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Three Tips to Welcome New Members

Melissa Bittner
June 11, 2021

One of the things I take great pride in as an entrepreneur is finding the right team to create value, and I nailed it again! I’m so excited to introduce our newest team member who will be focused on your success using PropFuel. Meet Melissa. - Dave

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After 10+ years working for associations and member-based organizations, I’ve found what brings me the most fulfillment is when I can help a new member feel like they are a part of a community. I absolutely love the feeling of helping someone feel like they belong, that they matter, and that our community will help them go further than doing it alone.

We all know the benefits membership can bring to an individual or a company (fellow membership folks - I can hear you rattling off your association’s benefits in your head right now!). Just take a brief moment to think about your best “a-ha” moment with a member - the one where you broke past all the reasons to not join, connected with their goals and interests, and helped them realize how much they will gain by becoming a part of your community. Feels nice, right?

But let’s be real for a second: it’s not easy being the “new kid.” You’ve inevitably got passwords and logins to set up, online navigation you need to learn to find what you need, and lots of new names and faces to learn. And forget it if you’re a company joining a trade association and now have hundreds or thousands of folks to onboard (been there!). It can be an administrative headache so awful that it nearly negates the warm, fuzzy feeling you got when you got your welcome packet.

Here are a few tips on how you can welcome your newest members:

Ask questions, but not too many. Asking questions is a great way to engage in a conversation with your members and discover their needs and goals. Asking 50 questions about how they joined, where they heard about you, what they want to achieve through their membership, whether they’ll attend your annual conference, etc. is a quick way to overwhelm your new recruits. I know you’re SO excited to have them on board; treat new members how you would treat a new friend. Ask them questions for the intent of starting conversations, rather than with the sole intent of populating your AMS with their data. Trust me - they’ll know the difference.

Walk through your benefits menu more than once. Just before joining PropFuel, I took myself out to lunch at a locally-owned cafe. The waitress rattled off a bunch of specials, but let’s be real - I was barely listening. I was skimming the menu and heard something about “ginger soup” and “braised something-something,” but I wasn’t paying attention because I was too busy considering a couple options on their regular menu. Your members probably joined for one reason or another, and while it’s great to let them know ALL of the great benefits they have access to with their membership, the reality is that they probably will need reminders. Think about ways to engage them down the road with the other benefits they may be interested in, but aren’t their primary reason for joining initially.

Engage in conversations, especially after they’ve joined. With all the hard work that goes into recruiting members, it’s easy to feel like the hard work is done once they’ve joined. In fact, you may pass those new members off to an entirely different team member now to cultivate that relationship. Your new members will need to be continually engaged and conversed with, and even though they know they are not your only member, it’s still nice to feel that way. Broadcast messages that seem “one size fits all” rarely fit all sizes, and can make members feel like they are just one in 1,000 (or 10,000, or 100,000…). Using conversational engagement, aided by PropFuel, can help you connect 1-on-1 with your members at scale so you continue the conversation long after day one of their membership.

I joined PropFuel to help associations continually improve the ways they connect with their members. By fostering 1-on-1 conversations, I believe members will feel that sense of belonging, and association staff will spend less time wondering “who even cares about what we do?” and more time feeling like they are at the helm of industry growth and innovation. And better yet, staff will feel supported and empowered by their members.

I’m one week in as PropFuel’s newest Client Success Manager and am learning so much from Dave and my colleagues, and I’d love to learn from you too. Please reach out with any ideas, questions, or suggestions at melissa@propfuel.com anytime. And thanks in advance for making this “new kid” feel welcome!

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