When thinking about how to make your members come back for more interactions with your association – whether that’s for the events, services or products – you’ll want to focus less on the fundamentals of growing your association and instead on nurturing relationships.
With a step-by-step process that’s easy to follow, you’ll learn how to implement simple services that will help you not only to retain your members but also attract new ones.
Step #1: Hire A 24-Hour Support Team
Customer support can be an incredible drain on time and resources. It’s also incredibly important to be sure your customers get their questions answered, help with billing, and request for a future project followed up on as quickly as possible.
Of course, you can’t always answer the phone or email 24/7. With a virtual assistant, you can easily outsource this aspect of your association. Virtual assistants often manage the administrative aspects and many are especially experienced in managing incoming emails and phone calls, even from around the world.
Some of the tasks that virtual assistants can assist with to boost your productivity while ensuring your customers receive the best support possible include answering phone calls, emails, billing questions, and managing social media.
Step #2: Get A Memorable Business Card
In today’s digital era, you probably carry your smartphone with you wherever you go – especially to networking events and conferences. While it’s undoubtedly rude to use one while discussing a keynote over lunch with industry colleagues, it’s easy to exchange information digitally – and just as easy to forget that person by the time you get to the airport to fly home.
It’s still smart to use a phone to snap pictures of decks instead of frantically jotting down notes, exchanging info with a phone won’t help to achieve your goals. A well-designed business card – and lots of them – will help others in their industry remember who you are when you pass them out over a networking happy hour. Instead of being forgotten when their flight is delayed on the way home, they’ll be more likely to flip through a small stack of business cards and remember to send a follow-up email.
o To stand out best, consider including a professional headshot on your card, or use a style of paper or cut rarely used, such as a plastic card or a square cut.
o Only place contact information you want people to actually use on the card. If you really don’t want a future professional contact calling you on your personal cell – but your office doesn’t have a landline – it’s okay to only use your email address on the card.
o Don’t overthink your card. It can be easy to get carried away with the design and print more than you will ever need. A memorable card doesn’t need to be expensive.
Step #3: Keep Communication Going In Email
It’s estimated that approximately 120 billion emails are sent per hour, and recent research from Forrester revealed that emails are more effective at converting leads into a new or repeat customer than social media.
When thinking about using email, it can be overwhelming to think about manually sending an email to each and every person you’ve ever done business with. This is why it’s helpful to hire someone who knows how to manage an email campaign, design a great template and maybe even knows how to write killer copy for not just the email, but the subject line too – this way, people will definitely open your email and be more likely to give you a call to know more.
o No two email campaigns are created equal. To find what works best for your existing customers, try to a/b test different templates, subject lines, and the time and day you send your newsletter.
o Never manually add someone to a mailing list. Adding someone to a mailing list without their permission is against the law in the U.S. prohibited by the CAN-SPAM Act. If you violate this rule, your service provider can shut down your account without notice.
Step #4: Track And Respond To Social Media Channels
The use of social media is at an all-time high, and new channels like Snapchat and Instagram are quickly being leveraged by brands to engage with their target demographics. On top of those channels, the visual boards like Pinterest, pages on Facebook and chatter on Twitter can all be downright overwhelming to keep up with on a personal level, let alone professionally. Your customers are still there however, and they’re likely talking about you. But how do you know?
If you don’t have the time to find out – and especially respond – a social media manager can be essential to help engage with your audience.
Additionally, a social media manager is often strong at developing a strategy to better leverage social media; while you may think that you are using it well, you may not be using it to your best advantage. A social media manager can give expert insight as to how you should use social media to retain customers in the best way possible.
o Responding to negative comments is just as important as responding to positive ones. It makes readers know you’re there for them even if something goes wrong.
o Never be afraid to block inappropriate users. They can easily create unmanageable conversations.
o Just like newsletters, social media is a great way to keep in touch with your current members and remind them that you always have new ways you can help.
Step #5: Do the Market Research
With a market research report, you’ll be able to find out what your competitors are doing and what your target demographic actually needs. This research often includes phone calls to other similar businesses with specific questions about their products, customers, price points and even company information. Armed with this data, you can design services, packages and products that are competitive and unique.
o Avoid using leading questions that could lead to biased results and leave a place for open-ended answers too.
o Doing market research often (such as every month) is a great way to keep track of what your customers need help with on a rolling basis.
o Using a third party is a great way to maintain an impartial approach to market research, which is critical to getting accurate answers.