Member Engagement Strategies: Five Resolutions for a Happy (and Successful) New Year

By Kendra Lusty | Updated on Jan 19, 2021 9:28:36 AM

It’s a new year, a new opportunity to set goals and succeed in any aspect of life one chooses to focus on.

The intention of a New Year’s resolution is to establish life-long changes that will improve the person’s life in some way. Whether you like to set official New Year’s resolutions or not, goal-setting has proven an effective strategy for increasing productivity and focusing efforts in the right direction.

And the effects are even more pronounced when it comes to businesses and organizations.

Of course there are some resolutions notorious for being dropped after the first few weeks (“get in shape”, I’m looking at you.) So the last thing you want is to set organization goals that get lost in the shuffle, or worse, send you down the wrong path.

When choosing corporate goals, there is added pressure to choose the right resolutions. After all, these choices determine where organizations will spend their time, money and resources. Stakes are higher when backed by a budget and when results affect everyone involved.

But when businesses get it right, effective goals can deliver dramatic results.

A Case For Engagement

With that in mind, we’d like to propose that the golden resolution at the top of everyone’s list should be to increase engagement.

When it comes to organizations with members, businesses with customers, and companies with employees, there can be many ways to grow a business. But the ones that come first to mind--increasing acquisition, cutting costs, etc--aren’t the only way to bring in more money, and they might not be the most effective use of your time and resources.

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Here are a few of the many statistics that show how high engagement can help businesses of all kinds:

  • A strong emotional engagement with the consumers is predicted to result in a 5% boost in annual revenue (or an increase of $148 million) in the retail sector (CapGemini
  • 70% of consumers with a high emotional engagement spend up to twice as much as those with low emotional engagement (CapGemini)
  • Department store brands that reward non-transactional engagement (additional interactions beyond purchases) enjoy 48% more daily site visits, 13% longer site visits, and a 5% lower bounce rate (L2)
  • B2B customers with high customer engagement scores achieve 50% higher revenue/sales, 34% higher profitability and 33% greater likelihood to be the first choice for future business (Gallup)
  • 81% of emotionally connected consumers will not only promote the brand among their family and friends, they will also spend more (CapGemini)

And there are a lot more where that came from on our ultimate loyalty statistics page. We’ve analyzed these stats in many articles. Here are a few, just in case you still need a little more convincing:

How to Increase Engagement: 5 Goals to Try This Year

a goal without a plan is just a wishJust like with every resolution, having a solid and specific plan can be the difference between success and failure. Member engagement is a dial you can only turn if you understand exactly what your members want from their relationship with your organization.

You’ve probably heard all the advice about succeeding at personal resolutions, like: “a goal without a plan is just a wish” and “set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound).”

This advice applies to businesses too, but they need to take it a step (or many) further because success depends on a coordinated effort. For example, 80% of managers reported they are doing their best to execute their corporation’s strategy, but would like more clarity on what that strategy is. And 30% reported that failure to communicate across units is the greatest challenge to executing strategy.

So, perhaps this year, the way to move the dial is to unite all employees in accomplishing measures that can LEAD to engagement. Here are our top five suggested member engagement strategies:

1. Listen To Your Constituents

listen closelyFour out of five strongest drivers of member satisfaction and engagement are factors that influence their experience. Knowing what people value in a member experience is more important than ever. And the only way to learn that is to listen wide and listen well.

First and foremost, you’ll want to have an active presence anywhere members might seek you out including customer service channels, social media and through positive employee interactions.

Beyond that, social listening (examining public perception of your business by searching for your name periodically) can clue you in on what people are saying about you even when they’re not talking directly to you. But the quickest and most effective way to learn what members expect from membership is to ask. Surveys, interviews and checkups can help you stay in touch with actual member expectations and how well you’re living up to them.

The most obvious benefit is that their answers can give you a solid direction to guide your engagement strategy. No less important is this: the simple knowledge that you value their input will help members develop a deeper emotional attachment to your organization.

2. Adapt Continually

adapt or dieIt’s a fact of business that what works today often loses effectiveness over time. Therefore, if you’re always repeating the same business strategy, you’re sure to fall behind before very long.

In 2020, most businesses were forced to adapt and quickly. Some businesses were able to survive with a few changes, some only with major adaptations. Most businesses that shuttered their doors in 2020 did so through no fault of their own, because nationwide restriction were incompatible with essential elements of their business.

However, it is a sad fact that some failed businesses over the years could have made it had they been able to adapt to changing member needs.

And it doesn't even take a dramatic event (like a global pandemic) to force great change. That's because even during "easy" years, available technologies are constantly improving. Therefore companies will also have to update how they use that technology. For example, having any app is great, but once it starts to feel slow or outdated (which can happen fast), it won’t be widely used.

Also, younger generations, which are becoming the majority consumer demographic, want vastly different things from the companies they do business with than that of previous generations.

Listening to your members will help you know where you’re lagging behind. Adapting is about making a concrete plan to implement real changes over the course of this year.

So whether you’re due for a website update or need to overhaul your email marketing messaging, improvements should at the very least prevent you from becoming obsolete. But why not aim higher? Carefully chosen adaptations can skyrocket your relevance in members’ lives.

