Accredible - Certificates and Badges

Growing and Maintaining Association Membership with Digital Credentials

As more organizations undergo digital transformation, those who don’t adapt risk falling behind and failing to engage with their members. There are a number of solutions that associations can utilize to make growing and maintaining their numbers easier. In this post, we explore using digital credentials to support association membership.  

There are two types of digital credentials, the digital badge and the digital certificate. While physical certificates and badges are commonly used for display, they can be difficult to verify and easy to misplace. Digital membership badges are a portable, verifiable, and fully customizable solution that can be delivered to members at a fraction of the cost. 

As a digital credentialing platform that works with over 1,000 clients issuing over 1 million credentials each month, we know what it takes for associations and organizations to succeed. We’ve collected our findings to offer insight into how digital credentials support the digital transformation of associations.

The Cost Saving Benefits of Digital Credentials

Membership cards are the traditional representation of membership and convey the sense of being part of something special. However, each individual membership card also carries a set of costs:

    • Manufacturing and Materials
    • Packaging, Postage, and Delivery
    • Environmental Impact 


The environmental cost is often hidden but unavoidable, and plastic cards are one of the biggest contributors to annually generated plastic waste. In 2019, the National Trust recorded 12.5 tonnes of plastic waste that was being generated each year from the 5 million membership cards they issue. This prompted a change in the way they deliver membership credentials and encouraged the organization to move to a sustainable solution. 

Progressing from physical cards to a digital badge for association membership greatly reduces issuing costs, without compromising the benefits that a physical card traditionally offers. The Digital Marketing Institute experienced this first-hand. Before switching to digital credentials, each paper credential carried an average cost of $9.12. After making the switch, this cost dropped to $1 per credential, saving over $50,000 across 6000 issued credentials. 

Utilizing Word of Mouth Marketing

The greatest marketing resources an association has are their existing members, and the interest they generate through word of mouth. Digital credentials support this by improving the user experience and encouraging members to speak favourably about the association and their interactions. With a solution like Accredible, it is easy for members to share their new certificates and badges straight to their preferred social media platforms. Accredible also provides webpage and email signature embed functionality. 

The credential page provides another avenue of marketing and referral generation. Credential pages provide space for a link to the association’s website, details about the association, and analytics support to track referral clicks. If the association offers members a referral link or code, it can also be included on the credential page.

Simplifying the Renewal Process

Managing expired membership is its own process, made complicated by differing membership lengths and exit dates. Manually contacting members due for renewal is inefficient and easy to miss, which makes it a common point of failure. Automating the process saves time and money, and is guaranteed to improve engagement and generate interest. Additionally, automation simplifies member database management, freeing extra time to focus on contacting members that didn’t renew. This enables associations to find out the reason behind member drop-off, and where possible, tailor an offer to entice their return. 

Rewarding Engaged Members

The popularity of an association is directly tied to the value they offer, and greatly impacts the churn rate of members. Regular engagement is a key part of encouraging long-term membership. That engagement usually takes place through regular newsletters, social media platforms, and by issuing rewards for getting involved.

Those rewards are an opportunity to leverage digital credentials. For example, if the association holds events throughout the year for members to attend, recognise their attendance with a digital badge. If members get involved with these events as speakers or sponsors, acknowledge their engagement with another digital badge exclusive to speakers and sponsors. 

In addition to member engagement, badges are also a method to generate awareness. With one-click sharing, members can proudly display their badges on a social profile for the public to see. Then, those social shares and visits to the badge drive traffic back to your site, and your event calendars. 

Reducing the Cost of Member Recognition 

Every time associations offer members recognition for their engagement, their membership duration, or their interactions, there is a cost involved. For instance, a thank you card sent through the post carries a cost for purchase and delivery but also requires time for design and copy. 

Using Accredible’s digital credential platform drastically reduces the cost of recognition, and goes further by only charging you for unique recipients. This means you can issue John Doe a badge for attending events in February, March, and June – and only have the initial badge count against your plan total. Should the same John Doe volunteer to speak at one of these events, you can issue a dedicated speaker badge – and again, only the initial badge for his attendance will be taken from the plan allowance.

