How to Make Your Members Feel Like They Belong

by Marisa Cogan

We are always connected. Phone. Tablet. Desktop. No matter where we go, someone can reach out and touch us. We are bombarded throughout the day by digital marketing mGardenclub_imageessages, so much so, that a lot of this communication clutter gets ignored, especially emails. So when it comes to making your new members feel welcomed into your association, do you think they will get a warm and fuzzy feeling when you send them your “welcome to the group” email? Probably not. More than likely, they will buzz through it and forget about it an hour later….or maybe they won’t read it at all because it got lost in the shuffle. Therein lies the problem. If members are not engaged during your initial contact with them, how engaged do you think they will be months down the road? And before you know it, it is time for renewal and the member hasn’t participated at all….and won’t even consider sticking around.

So how do you make your members feel like they belong and get them to engage right off the bat? Well, for starters, mail them a member welcome kit. A printed membership kit not only delivers all the information that your new member needs, but it also communicates that you are investing in them and want them to be a part of something awesome. And unlike an email, your physical membership kit won’t get ignored in the mailbox. Physical mail is going through somewhat of a renaissance right now and people, especially millennials, prefer it over email.

A new member kit will:

  • Make your new member feel like they belong
  • Provide the new member with everything they need to know about your association
  • Help them to begin to engage with the association and other members
  • Provide them with a membership card that will remind them of their association all year long and can be used to access member benefits both directly and through third-party partners
  • Work like a marketing piece, as you can include just about anything you want that will promote membership and participation

So now that you know that a membership kit is a really great idea, what can you include?

Welcome letter. This letter should hit on the topics that are most important to your association. Maybe you want to stress what makes the association unique and why it is worth joining (yes, they just joined, but renewal is less than 12 months away!), or maybe you want to stress why their participation is so important in moving the association forward. Invite them to join committees, volunteer or join your online community. Again, this is your letter, your association…you know what is most important here.

Membership card. A high-quality plastic card will not only represent your association’s brand well, it will function as a “companion card” to your online communication with your members. This durable card will serve as a continual membership reminder, and allow easy access to member benefits.

List of Contacts. Include a complete list of contacts so that the new member can reach out to anyone at any time.

Calendar of Events. You don’t want your members missing out on the biggest events of the year. Annual conferences, lunch and learns, quarterly meetings….any events that members can attend (and participate in!)

Newsletter(s). You may want to include your current (or past) newsletter(s) to familiarize the new member with your association’s hot topics.

Brochures/Inserts. Maybe you have a member guide or a brochure that outlines member benefits that you’d like to include. You may have this online, but it doesn’t hurt to remind them why they joined in the first place!

Tchotchke/Promotional Item. Some associations like to include some swag (stuff we all get) that the member can keep on their desk or use every day. A nice reminder of their membership.

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member card and promotional card

A promotional card. Include a second “membership card” on your welcome letter that is actually a referral card. When the member gives the card to a friend and then that friend joins, they both get a perk.

A new membership kit helps to start the conversation. It helps you communicate your association’s goals, mission and values. And it is the first touch that your member will receive, so it should be a valuable, high-quality piece that properly represents your association’s brand.

A new membership kit doesn’t have to be a “one and done” deal. You can break it up and schedule a series of mailings to touch your members periodically…and remind them of all of the great perks they receive as part of their membership. You’ll want to expand that communication online as well. Engaging your members on a regular basis, whether that’s through an online social platform or a personalized email, all of these “touches” will help you develop a strong relationship with your members and keep them engaged long after they join.

CPS Cards provides a one-stop solution for membership cards and kits. From one card to millions, we can work with any size program and customize a complete solution for you. Daily, weekly and monthly mailing programs available. New to membership mailings? We can help guide you through the entire process. For more information, contact us at sales@cpscards.com or call us at 1.888.817.8121.

 

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