Fast Track Member Engagement by Asking the Right Questions

 

Register for Wild Apricot’s FREE EXPERT webinar, Leading Member Engagement from the Outside-In, with Anna Caraveli and Elizabeth Engel.

 

http://goo.gl/LS2ygf

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Whether it is at a conference, online or in-person discussion, the topic of member engagement elicits variations of the same questions:

How can we get members to volunteer? We are just too small to get everything done on our own resources?

  • How do we persuade people of the value of our products and benefits and get them to join?

  • How do we get members to feel engaged in online events (vs. in person)?

  • How do we retain members who come in only because of a special event or sales promotion?

  Do you see a pattern here?

  All these questions are cast from the perspective of the association

  •  Our staffing needs
  • Our membership and revenue needs

  • Our assessments of value

  • Our ideas (and those of our peers) on how to engage 

The problem is that our needs, goals and opinions do not motivate or engage others. Would you gladly accept a hike in the price of a product because the company’s employees were dedicated and very hard-working? Would you be championing a flawed Internet or cable service because the provider had a lofty mission? Would you be motivated to remain a customer because the company constantly reminded you how great they and their products were, regardless of the value you, personally, experienced from these products?

 Yet this is what many associations do.  If members lose interest, it is attributed to marketing and communication gaps rather than problems with the value an organization delivers to its customers: “let’s be more aggressive in telling them about our products and their value.” And how many associations think that their goals of being the best, largest, greatest, more visible or prestigious resource in their field or industry will automatically translate into member engagement and retention?

 Non-engaged members often become an affront:

  • What’s wrong with them anyway? Can’t they see how hard we work? Why don’t they get how valuable our products are?

Or (with a sigh and a shake of the head):

  • What a selfish world we live in! People don’t join or volunteer anymore!

 But engagement is not about you but the value members perceive they get. It is not a matter of finding the right message or crafting the perfect wording. It is about identifying what truly matters to members; how it is experienced and what obstacles stand in the way.

So, the way to engage is by uncovering member’s innermost thoughts & unarticulated needs and crafting solutions to problems that matter.

Instead of asking questions from the Inside-Out (the provider’s perspective)

Ask questions from the Outside-In   (the customer’s perspective)

How can we get members to volunteer? We are just too small to get everything done on our own resources?

How do we persuade people of the value of our products and benefits and get them to join?

How do we get members to feel engaged in online events (vs. in person)?

 

How do we retain members who come in only because of a special event or sales promotion?

What most motivates volunteers? Where do our needs and their interests and motivations converge?

What matters the most to members and how exactly is this experienced in their daily life. What problems stand in their way and which solutions can we facilitate and how? 

How do members behave with each other and what engages them in their own online forums? 

How do we keep increasing the value members derive from and contribute to us and each other deliver concrete outcomes?

  Engagement is not the same as sales. While sales are one-directional (we make/you buy), engagement is the result of a two-way learning and development relationship in which new problems and opportunities are continuously identified and addressed.

 

 

 The stronger the relationship, the greatest the trust and collaboration among parties and the more targeted the value generated. The greatest the value the stronger the engagement. 

 To register for our webinar go to:

 •        Webinar Blog Post:

http://goo.gl/LS2ygf

 

 •        Registration: http://goo.gl/1kYLv8

 

 

 


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