Membership Engagement, what is it?

Most Membership organisations focus on service delivery and onboarding new members, letting member retention fall to the bottom of the pile in the process. Member retention is sometimes seen as a bit of a black art, with many people disagreeing with the best way to go about achieving this.

The key to understanding membership retention is to start by looking at membership engagement. Member engagement is essentially how much and in which ways, members connect with your organisation its services and content.

The more members engage, the better your retention will be, it’s as simple as that. When trying to improve retention, the first step is to measure membership engagement, you can’t control what you don’t measure. In order to measure engagement, you also need to measure membership attrition, in other words, the number of members you lose.

A substantial amount of Member engagement is now being carried out online, therefore in this article we’ll look at simple ways of measuring member engagement online.

There are many things you can measure, and different membership organisations will differ in what makes a good engagement metric, but here are some ideas to get started:

  • Which member only content is the most popular?
  • How much is the membership portal used?
  • How well attended are your events?
  • How much is your website used?

Member only content

Most organisations have different content for members only and will have a different approach to the content, but the core questions should remain the same. Which content do members value the most? Which content is of interest and which isn’t? How do I find out this information from our members?

Most membership systems allow you to track which content is being viewed and which documents are being downloaded. This can be achieved by using an analytics program.

Portal Activity

In order to access member services, members will usually log in to a member only portal. Once a member is logged in, the system is able to identify them. The system is therefore also able to monitor the members activity. The level and type of activity will give you a good idea on each members level of engagement. This kind of monitoring can include, how often members log in, how long they stay and how many different areas they access.

Event attendance

The obvious measurement of event attendance is how many people attended against how many tickets you released. However, there’s a bigger picture here.

Who’s specifically attending your events? Are you attracting new attendees? Are members re-attending events? What percentage of your membership base are attending? Is there a trend such as a particular membership level that attend over all others?

Once you have data on all of the above you will have more to work with when you actually engage with them.