What Do Members Expect from Their Experience in 2021?

With the shift to an online world in the past year, your members expect an engaging and interactive experience more than ever. By offering your constituents an intuitive online interface, interactive virtual events, and a collaborative online community your membership becomes more valuable and enticing. 

 

Online Interface

Members expect an intuitive online experience. The member portal is the gateway to the rest of their experience. It’s the place they go to join your association, renew their membership, register for events, and so much more. Shouldn’t a place where members spend so much time cater to their busy lifestyle and understand what they need? 

With an intuitive online interface, members are able to self-serve for tasks such as signing up for an event, renewing their membership, or accessing a document. They no longer have to mail in any documents or pick up the phone to call and ask questions. When members are able to own their experience and self-serve for tasks in the member portal, it makes their experience easier – and yours. An intuitive member interface allows your staff to focus on bigger initiatives that create value. 

Your members also expect a cohesive experience. With a member portal that you’re able to configure to meet your brand standards and needs, you increase the member experience further. When your member portal mirrors the branding of your association, members know that they are in the right place – giving them a cohesive experience all the way from your website to your member portal and allowing them to accomplish things easily and quickly.  

At the end of the day, members join your association for the resources you provide for them to be successful in their profession but those resources quickly turn into headaches if your members can’t easily access or find them. With an intuitive member interface, you’re able to house your resources and downloadable content all in one place and your members can quickly access them on their own. Think of it like knowledge at their fingertips, accessible from anywhere, at any time.  

Your members also expect downloadable content and resources. When you provide them with resources that they can come back to any time, they’re able to learn and get more out of their membership on their own time. Consider what type of resources make sense for your association: codes of ethics, best practices, online toolkits, or on-demand webinars. Through an intuitive online portal, you’re able to see what resources members are interacting with the most and tailor your future offerings to reflect their engagement. 

The benefit? Members have instant access to their benefits and can easily see the value that membership provides. An intuitive online interface makes it easier for them to engage with your association and increases the likelihood that they’ll renew when the time comes. 

 

Events

Engaging events are a key part of the membership experience. As the world moves online, hybrid or fully virtual events seem to be the future. How can you ensure that your virtual events are as engaging and rewarding as in-person ones? 

If possible, consider moving the networking and fun parts of an event to an online format. Offer virtual coffee hours, trivia nights, or networking break-out rooms so your members can engage with each other and have a break from the information sessions and guest speakers. By providing your attendees with fun sessions during an online event, you’re improving their experience and giving them more opportunities to network and make connections in a casual way. 

It takes the right tools to make a virtual event come to life. Consider what software you want to use to provide a seamless experience to your attendees. From an AMS to video conferencing software, there are a lot of tools out there to help you out, all the way from ideation to registration and beyond. 

The benefit? Accessibility. By offering your members the opportunity to attend an event virtually, you’re making their experience more accessible. Members from all over the world are able to attend, without worrying about the cost of travel or hotels. Virtual events can further your association’s reach because more people are able to attend and get involved. If the main benefit of your association is a huge yearly event, offering a hybrid or fully virtual option can entice more people to join your association. 

 

Online Community 

Most people join an association to connect with like-minded individuals within their industry or interest group. By offering an online community like a member forum, members have a place to collaborate and have discussions with industry experts and other professionals in their community. Members are able to engage based on their demographic, membership type, committee involvement, interest group, or even event attendance. When you break up the community into boards based on filters, members get a more tailored experience. 

An online member forum grows a community based on networking and collaboration. 

Your members aren’t the only ones who benefit from an online community board. By providing your members with a place to get advice or talk about your industry, you’re able to promote engagement in other areas as well. Through the member boards, you are able to see what members are talking about the most and create valuable resources through their ideas. Take the guesswork out of what your members are interested in and hear from them firsthand. You’re also able to track unengaged members and reach out, inviting them to be more involved in the association and member forum. 

The benefit? Your members are able to engage with each other, network, and talk to like-minded people without ever having to be in the same room. Members can connect with each other from all over the world or even just from the comfort of their couch. At the end of the day, everyone in the association has an interest in the same objectives, so giving them a place to talk creates more value for you and them.

 

As the world evolves, so should your member experience. When you create value for your members, they’ll want to keep coming back to engage and renew. If you’re able to create value while simultaneously allowing your members to self-serve and get involved from anywhere, then that’s the icing on the cake. 

 

Download the eBook: Meeting Member Expectations in a Virtual World

 

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