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Why you need a communication plan

For relationships to flourish, you must communicate with your members. Investing time and effort in nurturing members will make them feel more connected and informed.

Keeping your members or customers engaged and focused in a world filled with distractions may feel like a challenge. But it doesn’t need to be. By having a clear communication plan, you are able to gain loyal members and customers.

In this article, we cover the basics of identifying your members’ preferred communication channels, and when you should get in touch with them. It also includes a free template for an actionable communication plan.

How to identify when and what you need to communicate

Before we dive into how to develop, create, and maintain a communication plan, you need to first identify what you need to communicate to your members.

In our previous article, how to improve your member journey, we explored the questions members may ask at each stage. By identifying these questions, you can see when and how to reach out to your members.

Engagement is a constant need throughout the member lifecycle. Members will naturally progress through the following five stages:

  • Initial consideration
  • Onboarding
  • Engagement
  • Help
  • Renewal

During each of these stages, the member will have particular questions such as:

  • How long does onboarding take?
  • What benefits do you provide?
  • What resources can you offer?

Once you identify the questions your members are asking and at what stage of the member lifecycle they are asking them, you can start putting together a communication plan.

What should a communication plan include?

To create an efficient communication plan, you need to look at the following five key areas. By taking the time to identify each, you’ll be able to create a comprehensive plan that will provide the most benefit.

The five key aspects of the communication plan are:

  • Communication goals – for example, promote an upcoming camp, give employees a company update, inform members about a new class/service, or notify a parent about their child reaching a new skill level
  • Communication methods – these refer to how you will communicate. They will likely be social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc), email, WhatsApp, and phone
  • Audience – this will vary depending on your club or organisation but will tend to be parents/carers, members/customers, staff, and stakeholders
  • Frequency – this will also vary depending on your club or organisation. The lifecycle stage of the member will have an impact as well. When they first become a member or customer, they are likely going to need more frequent communication to help them onboard successfully and answer any questions they may have. Whereas, company news updates might only need to be sent at the end of every month to employees or your team
  • Owner – this is the person responsible for creating and managing that communication

If you have an event coming up, you may wish to have a specific communication plan created. Break down the goals and ensure you aren’t missing anything.

How can you discover which communication methods your members prefer?

When choosing which communication method to use, it’s important to use your members’ preferred channels and methods. Otherwise, you’ll be putting in all that effort for the communication not to get where it needs to be.

You can identify which communication method is the most effective by analysing your email open rates, impressions, engagement, and reach on each individual channel/platform.

Another way to identify your members’ preferred communication method is to simply ask them. Either via a poll or on an individual basis when they sign up to your organisation.

During onboarding, you could ask each member to choose their preferred communication method. It’s much easier to know their preferred methods from the beginning rather than trying to figure them out further down the line.

Communication plan template

Clear communication helps you send the right message at the right time. As well as empower and engage your members, your end goals ultimately need to be creating a loyal membership base.

Download your free communication plan template.

How does LoveAdmin help you communicate more effectively?

LoveAdmin’s member management software helps to take the hassle out of communication with your members. Whether you wish to send a message, send updates via your feed, or schedule emails ahead of time, we’ve got you covered.

Key communication features include:

  • Email engagement reports allow you to see open rates, click-through rates, and much more
  • To save you time, you can create email templates that you can use time and time again
  • Choose to send messages now or time them to go out in the future – for example, in the lead up to an event
  • Improve engagement by sending SMS messages. Plus, send messages directly to the customer’s online account with in-app messaging
  • Every member/customer can access a timeline feature in their online account where they can share messages, pictures and videos

Want to know more about how to improve your member experience? Read our article: how to improve your member journey.

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