Furthermore, the Accredible Credential Management System simplifies the process of managing members. Save time for administrators, email specific member groups (e.g. longest serving members), and track referrals from credential pages, all through Accredible. 

Key Takeaways

Association membership is more than a sign up and forget process. These days, associations need to be present on the platforms their members use and provide value in the relationships they build. Members are more likely to engage with and talk about an association that recognises their interactions. As individuals see the personal value in their membership, their connection to the association grows, and they are more willing to offer their own time to support it. 

Digital credentials support the efforts of associations by:

  • Providing a cost-effective platform for issuing membership badges and certificates
  • Streamlining the process of member renewals with automated emails
  • Enabling members to share their association rewards to social media platforms
  • Saving administrative resources with an efficient, secure platform for managing member data
  • Automating the process of rewarding members for sign-ups, event attendance, and meeting referral targets
  • Scaling seamlessly to meet the needs of growing associations 
  • Offering an easy to understand analytics dashboard for tracking referrals, clicks, and engagement
  • Supporting the efforts of associations looking to become environmentally friendly
  • Protecting the integrity of membership by ensuring digital credentials are easy to verify or revoke

Accredible is an industry-leading digital credentialing platform that simplifies and automates the process of issuing membership credentials. We work with thousands of businesses, industries, and associations to issue, track, manage, and verify memberships and high-stakes credentials. 

Further Reading

Learn more about how our team uses their experience implementing digital credentials to make your digital transformation successful.

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NACE International and the NACE International Institute Launch Digital Credentialing with Accredible

Accredible today announced it has partnered with The National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) and the NACE International Institute to bring digital membership badges and digital certification credentials and certificates to NACE members and NACE Institute certification holders. Accredible is excited to partner with NACE and the NACE Institute as they move away from traditional methods of membership and certification credentials to a modern digital format.


“As an organization, we are proud to offer our certification holders this newest benefit for their credentialing. Just as you can perform banking transactions on your phone, so should you be able to verify your professional credentials,” says Keenan Loubser, NACE Institute Chief Operating Officer. “And as the value of the certifications have increased, so too has the attempts at producing fraudulent certification instruments. Digital badging will protect the value of a certification for the person who truly earned it.”


“By bringing their NACE Institute certificates and NACE membership cards into a digital format, NACE continues a long trend of leadership and digital transformation in professional training and certification,” said Danny King, CEO of Accredible. “We are excited to work with NACE to showcase their members’ qualifications in a modern, secure format.”

Read full the press release here.

What Leads to Membership Churn?

Digital certificates from Accredible are an awesome way to increase member engagement and reduce membership churn. Get started today with a free trial account!

How do you prevent members from leaving your organization?

While most organizations are focused on bringing in new members, your primary goal should be on member retention. Let’s face it: New member acquisition is expensive. Not only is it more affordable to hold on to your current members, you can also increase their lifetime value to your organization with less effort. Engaged members are more likely to upgrade services, purchase new products, attend live events and trainings, and become reliable sources for referrals. The money is in member loyalty, but the question is how?

In this post, let’s explore the most common reasons why members leave and the best practices for churn prevention.

Your Competitors Offer More Than You Do

Who are your chief competitors?

Every business, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, has at least one competitor in the same space. Taking a “head in the sand” approach to your competitors will only harm your organization in the long run. Because, even if you don’t acknowledge your competitors, your members do.

It’s important that you can answer the following questions about your competitors:

  • Who is the competitor?
  • Who do they serve?
  • What is their reputation in the industry?
  • What services do they offer?
  • How much do they charge for membership?
  • How much do they charge for services?

The next step is to compare yourself with your competitors. The goal isn’t to match them, but to define how you’re different in a superior way. Your unique value proposition is what you’ll rely on to convince your members to stick with you.

It’s certainly possible that your competitors offer more than you do, but what do you offer that supersedes what you lack? When compared directly with a similar service, why should a member stay with your organization? Be prepared to use this unique value proposition in your retention marketing.

That said, there are times when you simply need to evolve as an organization. You may need to amp up your features. For example, if your competitors offer an app, it may be time for you to develop one of your own. Always embrace change if it will improve your relationship with your members.

