Announcing an Entirely New Methodology for Member Research

Smooth The Path

The associations with high member engagement know their members well. In fact, you might work at one of these member engagement unicorns. Do staff regularly conduct member research? When testing new benefits, do you ask for member feedback?

Study Holds Key to Association Member Engagement

Smooth The Path

For the last year, I have been saying that members who engage with the association within the first 3 days to 3 weeks of joining become more engaged through the life of their membership. I have been shouting this from the rooftops because members have told me this in interview after interview. Increased new member engagement over time, improves all member engagement. New member engagement programs do work!


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A Member Research Strategy to Consider

Smooth The Path

In the last post and the one before , I have been talking about all the benefits of the qualitative methods of research (qualitative research is deep-dive, story-driven research that is adept at answering your complex questions.). Qualitative is not statistically significant, and unless your membership is very small, we cannot capture every member’s voice. Many quantitative surveys can be statistically significant, and they are usually open to every member.

Member Engagement Is Not Convenient for Us

Smooth The Path

In this way, the food analogy is a lot like member engagement work. The friction arises because, in general, the more inconvenient member engagement practices are for us, the more our members love them. Building member engagement is inconvenient. Providing value-based member marketing is far more inconvenient than promotional marketing. Every day we balance convenience with the engagement work that our members want.

The New Member Engagement Rule of Three


There is a short window of opportunity to engage new members. Most new members join with high hopes. During the first few days of their membership, new members are inherently very engaged. We only have 3 emails to engage some new members. We only have 3 days or 3 weeks to engage some new members. We may only have 3 touches total to engage some new members. Engage your new members early and engage them for life!

How to Exponentially Improve Member Engagement at Any Association

Smooth The Path

Wouldn’t it be great if members felt this way every day of the week? At some associations, members do feel this way, and your members can feel like this too. The only thing preventing our association from becoming the top of mind resource, the organization members are trying to figure out how to become more engaged with, and the one members rave to their colleagues about is… Simply, our understanding of members.

Industry Study Brings a New Way for Association Professionals to Think About Member Engagement

Smooth The Path

There was one theme running so strongly through each member research project I could not ignore it. It was that members who engaged very early in their membership were more excited about the association than members who reported that “the association just grew on them.” ” These early engagers are special. Some associations have far more early engagers than others, and these early engagers tended to engage with the same benefit.

Engaged Members Tell Heartfelt Stories

Smooth The Path

Are you wondering if your members are engaged? One of the traits of engaged members is they can tell stories about how your association helped them. Unengaged members don’t tell stories like this. Use member mindset to boost engagement.

Why Just One Kind of Member Research Isn’t Enough

Associations Now

By pursuing both quantitative data and qualitative input from its members, the Construction Financial Management Association discovered a gap in its member value proposition—and how to fix it. For associations looking to better attract and engage members, the answer is better data. Both solutions have their true believers, and it could be easy to take an impassioned argument for either quantitative or qualitative research as a tacit dismissal of the other.

Quantitative Points to the Starting Line, Qualitative Illuminates the Path

Smooth The Path

Improve new member retention. Grow member engagement. Attract more members. Extend member value. Because of my Crayola marketing training, I always turn to member research first. Understand members well, and the path to the goal will emerge. When starting a member research project, there are two possible methodologies to select. Quantitative data can also point to weaknesses in revenue, or retention, or engagement.

Why Didn’t Our Members Choose Us?

Smooth The Path

It is so frustrating… Industry suppliers launch competitive products and events and our members purchase them. Members have a challenging problem and we have the solution but they do not use our solution. We reach only 14% of the population of potential members. Only 25% of our members come to the conference. Our members are busy. Sometimes members don’t even know they have a problem. We are boring so members tuned out long ago.

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Case Study: In-depth Member Interviews Feed Association’s Strategic Plan

Smooth The Path

What else should the association do to support members during these extremely challenging times? In preparation for other strategic planning processes the association conducted quantitative member surveys but found the results were not all that actionable because there continued to be so many unanswered questions. With this in mind they decided to test out a qualitative research methodology as input to this strategic planning process. Listening to members.

Our Members are Self-Centered

Smooth The Path

Our members are self-centered. Our members have… no time. Only organizations that solve our member’s problems, speak their language, and understand them will get their time and attention. Associations can no longer make it by marketing benefits.The only way to get their attention and to keep them engaged is by marketing and then delivering solutions and experiences. Can you stand in your member’s shoes and do this?

