Communication is one of the key elements in running any successful relationship, whether it be personal, professional, or otherwise. If you are seeking to engage, attract, or retain members, then you’ll note how communication can make or break your mission. Although communicating via the Internet may come across as awkward at first, especially since so much communication surrounding professional associations takes place in person, many organizations and associations have found great success using this medium, and with a little guidance, yours can too. Below are four tips for communicating with members or potential members via the web in order to attract and retain new blood:
1. Offer a Forum
A forum or message board is the perfect tool to not only provide users with communication tools within your association, but it also gives users a chance to see what others think. This, in turn, can allow your organization the ability to see comments and messages from members, potential members, and non-members regarding what they think about what you have to offer. Using this feedback, you can then tailor your efforts to better meet expectations and desires. You will also have the chance to monitor feedback, which is especially helpful in eliminating trolls who seek to disrupt intelligent and fair debate and conversation.
2. Offer Social Media
In conjunction with a forum or message board, you can also engage members and potential members on social media by providing relevant content that will show you exactly how many people you are reaching, how many people have liked a post, how many people have shared a post, and so on. With this information, your association or organization can then tailor its message to what social media followers have an interest in.
3. Respond to Feedback
When you have a concern about a business, a relationship, or your membership in a group, you not only like to have the chance to provide feedback … you require it. As such, always give your members or potential members a chance to provide feedback. You could use a forum or social media, as mentioned above, but you could also give people a chance to respond via email or contact form. These elements (email and contact form links) need to be prominently displayed or linked on your homepage and other pages on your website, as well as at the bottom of the newsletters you send out.
4. Offer a Newsletter
Speaking of newsletters … communication is a two-way street, meaning your organization or association needs to be able to offer its voice as well. Provide potential members and current members with a newsletter option so that they can see exactly what you’re up to, and at the end of each newsletter, provide a space where readers can respond directly to your organization. This will work to encourage dialogue, and your organization or association can then parlay this into new members or retained members.