You’ve done the hard work of signing someone up to membership. After months, or years, leading them from awareness to conversion they’ve pressed the final button and become a member. So, what next?

Time for a sit down and a slice of cake? Maybe, but it’s also one of the most important points in the member journey and the actions that you take now can pay dividends further down the line.

Firstly, the moment that an individual signs up is also the moment of maximum intent, the member has taken the decision to join and wants to get the most out of membership. So take this opportunity to pass them through a preference centre or sign them up to email newsletters. Use the member’s positive mindset to gather the data that will give them a better experience.

Think about your welcome emails. There are some business as usual communications that you need to send about payment and membership details but remember these don’t need to be clinical, a warm and engaging welcome email can make all the difference when it comes to building strong connections with your members. After all, the initial impression you create through your welcome email sets the tone for the entire member experience.

But despite this, our recent Re:member research revealed that 70% of membership organisations do not have an adequate onboarding or ‘welcome’ series. Most welcome series were limited to one of two emails in the first month for 35% of professional membership bodies and 46% of consumer organisations. 

However if we tailor a welcome series to the whole of their first year we can give the member every opportunity to get the most out of their membership so that when they reach the end of their first year renewal becomes automatic. 

Step one: Welcome

As our Re:member findings demonstrated, all too often organisations will send a welcome email and then drop new members into their standard membership communication programme, assuming they’ve told the new members everything they need to know. However, this approach misses a huge opportunity to build a deep connection between the member and the organisation, increase their involvement, and boost renewal rates.  

Think about creating a bespoke 6-12 month content programme that introduces and promotes all aspects of your organisation, gradually building the new member’s understanding of the organisation and its offerings. The point at which someone joins a membership organisation is their moment of ‘maximum intent’ – they’ve made a positive decision to connect with you. So, capitalise on this moment by showing them the many ways they can benefit from their membership.

One effective way to structure your content programme is to start with the basics in the first few emails, and then gradually introduce more specialised topics over time. For example, in the first email, you might welcome your new member by providing an overview of the organisation’s mission and values. 

Step two: Inspiration

Next, you want to offer some inspiration for your new members. How can they get the most out of their new membership?

After your initial welcome email, you can start introducing further inspiration by highlighting the key services and benefits of membership. Tell them all about the perks. Remind them why they signed up. Encourage them to take action and get involved.

Remember while you might understand all of the benefits of membership the new member will only be aware of a small part of the offer.

Step three: Segmented content

By this point, your member is more established in your organisation. Likewise, you’ve probably collected more data from them and so therefore can offer more targeted and segmented content.

By this point, you might want to introduce special interest groups or committees that the member can join. Or, you could signpost them to more content of interest on your website. Now’s the time to get personal and to show your new member that you understand them.

Step four: Campaign content

As your member becomes more deeply ingrained in your organisation, subsequent emails can focus on different areas of the organisation. Some ideas include encouraging them to sign up to your events, highlighting available e-learning opportunities, or pushing them towards advocacy efforts.

Step five: Year one renewals

As your new member approaches the end of the first year of membership, it’s time to start engaging with their renewal journey. Remind them of their membership benefits once again, and demonstrate how membership renewal will provide further perks. If your data allows, tell them about the services that they’ve used, remind them of the benefits that they’ve enjoyed.

Step six: General mix 

Congratulations, you now have an established member and are free to add them into your general newsletter mix. But don’t rest too comfortably on your laurels – it’s important to keep your content interesting and engaging, and to encourage interaction and feedback from your members throughout the year.

Final thoughts

By gradually introducing new members to the many areas of an organisation, you can create a deep connection between the member and the organisation. 

In addition to the content programme, it’s also important to regularly communicate with new members through other channels, such as social media, webinars, or in-person events. By building a comprehensive engagement strategy, you can create a strong relationship with new members and increase their loyalty and commitment to your organisation.

Remember, the welcome email is the gateway to establishing a loyal customer base. So, be sure to craft welcome emails that set the stage for a remarkable member experience.

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