Automated Member Onboarding
For most associations, the primary goal of onboarding new members is to cement the new relationship, with the initial objectives being member engagement and exploration of benefits.
How, when, and what is communicated will do much to determine the extent to which new customers take advantage of and appreciate the wide range of potential benefits – directly impacting their renewal decision.
“While the decision to join is often made because of a single point of value entry (attending the conference, taking a class, a certification, etc), the decision to renew is usually based on the value the member finds in belonging in that first year.
A robust, vibrant welcome stream is one of the strongest investments an organization can make in keeping its members.”
Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, Senior Director of Membership and Professional Development
The Society for Neuroscience
The key to effective onboarding is personalization – new member communications that have been tailored to each recipient’s preferences and interests will resonate much more directly and will be more effective in guiding new members to the benefits areas that will help them decide to renew.
According to Marketing General’s 2014 Membership Marketing Benchmark Report, the top two responses to the question “Why Members Join” were:
- Networking with others in the field
- Access to specialized and/or current information
Given that, it would follow that onboarding campaigns should help new members to do both of these things. “Networking with others” is a powerful form of engagement and is especially beneficial to new members – creating personal contacts will do much to bind new members to the association. “Access to specialized and/or current information” mirrors the “exploration” point raised above – each new member will have their own pattern of interests, and helping them to find all the possible sources of such information within your association is healthy on all levels.
What are the best ways of doing all of this? Referencing MGI’s 2014 Benchmark Report once again, email is the leading vehicle for new member onboarding/welcome communications, occupying both the #1 and #8 positions and supporting 16 of the 20 methods listed.
It sounds, then, as if associations would benefit greatly from assistance in harnessing the power of email to send a series of onboarding messages that were tailored, both in terms of content and timing, to be as relevant and appealing as possible to each individual recipient.
Marketing Automation was purpose-built to do this. EXACTLY this.
Real Magnet’s Marketing Automation for Association solution has pre-built “Welcome” campaigns that will automatically send the right onboarding message to the right new member at the right time. It can read the appropriate field in your membership database and use that information to launch a campaign that includes whatever messages you’ve chosen and that sends each individual message at precisely the intervals you’ve selected – all without requiring any involvement of staff.
This automated campaign provides valet-level service to each new member and frees staff to focus on other projects.
With such compelling benefits, one might ask why all associations aren’t already using Marketing Automation. The answer is ease of use. While Marketing Automation has existed as a technology category for over a decade, systems available thus far have been extraordinarily complex and difficult to use. Real Magnet undertook to address this by developing from the ground up a system that was so easy to use that a first-time user could create and launch campaigns without needing training or assistance. One of the innovations we employed to achieve this was use of a templated approach – to create a Welcome campaign for new member onboarding, simply select “Welcome” from the drop-down menu shown below, and you’ll be guided through the setup process with a short series of simple questions.
- How many messages would you like to send?
- At what intervals should each message be sent?
- Which messages would you like to send?
- Who should receive these messages?
That’s it! Simple.
You’ll answer just by making choices with drop-down menus (how many messages and what are the send intervals) and by browsing (much like you’d choose a Word document to open) – you’ll browse to select the messages to send and then browse to select the campaign members from your member database. Done! Every new member will receive this campaign with exactly the sequence and timing you’ve chosen without anyone on staff having to remember to run the new member report, set up the email send, and then launch it. Marketing Automation lets you set it and forget it!
For details about how we’ve simplified Marketing Automation for Associations, please read Part I of the Real Magnet Solution Series: “Have We Automated Marketing Automation?”, watch this brief (less than 3 minutes) video, or contact us to see it for yourself!