To be a remarkable association*1 you need to be member-centric i.e. put the members at the heart of what you do. So it’s really valuable if you can step into the shoes of a member and see things from their perspective.
To help associations better understand members, I suggest two techniques:
- Developing typical member profiles and
- Mapping out the different member journeys – NB: MembershipMappingTM*2 – is a generic tool that associations can use for mapping any micro or macro journey
Below I will highlight the three overriding journeys all members are on. In my next blog I will cover more on developing member profiles.
Here are the three big ‘macro’ member journeys:
The first journey is the journey into membership.
What are the typical journeys? How do they initially find out about you? What conversations do they have, what are they asking for help or advise on? Who do they talk to? At what point do they contact you? What is the trigger or catalyst? In this journey, which can you most impact on to help them understand if membership is right for them?
The second is the journey through membership.
There are many different journeys through membership. The journey that is best understood by Professional Institutes is the pathway around qualifications or career development. But what other journeys are members on? What is the pathway I need to follow to grow my business, advance my hobby or be better supported as I try to cope with a new challenge, etc.? Have you mapped these out to guide members?
In this part, something interesting and important starts to happen. As they meet other members they start to feel like they ‘belong’ to a community. This emotional attachment is extremely important. If we can successfully facilitate the connection with other members, and with your brand, in a way that is meaningful, your members will discover real value.
The final journey, which you might have guessed by now, is the journey after membership.
This is the one that is most neglected. Often, after the final renewal demand is sent, communications cease. I just wonder how this lapsed member feels at this point? What if they have been a member for several years, but things have changed and membership is no longer relevant. I wonder what they would say to someone about you after they have left.
If we acknowledge that for some members, leaving is a perfectly natural and logical step. So a conversation is needed. We need to thank them for all the years that they supported the association and reminded they will be welcome back at any time if circumstances change. We need to find out why they are moving on. If you have upset them, it is better that you know what happened. You might need to change things.
We also need to find out if they would recommend membership to a colleague. The good news is that many past members are still happy to recommend you. For this group, you need to stay in contact with them, and keep them periodically updated with what’s new. So please don’t let them slip away because they can help you recruit new members.
Discussion questions and exercise:
- How would you rate your understanding of each of these three journeys from the member’s point of view? Are there any knowledge gaps?
- Put up big sheet of paper on your office wall. Invite everyone, both staff and members, to help map out these journeys. Ask them to contribute what they see or think happens. http://www.suefroggatt.com/the-three-member-journeys/ http://www.suefroggatt.com/the-three-member-journeys/You will end up with an extremely valuable picture which will help you to plan your next recruitment strategy. (NB: You may need to map out different scenarios for different types of members.)
- Where are the most ‘memorable moments of membership’ on these journeys? What can you do to encourage more members to experience the positive moments?
*1 Seven Measures of Success, ASAE publication