You’re Not Engaging Your Customers

The bottom line is that members who don’t feel connected to your brand will eventually fade away. They’ll gradually stop logging in to your members’ site. They’ll be less active on your social media pages. They won’t attend as many member functions. One day, they’ll fade to black without you noticing it.

Member attrition often happens without fanfare. Members lose interest in your organization and forget about you. There’s nothing worse than that.

Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be your story. You can prevent member churn by focusing on continuous engagement.

Member engagement starts early. Research shows that members are the most connected with your brand immediately after joining. Greet them with a solid onboarding plan. For example, create a series of welcome emails designed to introduce them to your organization. In your emails, you can show them the most important features of your website, how to reach technical support, and where to go to network with other members.

This email series can be completely automated and deployed whenever new members join.

After your welcome series, send a steady flow of emails to keep the new members engaged. Here are a few ideas for emails to send within the first three months of joining:

  • A “Greatest Hits” email with some of your most popular blog posts
  • Testimonials and case studies
  • Invitations to webinars or live events
  • An email course
  • A personal “what do you think of our organization?” survey
  • A “here’s how to get more from your membership” note, customized to their behavior

Remember that people who don’t engage with your organization will cancel because they can’t see any value to retaining a membership. It’s your job to show them how they can continue to benefit throughout the year and beyond.

You’re Not Communicating Enough

Following up on the last point, be sure to communicate frequently with all of your members. It’s not enough to have a series of onboarding emails in place. You also need to have a strategy for keeping in touch with current members, especially those who’ve been around for a while.

Every email that you send should be valuable, relevant, and as personalized as possible. When setting up an ongoing email strategy for your current members, consider the following:

Send promotional emails sparingly. You’re speaking to people who’ve already joined as members. You shouldn’t bombard them constantly with “buy this” offers. Instead, focus on sending educational and informational emails that encourage continuous self-improvement.

Segment your email list. Segmenting allows you to personalize your content so that your emails appear more relevant to the recipient. Segment based on member type, stated goal, job title, types of emails they open the most, etc.

You’re Not Focused on Building a Relationship

The purpose behind sending emails consistently is to build a relationship with your members. Members churn when you stop connecting with them. Instead of sending them non-stop information about your organization, reach out to your members personally to find out how you can impact their success. There is a direct correlation between member success and member retention. If you help your members achieve a desired level of success, they’ll stay on board.

[bctt tweet=”There is a direct correlation between member success & member retention. Here’s what to do about it:” username=”accredible”]

Email your members individually (you can set this up to deploy automatically at a specific date and time). Ask sincerely how you can help them accomplish a specific goal that’s related to your service. Encourage them to reply directly to your email. Then follow up with those members who actually respond. This is the best way to prove that you’re committed to your members’ success.

You’re Not Tracking Members’ Behavior

What about those members who won’t respond to the above “How can we help you succeed” email? You can still find out what these members need by tracking their behavior. Doing so will also enable you to prevent member attrition.

The exact behaviors to track will vary by organization, but here are a few universal behaviors that can give you insight into the member’s level of engagement:

  • How often the member logs on to your site
  • How often the member opens your emails
  • Which services the member uses most/ least often
  • What types of emails the user opens
  • If the member has reached out to customer service or tech support
  • If the member attends your in-person events
  • If the member refers others to your organization

Also track sudden changes in member behavior. A change in pattern could indicate churn in the near future.

You’re Not Preventing Technical Churn

Sometimes, members churn because of technical reasons. One of the leading causes behind technical churn is a declined credit card. Do you have a plan for tackling declined cards?

Credit cards decline for multiple reasons: Expiration dates, cardholder changes, exceeded limits, transposed numbers, processor failure, etc. Your members may not know about the declined charge until attempting to log in to your website. This is the worst time to find out because the member may not be ready to resolve the matter.

The best time to handle a declined credit card is immediately and via email. Send out a dunning email where you explain what happened (your card declined) and what to do next (log in to update your credit card details).

Final Thoughts

In order to grow your organization, you must focus on retention. Bringing in new members is important but, without a solid plan to prevent churn, they’ll leave just as quickly as they signed up. Use these tips to improve your organization’s retention strategy and keep your members happily engaged.

