Content Marketing
Association Marketing Tools & Metrics for Member Engagement

Association Marketing Tools & Metrics for Member Engagement

July 26, 2022
5 min read

What separates associations with high rates of member retention from those that struggle with lapsing members? While there’s not a single answer as to why some membership bases remain strong and others fall victim to churn, one differentiating major factor is member engagement.

Member engagement describes the interactions between your association and its members. It’s the sense of satisfaction that members get when they attend a worthwhile event or interact with your social media content, and it often determines whether or not your constituents continue to renew their memberships.

As an association professional, there are many ways that you can engage members and keep them invested in your organization. However, in this guide we’ll focus on marketing strategies and how the right tools allow your association to track, manage, and boost engagement. In particular, we’ll cover:

  • How Can Effective Marketing Boost Engagement?
  • Key Marketing Metrics for Measuring Engagement
  • Marketing Tools to Boost Member Engagement

First, let’s explore the connection between marketing and engagement. Why is it important to strengthen your membership marketing techniques, and how does that affect member engagement?

How Can Effective Marketing Boost Engagement?

When you think of member engagement, the first things that come to mind are likely your more visible and elaborate forms of outreach, such as events. After all, these high-investment opportunities generate high levels of engagement, and they’re an important part of why many members join your membership program in the first place.

However, as is outlined in the Fonteva guide to member engagement strategies, your association’s marketing and communications are also incredibly important elements of your member engagement plan.

From social media marketing to email marketing, your marketing strategies allow you to connect with members year-round, strengthen your brand identity, and conveniently engage members through the platforms they use every day.

Key Marketing Metrics for Measuring Engagement

It doesn’t matter if you have a small membership base localized to your community or a larger base with an international reach—all member communities are made up of individuals with their own unique interests, identities, and communication preferences.

This means that a single marketing and communications strategy won’t appeal to every member. Instead, to really engage your members, you need to adjust your outreach to match members’ individual needs and preferences.

This is where data can guide your marketing and communications strategies. By paying attention to the right metrics, you can understand whether or not members are engaging with certain marketing streams and if those channels are being used effectively.

In particular, be sure to track these marketing metrics:

Once you’ve collected all of this critical data, you can use it to assess the performance of each marketing channel and campaign. Additionally, you can segment your data based on members’ interests and their level of engagement with your marketing materials.

For example, while your younger members may be responding well to your social media content, you may focus your email marketing campaigns on older members for higher open rates.

Marketing Tools to Boost Member Engagement

To effectively engage your members and streamline your marketing efforts, software solutions are an invaluable resource for your association. In particular, the following tools can make a world of difference when it comes to tracking, strengthening, or managing your association marketing and engagement strategies:

  • Association management platforms. Association management software (AMS) is one of the single most powerful tools in your association’s tech stack. With a strong association management platform, you can monitor engagement across your marketing channels and manage the distribution of content. For example, you can easily automate and personalize emails to different member segments. Additionally, the right association platform will also come equipped with event management, financial management, and data reporting tools to streamline the daily responsibilities of running an association.
  • Social media marketing software. Social media is an important part of how associations market themselves to new audiences and engage with members. These platforms come with an array of readily available multimedia tools and community-building features to keep members engaged. However, juggling the management of your various social media accounts is tricky. That’s where social media marketing tools can lend a helping hand, allowing you to design and create more engaging content, consistently provide materials, closely monitor your campaigns, and more meaningfully engage with members.
  • SEO software. If you’re fighting to strengthen your association’s online presence and digital content marketing strategy, then search engine optimization (SEO) software can be a strong addition to your marketing toolkit. SEO software allows you to track the performance of your online content in relation to its ranking, authority, and level of web traffic on search engines like Google. With these tools, you can supercharge your content marketing efforts by making your website more easily discoverable for online searchers.

While you may be hesitant to invest in new technology, these tools are tailor-made to help your organization better connect with members, reduce time and labor costs, and create more effective marketing initiatives. The benefit of these solutions ends up far outweighing the initial investment cost.

Engaging your members is an ongoing process that requires continuous work from your association team. However, these metrics and best practices should ease the struggle of maintaining a strong engagement strategy.

With these insights and the right software solutions, you will be well on your way to crafting more engaging, inspiring, and personalized marketing strategies for your association.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

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