Many Organizations Accidentally Ignore New Members

Smooth The Path

The online membership application process didn’t allow me to set my username and password, so right after I joined, I couldn’t log in and check out my new member benefits. I had a half hour before my next meeting, and I spent the time browsing the association’s website looking at their events, research reports, and online community. My first-year member experience lines up with many other new member’s experiences according to member research.

Our Member’s Decisions Are Not What They Seem To Be

Smooth The Path

Do you ever find yourself wondering why members make the decisions they make? Why join, but then not engage? Sometimes member’s decisions seem so irrational. Why are our members so irrational? At that moment, in their shoes, knowing what they know, having the experiences they have had, in the environment, our members are in, they are making the most rational decision possible. Related: When we create a vacuum of information, our members make up stories.

Developing My Dream Association

Smooth The Path

If I were to build an association, I would pull the most significant insights from all of the research I have conducted. One of the core staff values would be to be intensely member-focused. We would talk with members often, conduct listening tours, and interview them. We would use all the member insights we gain to develop our member communications, set our strategy, and create an innovation plan. Related: The new member engagement rule of three.

Engaging Not New or Long, But Medium-Time Members with Your Association

Smooth The Path

While conducting member research new members and long-time members share why they engage with their association (and why they don’t). Here’s why 3-7 year members engage with our associations: Because they have already found value and had great experiences, so they assume more value and great experiences are to be had. Because they said yes to a volunteer role and now they feel more responsibility to get engaged.

When Decisions Get Made

Eric Lanke

The most interesting result from the member research on renewal notices is that these letters, emails, and phone calls do not serve to change most member’s minds about renewing. Her post makes the point that the time to engage a member comes long before the dues renewal is sent, and that attempts to persuade a member to renew with a bunch of marketing materials send with the dues notice are often wasted. Associations Member Engagement

Is it Day 1 or Day 2 for Associations?

Smooth The Path

True customer (member) obsession and high-velocity decision making are the most critical but also the most difficult for associations. Think about your members. Think about your best members. Not board members but regular members who are highly engaged. We can develop offerings members love. We can attract high-quality members with our improved marketing. Related: How to exponentially improve member engagement at any association.

From the Corner Office: Scott Wiley, CAE

Association Adviser

Scott Wiley, CAE, head of the Ohio Society of CPAs , and newly elected Chair of the ASAE board, shares his thoughts about advocacy, millennials, member engagement and the importance of financial literacy in an exclusive Association Adviser interview. . Associations advance America’s economic competitiveness through research and innovation agendas, workforce development initiatives and global thought leader communities. . SW : It starts with really knowing your members.

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Do Members Like Association Renewal Notices?

Smooth The Path

Yes, many of the association’s loyal members like receiving renewal notices because they serve as an essential reminder to renew. Over the years these members received more value than the cost of their membership and they had wonderful experiences because of the association. But some members do not like receiving renewal notices. New members tend to feel this way more frequently because they have no relationship with the association. Yes and no!

Is it Time to Refresh Your Value Proposition?


Melynn Sight details how to evaluate your organization’s value proposition message for members. Member needs and your organization’s strengths can change over time. Review your value message internally: During your strategic planning cycle, formally ask board members what they believe members think are the strengths of the association. Test your message externally with member research (via a survey or focus groups): Have trends shifted? Member Engagemen

Association Brain Food Weekly: 5.3.19

Reid All About it

It’s frustrating to have member and event attendee data spread out across the organization in different databases. Amanda Kaiser dispels three myths on why people join associations and reveals the real reason—based on her member research. Mapping the Journey to Long-Term Member Engagement. Your members have high expectations, and a distinctive, original, and personal user experience is a requirement in today’s digital world.

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Association Brain Food Weekly: 7.9.21

Reid All About it

Member engagement. Anne McCarthy at Sidecar recaps a panel discussion at SURGE Forward about the new approaches to member engagement taken by associations during the pandemic. Improve Your Email Engagement with a Conversational Email Strategy.

Report: Many Associations Saw Membership Jump in 2013

Associations Now

s latest Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report indicated positive growth in total membership, new member acquisition, and member renewals this year. In addition, 63 percent of associations saw an increase in new member acquisition, which has steadily gone up over the past five years. Many associations are reevaluating programs and services to determine the most efficient ways to run their organizations and how to best serve their members, Schonher added.

AMS Platforms: A Comprehensive Guide for Associations


Without the right capabilities in your association management software , it can be very difficult for your team members to navigate your association’s wealth of data in order to make the best possible strategic decisions. An association management software platform is a centralized solution for your organization to handle member registration, events, marketing, and more. Member profiles are well-rounded and have a single, accurate information source.