As with all customers, members of organizations and associations expect personalized content that is relevant to them, at the right time.
The first step is to work within a membership model structure, with a strategy set out first and foremost of your membership objectives (i.e. member and/or revenue growth): addressing both member recruitment and retention. The tactics, content and channels to achieve those goals will stem from your plan in order to engage your membership, future and present.
Both retention and acquisition strategies are key to growth.

“Spend on loyalty and retention marketing will increase by 30% as CMOs assert control over the full customer lifecycle.”


“45% of associations show improvements in their new member input over the past year… we see that new member recruitment serves as the success driver for membership increases.”

Marketing General Incorporated

But what engagement are we talking about? It’s always about adding value to members; be it understanding and reinforcing your value proposition, being aware of member benefits or campaigns they can take advantage of plus keeping updated with your organization and its members that they can network with.
The primary objective of member engagement is to deepen your relationship with members, gain a better understanding on both sides and provide optimal customer experiences.

Membership engagement channels and marketing automation

Multi-channel or rather omni-channel marketing and communication is a standard expectation of customers today, and members are no different. Whilst COVID-19 has accelerated digital channels such as mobile apps, webinars and social media; the more mature methods such as events and email marketing are still in the mix. This is key: try and test all channels and keep them in the mix to perfect and personalize your engagement strategy.

According to the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report from Marketing General Incorporated “79% of associations use marketing automation to send personalized emails and content”. Yet within the same research, only “30% of associations indicate that they use their marketing automation system effectively”

So, whilst email marketing is a clear favourite, member organizations are aware there is a challenge in using this channel wisely. That’s why a key part of Prodware’s Membership solution integrates with the leading Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing app. Membership organizations can more easily run targeted, multi-channel marketing campaigns with marketing automation capabilities that include email marketing, web landing pages, events, SMS integration and other custom channels.
I wanted to share a few short demo videos that illustrate how easy and effective member engagement can be, first let’s look at email.
Email marketing and automation for communications remains a popular choice for member organizations as we have seen. This overview video about email marketing in Dynamics 365 Marketing shows how easy it is to prepare, design and send personalized emails as part of the member journey.
The second channel focus is events. Take a look at these videos about events marketing and management in Dynamics 365, it’s an important part of building and maintaining any member community and the Microsoft Teams addition in the mix really helps with the new virtual event challenge, plus of course nurturing the audience before and after with customer journeys.
By improving what you already do, you will stand a better chance at improving engagement with your members and overcome that scary 30% statistic we saw earlier.

Let’s talk customer journeys for membership engagement

In the videos I shared, you already saw how customer journeys work, based on triggers and segments a path is created serving up the right content, at the right time and in the most relevant channel. That’s the basis of marketing automation.
But what about going further?

By stepping back and mapping your member journeys, analysing how a member interacts with you, how they feel and how they behave; this will deepen your understanding of their customer experience.


Because then you can improve that experience, for existing members who are on the journey but also to attract new members in the right way.

A low level (50%) of companies practice attribution reporting (i.e. the what, how and when of touchpoints with a brand – the customer journey).
Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual story of your members’ interactions with you. This exercise helps you step into your members’ shoes and see your organization from their perspective.
You may have seen sticky notes on walls that are typical outcomes of journey mapping sessions, but this practice has a risk. What happens to the sticky notes and how is that information put into daily communications and visa versa? Now you can embed journey mapping and personas into daily member practices by integrating digital maps into your CRM. The journeys can be adjusted automatically depending on member behavior and suggestions made as to next best steps for that member, depending on their persona and sentiment.

Everything I have talked about today is possible with the Membership solution I am proud to have been part of developing, it is designed to allow you to start simple and build up functionalities when you need them.

Join my colleague Jeroen Paters in the next Membership article, where he will be talking about another piece of the membership engagement puzzle – Customer Service for members.

Article initially published on LinkedIn