Optimising your member experience is the key to engaging and retaining your members
By tracking your members’ journey, you’ll be able to identify what is or isn’t working and create tactics to make improvements.
In this article, we’ll take you through every step of the process. From understanding why the members’ journey is critical, right through to how to improve your member experience.
We’ve created a journey map that allows you to visualise how each member will move through the process. And we’ve also put together a member journey template to help you create an actionable plan.
What is a member journey?
In short, a member journey is any experience your members have with your organisation. It includes all interactions, from the first discovery to annual membership renewal.
- Initial consideration – members have found your organisation and are considering joining
- Onboarding – at this point, the new member is integrated into your organisation
- Engagement – this is critical for members to build relationships
- Help – often members will hit roadblocks at some point in their journey
- Renewal – members will review their experience and decide whether to renew
Why is understanding your members’ journey critical?
By taking the time to understand your members’ journey, you can identify any strengths and weaknesses in your current member experience.
With your newly gained knowledge, you will then be able to boost member retention. As well as measuring success against key performance indicators (KPIs).
Positive experiences will also likely lead to existing members acting as evangelists, telling others about your organisation and increasing your member count.
What KPIs are significant at each stage?
KPIs will vary depending on which stage of the journey each member is in. Each stage will have its own set of individual KPIs.
KPIs help you keep track of what is working well and what isn’t. For example, if you want to improve engagement, you might look to increase the number of sign-ups to an event or switch up your content strategy.
We’ve listed a few general examples to give you an idea; although you are likely to have your own.
Stage 1 – initial consideration
- Website traffic
- Click-through rate
- Social engagement
- Prospect to new member conversion rate
Stage 2 – onboarding
- Click-through rate on the welcome email
- New member satisfaction rate
Stage 3 – engagement
- Event registration
- Member satisfaction rate
- Social engagement
- Campaign engagement metrics
Stage 4 – help
- FAQs page visits
- Drop-off rate
- Newsletter unsubscribe rates
Stage 5 – renewal
- Number of renewals
- Number of membership cancellations
- Membership value
Your list is likely to change depending on the type of membership organisation you are running. However, hopefully this list helps give you an idea of where to start identifying your KPIs.
What is a member journey map?
This member journey map acts as a visual representation of the journey your members have. It helps you to identify key strategies and tactics, as well as measure your success.
One of the benefits of a member journey map is that it helps you to see if one area is strong or another is lacking. You can then shift attention to the weak areas to develop a more well-rounded approach and experience.
You can then use this printable member journey template to identify weaknesses in your organisation.
Taking the time to map your members’ journey will be beneficial to your organisation. Here’s why:
- Improve your member experience – the journey map will identify any weaknesses in your current member experience. You can then use this information to make improvements
- Create a personal approach – you can create a more tailored member experience, by providing exactly what each member wants at every stage
- Identify when to touch base – it is critical to make sure you avoid radio silence. For your members to feel part of the community, you need to engage regularly. Creating valuable content for your members can be one way to do this
- Have a clear path – the map will help you to create a natural path for your members. A journey must be designed to meet the needs of each member at every stage
- Identify priorities – one of the main benefits is that you can prioritise which areas need to be focused on more
What is each member’s journey stage?
To be able to create a solid journey map for your organisation, you need to understand each stage. Your members’ journey is likely to look different, so treat this as a guideline for when creating your own.
Ask yourself the following questions at each stage:
1. Initial consideration
Understanding this stage is critical. Members will be deciding whether your organisation is the right fit for them at this point. Getting this stage right is crucial as it directly impacts the number of applications.
- Are you providing them with helpful resources such as information packs, a “how to join” page on your website, pamphlets etc?
- What does your initial and follow up communication look like?
- What benefits are you offering members?
- Is your website easy to join?
- Is your membership price competitive?
Essentially this is the stage where you welcome your members. During this stage, members need to feel integrated into the organisation.
- How long does onboarding take?
- What does the current new member onboarding process look like?
- How many emails are sent to the new member?
- Do you offer a welcome package?
- How do you currently introduce new members into the community?
- Are you consistently improving your onboarding process?
Did you know that the first 90 days are key for new members? You need to make sure that members can make the most out of their membership and feel part of the community.
- How do you develop member relationships?
- What benefits do you provide?
- What makes new members loyal?
- Is it easy for members to find out the perks/information you offer?
At some point, members will probably need help. This stage helps to put in place resources ahead of time to help members.
- How easy is it for members to get help?
- What resources can you provide?
- How quickly can you address their questions and how?
Your members are considering whether to stay or go. As an organisation, you need to make it a no-brainer for them to stay.
- What makes someone renew their membership?
- Do you clearly explain renewal benefits to members?
- At what point are members dropping off?
- Are your members engaged?
- Do you send out renewal reminders?
- Are you using a multi-channel renewal campaign? i.e phone, email, website.
- What do your members want to see more of?
- Are you running surveys?
- What incentives do you provide?
- Are you sending a thank you email when a member renews?
How often should you evaluate and improve your member journey?
Just because you have created your member journey map, doesn’t mean your job is done. You need to carefully analyse the results. Take the customer journey yourself to help identify any strengths or weaknesses.
Evaluating your member journey should be a regular ongoing project. The members’ experiences and the journey will undoubtedly change over time. We recommend reviewing it on a monthly/quarterly basis depending on the size of your organisation.
Carrying out surveys and looking at data every few months can be a helpful way to make sure you are providing the best member experience.
How can LoveAdmin’s membership management software help?
We understand that your time is precious. Our membership management software helps to take the hassle out of admin, as well as improve retention and grow your organisation. You will also have access to useful data to help you build your member journey map and much more.
Some of the exciting benefits of our membership management software:
- Easy for new members to join your organisation and make secure changes to their data
- Automated membership renewals and reminders to improve retention
- Powerful business intelligence reports so you can see member satisfaction and those at risk of leaving
- Fully integrated communication tools including email engagement reports
- Easily create unique membership cards so your members feel part of your community
To find out more about how to improve your membership experience, download a copy of our free ultimate guide to managing your members.
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