3. Solidify Value

give value then ask for businessIf there’s ever a year where people are going to evaluate every purchase, it’s 2021. With less disposable income, people are lasering in on whether each purchase is delivering more value than the cost. That includes membership organizations they join.

Sometimes solidifying value means finding better ways to deliver the products and services you already offer. Other businesses may find success branching out and including value-added benefits to make their organization important to more parts of member lives.

A quick word of caution: not all member benefits are created equal. What is essential to one segment of members might not be as crucial to others. As long as you’re actively listening, you’ll be able to home in on the best way to market your benefits to engage each and every member.

Many businesses and organizations are seeking out member benefits with universal appeal, like private discount programs for associations. Not only do they give a compelling reason for members to continue their relationship with you year after year, they can actually offset the cost of membership. Choosing the best discount program will mean finding one with savings on everyday essentials at local businesses, the places people actually shop.

4. Communicate More AND More Effectively

Were gonna have to work on our communicationMembers can’t enjoy the many advantages of membership if they don’t know about them first. And the fact is, most people welcome relevant communications. Studies show 95% of customers are looking for some degree of proactive communication from the companies with which they do business. And 51% of U.S. consumers are loyal to brands that interact with them through their preferred channels of communication

If you’ve chosen to implement the resolutions above, you’ve probably developed a lot of new excellent reasons to reach out to your members. You can reveal new initiatives based on their feedback, showcase changes that you feel will make their lives easier, announce valuable new benefits and more.

Varied messaging like this give you more chances to communicate with members which will help you stay top-of-mind, and easily accessible when they’re ready to engage. 

Effective communication is an essential link between organizations and members. But that’s not all. It’s also a crucial component for ensuring employees are unified in strategy and have accountability for their own responsibilities in company-wide initiatives.

5. Measure Your Progress

measuring tapeOnce you have your goals set, it’s important to make sure your chosen actions are having the effect you want. That way, you have the opportunity to adjust, or even completely change, your strategy to yield maximum results.

Whatever your chosen metric, be it member acquisition, member retention, more referrals, etc., watching the numbers will inform you if your actions are helping, hurting, or simply a waste of time.

That way when you start a strategy, you can track whether customer engagements are responding. For example, if you want to increase member engagement by emailing more frequently, then perhaps watching the click-through rate of links within the emails, or tracking the amount of traffic to your website will reveal their success. If neither of these metrics improve, then you’ll know it’s time to adjust your strategy. Changing email messaging is a logical next step as A/B testing of content often reveals a clear winner.

And if, as we suggested above, you want to improve your emotional engagement with members, rest assured there are ways to measure that too. It starts with tracking (and ranking) all interactions with your business, and expands to include self-evaluation of the likelihood one will take essential actions like referring friends or renewing membership. (Hint: questions like these are easily added to surveys if you’re already working on resolution #1.) We have an entire guide on how to assign an actual number to emotional engagement, and recommend customizing your own system for maximum impact.

Goals to Help Any Organization Succeed

Access has a good reason for recommending these particular goals. We didn’t just pull them out of thin air.
They just happen to be the same goals Access set for itself in the year 2021. After a lot of research, we felt each of the initiatives outlined above would be the best direction for Access to grow as a company.

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Would you like to know how we at Access plan to accomplish these goals? Perhaps seeing them in action will help you create your own plan for this year.

  • Goal #1: Listen better to our clients through extensive interviews aimed at identifying the challenges they face and creating member engagement strategies as solutions.
  • Goal #2: Adapt with new technologies to enhance the member experience by releasing a new mobile app experience, cash back rewards and more. 
  • Goal #3: Solidify member value by adding more member discounts on everyday essentials, like our new deal on gasoline at 12,000 Shell fueling stations nationwide now available.
  • Goal #4: Help our clients communicate more effectively with members by providing even more plug and play resources, emails, etc. and instructions to use them to their full potential.
  • Goal #5: Measure to ensure optimal results of all previous goals by appointing a business intelligence team to monitor our progress and keep employee focus in the right direction.

Stay tuned for progress updates on these and other Access initiatives throughout the year.

Will Adding Value Help you Achieve Your Goals?

Best of all, most of our goals have a single overarching purpose: to help the member organizations, employers and other businesses we serve to succeed at their most important goals.

What goals will you set for your organization? Are you looking for ways to help your members, customers or employees engage on a deeper emotional level? If so, we believe Access can help make those goals a reality.

Access Development offers value-added benefits, like the nation’s largest private discount program, complete with supporting email updates, ads, onboarding assistance, etc. Especially now, when people are feeling economic uncertainty, they’re turning more and more to discounts to help them stretch their budgets further.

It’s a way to provide tremendous value for minimal cost. If you think we can help, contact us here.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Member Benefits, discount program, member engagement, associations, association marketing, Membership Organizations, loyalty programs, membership benefits programs, member engagement strategies

Written by: Kendra Lusty

For over a decade, Kendra Lusty has been a writer for Access Development, and currently focuses her research and writing on topics related to loyalty and engagement.

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