campaigns are a good start to regularly check-in on members and bring your event back into awareness, but blog articles and event-related content don’t offer opportunity for a registrant to actually engage.

Online workspace offer participants an opportunity to create, not just consume. Turn the primary CTA in your event emails into an opportunity for registrants to collaborate with others who share interest in your event subject-matter, and you can leverage the power of community to cultivate excitement in each-other!

Set up an online workspace that event registrants can access as soon as they’ve registered. Have it prepared with spaces devoted to particular discussion or subject matter, and consider offering your speakers the opportunity to moderate. Follow-up by giving all registrants the opportunity to refer their friends, and watch as registrations pour in!

2. Capture and Up-Sell Memberships with Directories

Member-driven organizations are all about the value of community. For professional associations especially, understanding how to create and capture this value through strategic directories can be a powerful way to capture new applications, and up-stream existing members to higher membership categories. We’ve written before about how strategically approaching your directories can help boost member engagement. In 2020, it’s worth thinking about how (or if!) you manage yours because they can be a powerful tool to find new members, and up-sell existing members to higher membership categories.

‘Ungated’ Directories to Capture Leads

Offering access to a basic directory of your members can be a tantalizing reason for a prospect to apply. Your members create much of the value of your membership. Offering (limited) access to them gives non-members a taste of what membership might be like. Offer just enough to please them, but not enough to fully satisfy, and you can convert a prospects positive experience into an application.

Consider, for example, using your membership management software to create a custom directory for display on your website. List basic information like your member’s names, pictures, etc – but nothing substantive like email addresses or phone numbers. Include messaging that that information is available, but to members-only. Delivering a positive experience (confirming the contact information is available) gives you an optimal opportunity to convert a would-be searcher to a brand new member!

‘Gated’ Directories to Convert and Up-Sell

If your association offers a wide range of members with diverse but intersecting specializations, creating separate directories for each specialization creates opportunities for up-selling members to higher membership categories.

For example, an association specializing in manufacturing might have multiple membership categories. Manufacturers, supply-chain experts, vendors, consultants, etc. are all unique segments offering unique value to members. Creating a directory for each, and then gating access to them based on a member’s membership type, provides ample incentive to apply for higher categories. Provide tiered pricing to give the best value to those in the highest category, and watch as your members gradually flow to higher categories!

3. Think about Your Software

The quality of tools you use are one of the most important criteria for success in membership management. Despite this, it’s daunting to search for, find, and on-board a new system – so most of us simply keep on with the status quo.

Regardless of which system you’re using, it’s a valuable practice to consistently expose yourself to what’s new in membership management software. Every day, the barriers to enjoying new software lower, and the benefits get higher. When you’re in the habit of exploring what’s available, you might just come across the solution that will fundamentally change the way you work, and eliminate inefficiencies you might not even know about!

As we head into 2020, get Q1 started on the best foot possible by discovering what’s available! Whether it’s Member365 or not, get the most out of 2020 by exploring the latest-and-greatest in membership management software for your organization.