Not all members are equal.
Well, they are – but the reality is that one particular group of members is going to require more of your attention, more of your resources, and more of your effort to retain. Not only that – if you don’t retain these people, you’re going to work tirelessly just to keep your association afloat. Can you guess who we’re talking about?
A half-decent marketing plan can get newbies through the door. A concerted and collaborative effort, however, is needed in order to get through to your most vital group – the first year members.
Here are 3 reasons why your first year members are the most important to engage:
- They’re the hardest to impress
Your new acquisition thinks you’re “the bee’s knees”. Your long time member knows what to expect from you and trusts you. But for the first year member, the honeymoon period ends after a few months as that person begins to see what he or she is getting from your organization.
Before you know it you’re just 3 months away from your member’s renewal date without knowing whether or not that individual will renew his or her membership. How can you know?
Know them. Invest in that relationship.
Issue surveys to your first year members. Find out what they like and what they want, and make adjustments as needed. Check in with them regularly. Learn what will put your association in the best position to retain them.
- Once you have them, you can keep them
Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to leave a member alone and expect that person to sign up year after year.
After a member renews his or her membership for the first time, however, your job gets a little easier. You have earned that individual’s support for another year – so keep doing what you’re doing. That member is likely happy with the value he or she is receiving in exchange for the annual dues.
Check in with your second year member (yay!) now and then, and it should be relatively smooth sailing from there.
- They set your trends
Your first year members are likely to be your largest group of association members. Unless you acquire less people each year, this is usually the case.
Since your first year members represent the one of the largest subgroups of your membership, take their feedback seriously. Use their input to help navigate where your organization is headed.
First year members join with a fresh perspective and an open mind. They may have envisioned something different prior to signing up and it’s important to manage your association relative to their expectations.
Always be building towards your first years members’ “ideal” organization.