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Evolving Strategies for Enhancing Membership Engagement and Growth in 2024 Title showing engaged medics applauding

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As we step into 2024, associations are navigating a rapidly evolving landscape. The strategies that worked for membership acquisition and retention in the past may need to be more effective. This calls for reevaluating and adapting methods to keep up with changing times and member expectations.

As association management experts, we have identified several small changes you can make to your association to increase membership acquisition and retention.

RELATED: What do Association Members Want?

Seven small changes to improve membership acquisition and retention in your association

1. Building a Vibrant Community

Evolving Strategies for Enhancing Membership Engagement and Growth in 2024_smileys simbolising a community engaged

The core of any association is its community. With the advent of virtual platforms, associations have unprecedented opportunities to create engaging, interactive, and supportive online spaces. These platforms allow 24/7 engagement and provide a venue for members to connect, share ideas, and collaborate regardless of geographical barriers.

Research and insights from Community Brands reveal that innovative technology, including online communities, significantly enhances association member loyalty and retention. Adopting such technologies has been vital for associations to stay relevant and meet the evolving needs of their members. This aligns with the broader trend that associations investing in digital experiences and technology will likely see increased member satisfaction and connection.

Furthermore, predictive analytics is emerging as a vital tool in improving association member retention. Tools that leverage predictive analytics help associations uncover data insights and understand trends related to membership, including potential lapses. Using such technology has been beneficial in identifying members at risk of lapsing and taking proactive measures to retain them.

These insights suggest that associations embracing technology, particularly online community platforms and predictive analytics, can significantly enhance member engagement and retention.

2. Innovative Referral Programs

Traditional referral programs are getting a makeover. Gamification elements, such as earning points, badges, or levels, can make the referral process more engaging. Tiered rewards, where members get different benefits based on the number of referrals they make, add incentives.

Tiered referral programs boost program engagement by offering different ways to refer and earn, catering to diverse users. Such programs can control customer behaviour to the business’s advantage and automatically personalise referral rewards, making them more appealing to different types of users. For instance, different rewards can be offered based on how much the referred friend spends, when they buy, or the kind of customer making the referral. This strategy effectively encourages more referrals by offering better rewards for the best advocates.

Furthermore, successful referral programs emphasise quality acquisition and enable seamless sharing, making it easy for existing customers to share referral links through various platforms. Programs prioritising referrals from customers with a history of engagement tend to be more effective. They also often incorporate anti-fraud measures to ensure the authenticity of the referrals.

The effectiveness of associations of well-structured tiered referral programs in increasing referrals and engagement is well-supported in various business contexts.

3. New Frontiers on Social Media

Evolving Strategies for Enhancing Membership Engagement and Growth in 2024_ woman showing a sign into a camera as on social media

Social media has become an essential tool for associations to connect with their current and potential members. To reach a wider audience, it’s important for associations to embrace the latest trends, such as short-form videos. Interactive features like polls, Q&A sessions, and live streaming can help to create a sense of community and engagement.

It is worth noting that the use of Instagram Reels for educational and promotional purposes by various organisations, including associations, is a growing trend. Instagram Reels offer a dynamic way to engage with audiences and have been shown to increase engagement and reach. Many organisations have successfully used social media platforms like Instagram to boost their visibility, engage with new audiences, and increase inquiries or participation in their programs.

READ MORE: The importance of developing a community and the potential benefits it can bring: From three to three-hundred and sixty-five days of engagement

4. Sharing Industry Research

One of the main elements that members want from associations is access to the latest industry research.

Create a simple way for them to access this research, for example, by:

  • Sending a newsletter with weekly updates
  • Creating a section on your website with the latest research
  • Creating an RSS feed that members can use to access the latest data

Sharing industry research goes beyond publishing whitepapers and reports. Podcasts, webinars, and interactive online workshops make this information more accessible and engaging.

5. Networking Events Reimagined

Evolving Strategies for Enhancing Membership Engagement and Growth in 2024_group of people networking

Networking is crucial for association members. It can help them advance their careers, explore new research, and be inspired by leaders in the field.

Associations can improve membership acquisition and retention by providing regular networking opportunities throughout the year (not just at your annual conference).

You can host networking events for your members online or in person, or, for a more straightforward approach, associations can include a meet-and-greet at the start of any meeting, even when the main objective is education.

Hybrid events, which combine in-person and virtual experiences, are becoming the norm. They offer the flexibility and reach of virtual events while retaining the personal touch of in-person interactions.

Creative networking events like virtual coffee meetups or themed in-person gatherings can provide unique experiences.

6. Personalised Communication

In an era of information overload, personalised communication is essential to retaining members. Tailoring communication based on individual member preferences, interests, and behaviour ensures that members receive relevant and engaging content.

7. Understanding Member Journeys

Evolving Strategies for Enhancing Membership Engagement and Growth in 2024_wooden dices symbolising a community

Mapping the member journey – from initial awareness to long-term loyalty – is essential for understanding and enhancing the member experience. This involves identifying key touchpoints and ensuring each interaction adds value to the member’s experience.

Conclusion

As we continue to navigate through 2024 and beyond, it’s clear that associations must be adaptable and innovative in their approaches to membership management. By embracing new technologies, personalising interactions, and constantly seeking to understand and meet member needs, associations can grow their membership and foster a strong, engaged, and loyal community.

Altering any part of your organisation can be a daunting and resource-draining process. However, these small changes can enormously impact your total membership fees and profit – enabling you to make room for innovation and personalisation that requires more effort.

At Congrex, we are passionate about delivering exceptional member experiences to retain and grow your association memberships.

Contact our team to explore the possibilities for your association to improve membership acquisition and retention.

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