Using webinars to retain members throughout their life cycle provides an easy way to acclimate them to membership rules, meet your staff, and introduce the ins and outs of your association benefits. This also gives you the opportunity to build personal relationships with your members.
Check out these three ways you can incorporate webinars in your member retention program to deliver a valuable experience to your association’s members.
When you start strong, you end strong, and that’s why the way you onboard members is so important. Things have changed over time, from sending welcome kits, to welcome emails, to welcome webinars.
Regardless of how you start, you likely have the same end goal: member retention.
Something you should always remember – your members are most engaged when they first join. That means this is the best time to ask for pertinent information to identify member needs, expectations, and goals. You’ll want to ask…
- Membership goals, and reasons for joining
- Member interests: to guide decisions about the news, information, resources, and marketing emails you’ll send them
- Member career goals and challenges
- Business goals and challenges
When you know the answer to those questions, you’ll be able to engage your members throughout their career journey and the lifetime of their membership with you. It will also enable you to continue to develop new content in a timely manner with minimal outside research or life.
How to use webinars during onboarding:
Start with an onboarding mini-series of three to five webinars. Depending on your staff size, you may want to schedule your onboarding webinars quarterly in order to collect enough data to develop your webinar content pertinent to the data you’ve collected.
Focus on how each of your offerings provides maximum member benefits, according to what your newest members have share. If you don’t have enough staff to refresh your webinar content quite as often, you may decide to host your series bi-annually, then use your LMS to set-it and forget it with rebroadcasts or by making it available on-demand.
Once your members are properly onboarded you want to provide them with timely and relevant information to keep them engaged. This is one of the most important factors consider when creating a membership retention program.
Get new members off on the right foot sending welcome emails with onboarding kits. You’ll also want to keep new and existing members informed on upcoming events and news communication that has a regular cadence, like a newsletter. If your departments are siloed and there’s no way to get everyone on the same page, have each department pick a set day (e.g. the third Thursday of every month) to send their communications. That way, members know what to expect, who to expect it from, and when to expect it.
Speaking of expectations, did you know 85 percent of members want their association to provide continuing education opportunities. It’s an important part of your association’s offerings. While developing your content strategy, don’t forget why members take professional education and training.
Findings from the Community Brands Member Education and Career Development Report shed light on this topic and the evolving preferences and behaviors around continuing education in general.
- 61% to keep up to date with best practices and new innovative approaches
- 57% to become more competent in your job
- 57% to earn or keep up to date with certification
- 51% required to keep up with license
- 51% to learn a new skill
You’ll also want to deliver your content according your member’s preferences. How do they prefer to receive it?
- 70% (up from 64%) Prefer short videos, recorded webcasts or audio in short increments
- 66% Prefer online course via live webinar
- 62% Prefer a webcast streaming of live, in-person event
Especially at a time when so many are home, there has been a resurgence of interest in professional development. Now is the time to engage your members in a meaningful way.
How to use webinars to engage members:
With a remote audience you must try harder to keep the connection going than if you were speaking right in front of them. Incorporate interactive elements into the webinar to keep the audience’s attention.
You can use some of the information you collected in onboarding because you know these are named topics of interest for your members. Sprinkle polls throughout the webinar to get learners’ feedback or test their knowledge. Add a chat, so attendees can discuss the content amongst themselves. Host a Q&A period to allow for direct interaction with the speaker.
Another important purpose of your membership retention program is to show that your association understands, and is keeping us with their expectations. throughout every stage of their career and their membership with your organization. But how do you get started? You must personalize the member experience.
As discussed earlier, you want to start by collecting member data early and often. In this case, you should leverage your tech stack to gather useful data and send targeted messages (the means the right person, at the right time) to deliver a better, more personalized experience that exceeds your members’ expectations.
Throughout the process, track and measure your efforts. Where possible, use reports and dashboards for insights into your member data so you can see the impact your personalization efforts are having. You can start by reviewing open and click-through rates on your communications to ensure you’re connecting with your members. Pay attention to webinar registration versus attendee rates, and work to identify any trends between who is attending which topics for webinars and how often.
How to personalize the member experience with webinars:
If you’re able to incorporate some of the aforementioned demographic and psychographic datapoints, you’ll want to segment your webinars by member career stage, specialty, or focus. Develop webinar tracks that specifically support your continuing education content, your partnerships, and your sponsorships.
Use content templates that automatically pull member data and other details straight from your learning and membership management systems into your content to streamline the personalization process – having a strong integration between the two will assist in this process.
Hopefully, with the above tips, your association can use webinars to engage and retain members while increasing non-dues revenue during this time of limited face-to-face interaction.