Digital certificates from Accredible are an awesome way to increase member engagement and reduce membership churn. Get started today with a free trial account!

How to Keep Members Engaged After Your Certification Program Has Ended

Once your certification program comes to a close, you’re faced with an important question:

How do you strengthen your business relationship, demonstrate value beyond the certification program, and keep those members engaged?

This question is even more pressing if your newly certified member is also new to your organization. In this post, we’ll discuss several key engagement strategies to increase member investment and satisfaction.

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Start With a Plan for Engagement

Before delving into engagement strategies, let’s start with a basic engagement plan. What should newly certified members do immediately after completing your certification course? How would you like your members to interact with your organization? Do you have a solid plan for onboarding these new members into your organization?

If not, create a 6- or 12-month engagement roadmap for everyone who completes your certification program. While your individual roadmap will look different, here’s a template you can follow:

Month by Month Member Engagement Roadmap

  • Month 1: Send out onboarding emails immediately following the end of your certification program. Introduce new members to your organization and show them other benefits you offer to your members.
  • Month 2: At the beginning of this month, reach out to your members with a phone call. Find out about their experience with your organization over the last 30 days of membership and ask if there’s anything you can do to help them in the future.
  • Month 3: Invite your member to join your referral program via email. Explain the benefits of joining.
  • Month 4: Ask your members to participate in a case study.
  • Month 5: Send out an email to promote your annual conference.
  • Month 6: Make a follow-up phone call.
  • Month 7: Via email or social media, share testimonials from other members. Also, provide a list of personalized metrics to show how the member has benefited from joining your organization.
  • Month 8: Remind your members about your annual conference.
  • Month 9: Highlight important membership benefits and invite the member to partake of these benefits.
  • Month 10: Send a free and valuable ebook or other gift (a t-shirt, a coffee cup).
  • Month 11: Send a personalized email where you discuss future goals. Ask the member to mentor other, newer members.
  • Month 12: Invite members to participate in a survey or a case study. Also encourage renewal with an expiring promotion.

While creating your month by month member engagement roadmap, be sure to consider holidays. You can run special holiday promotions, and highlight in-person social activities that create higher levels of engagement.

Score Members Based on Engagement Level

The next step is to score your members based on their level of engagement. Make a list of all potential member actions, such as:

  • Blog reading
  • Blog sharing
  • Downloads
  • Email opens
  • Email click throughs
  • Event attendance (webinar, in-person)
  • Referrals
  • Social media participation
  • Social media sharing

You’ll need to assign scores to the activities that you deem most important for your organization.

With that out of the way, the next step is to group your members based on their score.

You may create three categories for your members: Active and Engaged, Moderately Engaged, and Not Engaged. Members in the second category, especially those with waning engagement levels, should receive more attention. You’ll also want to reach out periodically to the Not Engaged members, too.

Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Blogging is great for SEO and helps to keep members engaged. Through your blogs, you can create pertinent and valuable content that your members will look forward to reading.

When creating a content strategy with a special focus on member retention and engagement, make a list of ideas that empower your current members. Too often, blog posts are written with the intent of wooing prospective members. That’s important also, but don’t forget about your current members in the process.

Members will stay connected to your organization if they believe you’re providing relevant resources to meet their current needs.

To create an effective content marketing strategy, take an inventory of your members’ needs. Survey your members to ask what content they’d like to read. Then create more of that content.

Your content marketing strategy doesn’t focus solely on blogging. Although blogging is the centerpiece of most content marketing, it’s not the only way to reach your members. Videos and podcasts are other options for communicating with your members.

Focus on Email Marketing

Don’t depend on bookmarks and the member’s intention to return to your site. Even if your member bookmarks your website, he or she will forget to come back. Enter email marketing.

Email marketing is a brilliant way to stay in touch with your members. Once you’ve created a blog or video post, you can then advertise it to your members through email.

Fortunately, you can gently remind them through a well-planned email marketing strategy. Email allows you to stay in touch with your members, and also gives you another opportunity to score their engagement levels.

When email marketing, follow these best practices:

  • Stay in touch consistently – Send an email on a predictable schedule (i.e., every Friday, or the second Tuesday of each month).
  • Segment your list to personalize your interactions – Group your members based on demographics, location, behavior, goals, etc.
  • End with a call to action – Drive traffic back to your blog (or other desired action).

