The key to unlocking better member engagement

Attracting potential new members, retaining existing ones and engaging with individuals, at whatever stage they find themselves within the membership lifecycle, is a perennial issue for membership organisations who are focusing on unlocking member engagement.

All membership organisations want to get better at member engagement and through careful planning, working with suppliers that understand what you are trying to achieve and most importantly, understanding your target audience through good, managed and compliant data – campaigns can achieve real results.

Today, having at your disposal, good quality and accurate data is absolutely key to survival. Second only to securing funding, data integrity should be at the heart of your organisation, establishing your credibility and ensuring maximum return on investment. Without it, it’s virtually impossible to interact in any meaningful way with the people that matter the most.

The rewards are plentiful for those who properly manage their data to drive better engagement. Used properly, it offers valuable insights and clarifies members’ preferences, so that you can interact with them with the right messages at the right time, in the right way.

The ‘holy grail’ for all membership organisations is active, interested, passionate, loyal members who help to bring new recruits into the fold, comment and share on social media and willingly renew their membership year in, year out.

The power of personalisation

Personalisation is a very powerful tool to boost engagement, drive value and ultimately ensure members stick around for the long haul. It is critical to reaching out to and retaining a loyal membership and unlocking member engagement.

There is no place for a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The risk with that kind of blanket strategy is you become an impersonal, faceless membership platform members soon tire of and disengage from because you don’t reflect their values, needs and preferences, wherever they are on their membership journey.

Data holds the key to personalisation, allowing a bespoke approach that sets organisations apart from others. It creates an individual journey which achieves a greater response and loyalty. The more you tailor your direct communications, the more effective they will be. You can use data to deliver meaningful print and digital campaigns that attract, engage and retain members. It demonstrates that you care, through personalised, segmented, thoughtful campaigns.

Data compliance

Data has previously been compared to oil – in its raw form, its uses are limited. However, through management (cleansing, validation, de-duplication and auditing, it becomes infinitely more useful and with this comes the need to make sure it’s compliant, protected and secure.

It is particularly important that personal data is adequately protected. The GDPR data protection legislation brings a welcome step change, preventing organisations from sharing personal data.

It will no longer be possible to assume a one-off donation means someone wants to opt-in. Instead, membership organisations will need to have a better grasp of what makes target audiences tick and importantly, understand their preferences. More accountability, better transparency and improved engagement will all be the way forward in the tougher, but fairer legislative environment.

Data also needs to be governed as it moves through its lifecycle, for example to make sure it’s always clear who is responsible for it (i.e. an identifiable owner), and to comply with all relevant regulations.

Managing campaigns

While creativity is important, above all, messaging need to be authentic, honest, compelling and based on facts derived from the data.

Digital is a powerful tool in any marketer’s armoury but there is still a place for traditional, printed materials which offer an opportunity to renew and refocus member communications. Carefully crafted and highly personalised, they can significantly improve member engagement, reduce costs and offer a sustainable approach with minimal wastage.

Whether you use digital, print or a careful, complementary balance of the two, the common denominator is good data. That’s what will drive your campaign, bring it to life for members and ultimately, deliver tangible results, unlocking member engagement.

Good data management should be a focal point of your organisation, at the heart of everything you do and part of your overall communications strategy.

The best membership campaigns come from having an in-depth understanding of the core values of your campaign, your key messaging, creative design and your desired outcomes. This includes working with a delivery expert who understands all aspects of the campaign and can act as a trusted adviser on what works best with your target audience.

Latcham are experts in member engagement, with years of experience working within the sector. Find out more at the Latcham Membership portal.

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