new member join form tips and best practices

To most, filling out forms on websites is a pretty common occurrence. So common, in fact, that you almost feel like you’re on autopilot when filling one out these days!

But, you and I both know that form setup and maintenance takes a lot more work behind the scenes. And your new member join form, in particular, is one that needs to be just right. It  should be appealing to potential new members, while still capturing all of the information that you need to give them the best experience possible.

No matter which one of our membership management software solutions you use, we recommend approaching your join form with these tips in mind:

#1: Put your organization’s goals at the center

Did you know your new member join form can be one of your organization’s greatest tools for accomplishing its goals? Data-driven decisions help you work smarter and provide more value to members, so by asking for specific information when a member joins, you’ll:

  • Gather data that’s consistent across all members
  • Have a clear view of your membership’s needs, wants, and preferences
  • Be able to give members the experience they want

Think about the data you would need in order to accomplish your goals, and whether or not your current join form asks for that data. If it doesn’t, perhaps it’s time to consider some changes.

#2: View your form from your prospective members’ eyes

Once a prospective member has reached your join form, you don’t want to give them any reason to leave the page – and that includes the way the form looks at a glance. If it’s clunky with text and images, includes a bunch of links and external distractions, or is simply way too long, you’re going to lose their attention AND their membership.

This is where you have to be thoughtful about tip #1 – asking for all of the data you need up front. Yes, you want to get what you need…but you don’t want to scare anyone away, either. Consider making your most important fields required and leaving the “nice-to-haves” optional, or sending a follow-up email as soon as they join (which you should be doing anyway!) with a survey that’ll collect the less important data.

#3: Test the entire join process

You should always test not only your join form, but the entire join process to make sure it’ll all go according to your plan. That means filling out the form, checking that your welcome email was triggered, making sure the data from the form dispersed to the right places, etc. Once you’re confident everything is set up correctly, it’ll be a load off your mind to activate the form and let the process run as it should!

Now, you’ll want to be relatively vigorous in your testing and get multiple people to try it out. Start with yourself since you’ll know what you’re looking for, but then ask a colleague who’s familiar with the process but not as close to it as you are. And then, solicit a friend or family member with NO context at all to see what they notice.

At MemberClicks, we’re huge nerds for data – so we take the success of your join form very seriously. Which is why we’ve made some form-related updates in both the Atlas and Oasis solutions lately!

Oasis users: Pulling your hair out trying to keep track of all your form submissions? Check out the new Forms Reporting Dashboard!

Atlas users: Configure and collect the data YOU need when a member joins with the new Join Form – here’s how to set yours up!