Today’s guest blog poster is Kinsey Mahan, MemberClicks Maximization Specialist and ASAE 2013 attendee. 

ASAE 2013 was my first big trade show, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one! I really enjoyed seeing Atlanta in a whole new light, and meeting lots of existing clients (along with some new ones) at the multitude of events held downtown.

Today I’ll be recapping one of the sessions I attended during the conference, “Are You Rewarding Loyal Members,” presented by our newest partner, Affinity Center International.

Rewarding loyal members

I chose this session on member loyalty because in my mind, it goes beyond the association world and into small staff, corporate, and out-of-work environments. At our core, we all want to be rewarded and recognized, and some of the concepts ACI shared really hit home for me. Loyalty programs are an effective way to engage with your members and to infuse positivity into your relationships, which will keep participation up and strengthen the organization long term.

First, take a look at your members. Sitting down with your organization’s leadership team to spell out what a loyal member looks and acts like is the first step in determining how to reward them. Ask yourself questions like “What does a loyal member of our association do,” and profile that member thoroughly.

Before you decide what type of rewards program to implement, step back to ask yourself what your organization’s members want and need so that the reward you land on will be a motivator for them. It’s best during this phase to start with the end goal; what the association wants to do. For example, helping members succeed in their business and personal lives could be a goal of you association, so offer rewards to drive towards that end goal.

At this point, you’ve probably come up with a list of behaviors or actions that you want to reward your members for. Things like attending bi-annual meetings, paying their dues on time, and volunteering in the community are great starting points. With the list comprehensively detailed, choose the most desired behaviors of that ‘perfect’ member. Those are the ones you’ll reward members for.

Now comes the fun part – choosing the rewards! A few things to remember: rewards should be meaningful, memorable, and easy to achieve. With those 3 key points in mind, explore your options and make the decision.

Finally, now that you’ve done your research and chosen your rewards, you have to effectively communicate the rewards’ value to your members. Email has proved to be a great method for rewards-type communications, and emails related to rewards programs can have a 40% higher open rate! Mailings, web banner ads, and social media are successful methods, too – you know your members best, so employ the communication tools you’ve found to be most successful.

Your members will appreciate the reward and acknowledgment, and you’ll enjoy the results!