Create In-Person Events

Host in-person events. Even if you’re a small, web-based organization and can only manage to host one in-person event per year, do what you can. In-person events, such as workshops and conferences, can help foster more engagement and a greater sense of community.

You can also use these in-person events to increase activity on your social media channels. Encourage attendees to post live videos or photos of themselves with branded hashtags.

Encourage Members to Refer Others

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to set up a referral program. By issuing digital certificates through Accredible, you already have built-in brand exposure and referral power. However, if you create a referral program, you’ll have an opportunity to both extend your reach while also keeping your members engaged at the same time.

Reward referring members with special perks, such as:

  • A month of membership
  • Branded office supplies (clothes, pens, mugs, etc.)
  • Special recognition (referrer of the month)

Continue to Evolve With Your Member-Base

The needs of your members will change as the years pass. The last thing you want is for your organization to stay stuck in the past. However, many organizations make the mistake of being complacent.

Commit to evolve with your members.

[bctt tweet=”Commit to evolve with your members. Here’s why:” username=”accredible”]

Another mistake is focusing entirely on new members without thinking about the growing needs of your current member-base. As your members mature and develop in their careers, they’ll continue to need guidance. Here are a few ways to ensure that you’re a perennial resource for your members:

  • Take surveys often to determine the needs of your members
  • Develop new courses and material to meet those needs
  • Create a mentorship program for ongoing direction

Final Thoughts

Keeping your members engaged requires careful planning and a commitment to evolve with your members. Use our tips above to ensure member engagement and retention.

Before you go, check out these related posts:

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6 Must-Do Membership Retention Strategies

Need help retaining more of your members?

While most businesses spend a great deal of time and resources into recruiting new members, it’s crucial that you sharpen up your retention strategy as well. Retention requires just as much, if not more, attention as recruiting because what good is getting new members if you can’t keep them?

The goal is to create an engaged community of members who are invested in your organization. Committed and excited members attract even more members through social proof and word of mouth marketing.

So how exactly do you create such members?

In this post, we’ll take a look at 6 amazing strategies for improving your membership retention. These time-tested strategies will work across multiple types of organizations. Let’s get started.

[content_upgrade cu_id=”149″]Here’s a downloadable list of additional membership retention strategies.[content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]

1. Market to the Proper Audience

Start by asking yourself, who will benefit the most from my organization?

A common mistake to avoid is incorrect targeting. Instead of narrowing down their scope, many organizations market to a wide variety of prospective members. This eventually leads to churn. Why?

New members join up with the wrong expectations. Perhaps drawn in by well-meaning but somewhat inaccurate marketing promises, the new member quickly becomes disillusioned with your organization because it’s not addressing their true needs. They’ll eventually leave and you’ll be left wondering why you couldn’t retain them.

To put it simply, your organization wasn’t the right fit. It’s a painful truth but ultimately freeing once you realize that by not targeting everyone, you’re able to actually target the perfect prospects.

It’s important that you market to those who are most likely to:

A)See the value of joining and aligning with your organization
B)Get active in your organization

To find these prospects, you’ll have to get clear with your marketing message. When marketing your membership, explain the following:

  • Who you are
  • Why you are
  • How you help
  • Who you help
  • What you do

2. Focus on Benefits

Connected to the above point, emphasize your membership benefits to both current and prospective members.

Start off by writing a list of benefits that your members enjoy. List everything from mentorship to special discounts to exclusive access to your large library of resources.

Next, decide how you’re going to highlight these benefits to your members.

For prospective members, you’ll use convey benefits through your marketing materials. For example, you may push them to download a case study from your website. Such a case study would show the benefits of your membership in action in a real life situation.

[bctt tweet=”The best way to keep members engaged is to keep them informed.” username=”accredible”]

For current members, you can gently remind them of your membership benefits by sending congratulatory emails whenever the member reaches a specific milestone. In this email, celebrate the progress your member has made and tie this progress back to membership in your organization.

3. Segment Your Members

People join an organization for different reasons. Make a list of the reasons you think people would join your organization. (Hint: These reasons are likely to mirror the same benefits listed above.)

