How to Welcome New Members to Your Membership
It’s true what they say about how important first impressions are. They are the foundation upon which your memberships are built. Do you remember when you started a new job or joined an activity outside of work? Did you feel welcome and at ease or awkward and uncomfortable? Both good and bad atmospheres will leave a lasting effect on anybody.
In fact, 95% of people believe first impressions are very important. That is a significantly high number and reiterates its importance. If you want to know more about the scientific element, The Ultimate Guide To Making a Great First Impression (even online) is a great read.
Not only should you create a positive first impression, but also set a positive tone for the entire membership experience. Making a member feel valued and welcomed from the beginning of their journey is key.
In this blog, we are going to walk through how to welcome new members through some crucial steps, looking at planning ahead, designing a welcome process and asking for feedback.
Before you welcome new members to your membership group, you should make sure you have any information you might need in advance. Asking questions like the following will help you to achieve this:
- Who is the target audience?
- What do you want your new members to do after they have joined? Attend an event? Complete a survey?
- What is the end goal for your members?
Having clear goals is crucial to ensure your membership program runs smoothly with a solid structure in place. If you don't have any members at all or only a small circle then our guide on how to build a community can be a great help.
Once you have identified the answers to the questions above, you can move on to putting the actions in place for their welcome.
Designing the Welcome Process
When you have a consolidated plan for what you want to achieve, a welcome process can be put in place. The key to designing a successful welcome process is creating a positive atmosphere for your members with clarity throughout. If you follow the below guide, you will be well on your way.
The very first thing that a new member should receive is a welcome email to confirm their joining and to set a warm and friendly tone. After all, you cannot welcome new members without an official welcome! These emails can be done manually or automated but we suggest personalising them and including their name at the very least.
Your welcome email should give an overview of the membership group, include links to any needed resources and key instructions on what their next steps are. If you want to take it that step further, you could set up a series of automated emails to ensure there is no information overload.
If you are struggling with where to start, take a look at our blog on the Ultimate Guide to Writing an Engaging Welcome Email.
If you want to take your warm membership welcome to the next level, why not send them a welcome pack? It should include information about the membership program and any features and benefits.
Adding branded merchandise such as a mug, pens or something completely unique to you, can really make a difference. Going above and beyond will give a really positive impression and help your newest member feel like part of a community.
An image speaks a thousand words, so why not take it that step further and put all the information listed above into a welcome video? This doesn't need to be personalised, it can be a generic video sent to all new joiners.
According to Wyzowl, 97% of people think that a welcome video is an effective tool. So if you have the time and budget, we highly recommend putting this technique into your welcome process.
This might be a little harder if you run a giant company that has thousands of new members a day. But if that isn't the case, membership meetings could be a great way to welcome new members and ensure they feel important and valued.
This doesn't have to be anything formal. In fact, you could make it exciting and fun! If you do not have a central hub space or have never set up a virtual meeting before, take a look at how to organise a virtual event.
We suggest not putting them on the spot too much as that might make them feel pressured on awkward. Instead, allow management or the community to talk. This can be a great way for members to get to know each other more and strengthen the community.
Using a spot in your newsletter, website or social media to introduce a new member can be a great way to make them feel special. It could be a simple paragraph and photo, but remember to add something personal such as hobbies and interests, rather than keeping it too formal.
The Buddy System
Pairing your new members with a “buddy” can be a big step towards including them in the community. When someone first joins a membership group, it can be quite daunting so having someone you know from the start, can really help put the new member at ease.
The buddy system can really help give them clarity, guidance and an overall enjoyable experience. Having a mentor by their side with first-hand experience who can support them with any questions will instantly make them feel more comfortable and part of the group.
Ask for feedback
To ensure that your program is doing everything correctly and continues to grow, it is important to gather feedback from your new members once they have settled in. It would be worth making this a regular thing in general if you do not already.
We suggest that you do a membership customer survey once or twice a year. Unfortunately, you could implement all the above, but you won’t really know what has worked until you ask the people who have experienced it.
Asking for feedback throughout the course of people's memberships will also show how much you care as a company. This is so important in order for your members to feel valued.
In conclusion, it is crucial to welcome new members and give them a positive experience in order to grow your community and retain memberships. Warm first impressions, designing a welcome process and frequently asking for feedback, are essential in order to do this.
By implementing the steps in this article, new members will feel valued and included from the beginning, creating a strong foundation for their membership experience. By investing time and resources in your welcome process, you can both increase the chances of member retention and build a loyal community who are invested in your program's success.
Remember, the work doesn't end with welcoming your new members - it's just the beginning of a long-term relationship that requires ongoing engagement and commitment to your members and community.
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