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Five Ways Your Member Engagement is Just Like Dating (And How to Decrease Your Chances of Being Ghosted)

Brianne Wheeler
October 22, 2021

I was on a team call recently and Melissa, one of our awesome client success managers, was glowing over a campaign she just worked on with a client. She said, “It’s the best campaign. They are trying to re-engage members, and they ask, ‘Are you ghosting us?’”

Her description of the campaign got me thinking. Member engagement is just like dating.

If you’ve been single at any point since smart phones and dating apps were invented, you know all about ghosting. One day you’re communicating with a new love interest regularly, the next week you go on three dates in a row, a few months later you’re planning a holiday vacation out of town… and then boom, they’re gone. Silence.

Where did the love go? Was it ever there in the first place?

Let’s take a quick, generalized look at the stages of dating:

1. Talking: It’s magical. They’re perfect. You know little about them, but who cares. They’re the solution to all your problems and heartache. 🥰

2. Dating: Long talks. You’re learning a lot. They have some quirky things about them, and you have some doubts, but you’re attracted.🧐

3. Commitment: The “What are we doing?” phase. At least one of you “catches feelings,” as the kids say. There is some commitment exchanged (if you get this far)! 🤗

4. Serious Relationship: You love them, and you know them well. Sometimes you think they’re amazing; sometimes you get annoyed and re-evaluate if they’re “it.” 😍

5. Long Term Relationship or Bust: You either stay in it for the long haul because the value and love are there, or it doesn’t work out, you make like Lizzo and return to independent life. 🤨

Now, scroll back up and re-read those phases as if it's a relationship between an individual and an association:

1. Subscriber

2. Prospective Member

3. New Member

4. Renewing Member

5. Loyal or Lapsed Member

At each stage, the member engagement arc looks eerily like that of personal relationships, doesn't it? Members are doing this kind of evaluation of your association all the time, at every touchpoint, as though you are dating. And at any point, the association can be ghosted when the member decides the value isn’t there.

So, how do we prevent ghosting in our relationships with members? Sometimes we can’t. Things happen that we don’t understand – they find the resources they need elsewhere, they lose interest or, um, who knows what happened.

The only reasonable, proactive action we can take to learn more about individuals, find out what they need, get a pulse on how they’re feeling, find out if something has gone wrong, etc., is to ask them. Give them the opportunity to share their voice. Engage them in a conversation. Guessing and waiting is a waste of time and is probably going to give you a knot in your stomach.

And remember: no response is a response. I’m sorry; I know it hurts. There are a million other fish in the sea who will see you and your association for all your unique beauty!

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