Here’s a partial list of the end goals your members are hoping to accomplish by joining your organization:

  • Network with other professionals in the industry
  • Have access to a library of relevant resources
  • Obtain an industry-valued certification
  • Get exclusive discounts
  • Marketing helps and resources
  • Become a member of an active community

Once you’ve made an exhaustive list of reasons why prospective members would be attracted to your organization, turn it into a survey. Ask new members why they joined your organization and present this multiple choice survey. Be sure to include a space for “other” along with a prompt for them to elaborate because there may be a reason you hadn’t considered before.

Allow them to self-identify based on their individual needs and interests.

This survey is key to your retention strategy because it allows you to set the member on the right path. For each reason, you’ll create a member journey and profile. This will inform what type of emails you’ll push to the member. For example, if your member wants to network, you can send local or regional events and offer advice on how to successfully connect with others.

While you may also send emails from different categories (i.e. promotions for your certification course or special discounts), you’ll focus on providing targeted resources that help them accomplish their end goal.

Remember that your goal is to help the member reach their goal, and to do this successfully, you’ll need to be completely focused on what content you provide. You definitely don’t want to send irrelevant content. It translates to inbox clutter and eventually member churn.

4. Make Onboarding a Priority

To retain more of your members, you must focus on onboarding. Get them acclimated to your organization. Set expectations for how often you’ll be in touch and what type of content to expect.

The best way to do this is to create a starter kit for new members. This starter kit may be a downloadable PDF file, a dedicated “start here” webpage, or a set of resources that you actually mail out to your new members.

Your starter kit is likely to vary based on each member’s intended end goal. You should create multiple starter kits based on each type of member that you anticipate and also a general starter kit for members who click “other” in your self-filtering survey.

Here are a few ideas on what you may include in your starter kit:

  • A brief history of your organization with emphasis on your vision and how you help members succeed
  • A tutorial of how to use your website, including how to access your member resources
  • An overview of what courses you offer
  • A list of ways to contact you (i.e. email, phone, social media)

5. Ask for Testimonials

Testimonials are the lifeblood of every organization. They provide much needed social proof for prospective members.

However, testimonials are also great for retention purposes. Consider sending a new batch of testimonials to your members every six months or every year. These testimonials should be selected for their diversity, showing the multiple ways that your members have benefited from your organization. These types of testimonials are inspirational and it prompts your members to think of how they’ve also grown and progressed by becoming a member of your organization.

6. Create an Easy Renewal Program

Is it easy for members to renew their membership?

A complicated renewal process is a major contributor to member churn. Here’s a few renewal reasons that may lead to churn:

  • Not keeping a credit card on file and then asking the renewing member to re-enter their credit card information
  • Asking the renewing member to choose their membership plan for the upcoming year
  • Asking members to upgrade or tack on additional benefits
  • Taking too many steps or pages to renew

Every question you ask will increase resistance to the process, so simplify your approach. Instead, consider continual enrollment. When new members join, inform them that you provide continual enrollment (i.e. their membership will continue in perpetuity and you’ll charge their card on file automatically).

This way, you won’t have to interrupt the experience with your organization to ask for dues or if they’d like to continue with their membership.

Final Thoughts

To be successful in the long run, your organization must develop a retention strategy. Before you go, be sure to download 11 additional retention strategies below.

[content_upgrade cu_id=”149″]Download 11 additional membership retention strategies here![content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]


4 Tips to Showcase Value and Retain Members

A membership organization’s most valued benefits can vary widely depending on the organization and the individual member. One person might appreciate educational opportunities above all else; someone else might pay their dues solely for the organization’s advocacy work. Those two people probably are aware other benefits exist, but what exactly do they know about them?

Even members who take advantage of all available benefits might appreciate reminders and snapshots of what you offer and what you’re doing for them. If nothing else, it reminds them why membership to your organization is important and what they’re getting out of their dues. Regardless of precisely what your membership benefits are, clearly communicating your organization’s value to members is one of the most important tasks for member retention.

Embrace Surveys

One of the first steps in focusing your efforts is to assess what members actually value. Often times organizations assume they know what the most valued benefits are, but they never end up actually asking their members.

