How to track progress toward your association’s member engagement goals

Reaching your membership engagement goals depends heavily on your ability to track key metrics.

Read on for ideas on where to look for insights into the effectiveness of your member engagement activities.

Michelle Schweitz, YourMembership Marketing Manager

By Michelle Schweitz, Marketing Manager, Community Brands


Your association probably has key goals for member engagement. Reaching those goals depends heavily on your ability to track, analyze, and act on member data.

But what type of data should you be tracking? And, how do you capture it and put it to work for your association?

One approach is to use your association management software (AMS) system to look at your various communications channels for insights into the effectiveness of your member engagement activities. Here are examples of four key areas to review:

  • Email
    Email metrics can tell you a lot about how well you are connecting with prospective members, new members, and long-term members. A few metrics to consider:

    • Bounces – This is an important one: If members are not receiving your emails, they are not getting your messages and likely are missing out on member benefits. If you receive a large percentage of bounces (more than two percent), or see your bounce rate rising, it’s time to clean up your email list.Start small by making routine updates to random samples in your contact databases. Then, put a plan in place to update your database at least annually.
    • Unsubscribes – This is another big one. If your audiences are opting out of your email messages at a rate of more than 0.5 percent, they’re telling you something. Consider that you might be sending too many messages and need to back off a bit. Or, maybe your messages are not useful to your members and more personalized content would be more effective.
    • Open and click-through rates – Watch your open and click-through rates over time to see which way they’re trending. If they’re trending up, your messages are likely delivering compelling, valuable content. If they’re trending down, you might have more work to do.Look at your best-performing emails in terms of open rate and see what their subject lines have in common. Then, drill down into your click-through data. Find out which types of links (such as event info, educational info, or organizational updates) are getting the most clicks. Analyzing click-through data to understand what content is catching members’ attention can help you further segment your lists and provide targeted content to engage members.

TECH TIP: Email campaign management functionality in YourMembership association management software allows you to quickly and easily create email lists, target email content based on a variety of member properties, and review key email response statistics.

  • Online member community
    Your online community is a hub for members’ engagement with each other and with your organization. It’s also a great place to look for insights about how well you are tracking toward your member engagement goals. Here are some ideas:

    • Review engagement trends through your online member community dashboard to see how effective your engagement activities are in helping you meet your key goals. For example, are your members connecting and networking with each another? How many comments and shares are occurring?
    • View news feed activity for members across your community to look for trending content among your member base. This information can help you determine what messages and content to provide each of your audiences for more effective engagement.
    • Think about your different audiences and look at metrics for each. For example, your engagement goals for new members might include making them feel welcome and ensuring they know what benefits they receive. Tracking engagement with a new member discussion group on your online member community can help you determine how well you are doing toward these goals.

TECH TIP: YourMembership association management software includes built-in online member community functionality to help you increase social and community collaboration.

  • Social media
    Social media is a powerful membership marketing channel, and it can give you helpful insights into member engagement and social networking habits as well. For example:

    • Look at your number of new follows. The direction it’s trending can indicate how well (or not!) you are doing at getting the word out about your association’s benefits and activities.
    • Look at the number of likes, re-tweets, and clicks to see if your content marketing activities are hitting the mark.
    • Read member comments to better understand what topics are “hot” in your industry as well as look for clues as to how you can better engage with your members.
  • Dashboards and advanced reporting
    One of the top benefits of having an AMS system in place is the ability to gain visibility into key metrics for your association. For example, set up the dashboards in your AMS system to include engagement metrics, such as log-in rates for your online member community. Dig deeper using advanced reporting in your AMS system to look at your most active members (those who have participated most in your events, online community, volunteer opportunities, and so on) and find commonalities that can inform your future member engagement activities.

Member engagement is your key to more revenue, happier members, and overall better health for your association. Be sure to track and analyze key metrics on a regular basis to help ensure you’re moving toward your member engagement goals.

Learn more
Discover tips on how to get members more involved and connected with your organization. Read The Small Association’s Guide to Increasing Member Engagement

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