Surveys can delve into people’s wants and needs, and what they like and what they don’t. A well-devised survey can highlight a lot of valuable information. Sometimes these data points may reinforce your existing assumptions (which is good!). However, other times you may find that one benefit you thought was important is rarely used or even known by your member base.

Tools like Survey Monkey (we use them at Accredible for our own customer surveys) offer multiple ways to devise and distribute a wide number of surveys. They also have some great resources on how to write good survey or poll questions.

Remember when you’re writing your survey: Don’t forget to ask how your members want you to communicate with them. Do you send too many emails? Do they want to be engaged in ways you’re not currently reaching them?

Leverage Social Media

Your owned social media channels shouldn’t just be a place to promote events or your latest updates. It’s the perfect channel to remind your members (and potential members) the value provided in your membership. Your presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and how often you post, depend on your industry and member base.

Some organizations have tech-savvy members who leverage all forms of social media. Others find their members on only one or two social networks (or none). Even use within a single social network can vary greatly among individuals. Some professionals use LinkedIn only as a career advancement and networking tool, whereas others check it daily to keep informed about news in their field.

Think about your members and ask yourself:

  1. Where are we posting now, and where should we be posting based on our members?
  2. What kind of content do we regularly post?
  3. What new types of content would our members find useful?

We find that some organizations tend to post too much about themselves, and not enough about their industry. Take stock of what content you usually post, and then set up a content calendar. Make sure you’re posting a good mix of:

  • Organization news and updates
  • Relevant industry news and resources
  • Membership benefit posts

Once you have a good grasp of where you’re posting and what type of content you’re using, make sure to understand how your members are interacting with your social media. Do your Facebook posts invite discussion, or do they just get “likes”? Do your members tag you on Twitter? Do you tag them and share their tweets and posts? Some organizations treat social media more like a news outlet, and others treat it more like interactive conversations. Ideally you want to strike a good balance between the two.


Highlight Education and Professional Development

This is most likely one of the main reasons you were able to attract members, so make sure to spend a significant amount of time ensuring these efforts are well marketed.

Sometimes, the annual convention is the member favorite. Does your convention marketing emphasize the most compelling parts of it enough? That could include the keynote speaker, the volunteer event, or the session on the topic everyone’s talking about.

For certifications and educational programs that your members complete, what do they get at the end of it? If it’s a brief webinar, they might not get anything that acknowledges their participation. If it’s a more extensive certification, they probably get a paper certificate or a digital one, which they can share easily on social media. When they do, their contacts see their accomplishment as well as your brand, which might increase your reach and your visibility. These credentials also help the member advance his or her career. Accredible’s digital certificates, for example, are easily accessible and verifiable by third parties, so the recipient doesn’t need to show a paper certificate, and potential employers can verify what they say they’ve accomplished.

Use Publications and Other Information

Many organizations use their flagship magazine, newsletters, email updates, or other vehicles to help their members stay up to date on developments in the industry, as well as to provide practical tips on how to do their jobs better. This is an often-overlooked value-add, and it can be a great way to continuously engage your members.

When there’s a buzzworthy article or piece in one of them, do you tell members about it, beyond your regular promotion of the publication? If there’s an article written by a particularly popular expert or on a hot topic, some organizations call it out on the home page or a special Facebook post. Members may be more likely to read and appreciate your publications if you pique their interest with some specifics.

Understanding Value Improves Retention

It’s important to remember that no matter how much value you pack into your membership, it goes to waste if your members don’t know about their benefits and if they can’t tangibly experience them.

If you make it easy for your members to keep connected with you and informed about everything from last week’s meetings on the Hill to next week’s networking event, they might have a deeper understanding of what they can get out of their membership and what you do for them every day. The best way to accomplish this is to:

  1. Survey your members to find out what benefits they value most and to gauge their general understanding of the entire list of benefits.
  2. Leverage social media outlets to foster two-way communication while also reminding members of their benefits.
  3. Highlight professional development and education, since this is most likely one of the main reasons your members joined.
  4. Use your publications or other outlets as ways to keep members engaged.

The better informed your members are on the benefits you offer, and the more they are engaged, the more likely they are to stick around as longtime members.