Build Member Engagement with these 5 Tips!

by andrew July 19, 2019

Every business needs customers, subscribers, referrers, and often members right? If you ask most successful content creators how they retain their subscribing members, the answers you receive will most likely relate to member engagement and just creating value. Engaged members are more likely to renew their membership, share insights on social media and be an evangelist for the brand.


What do I mean by the term Engagement?

At its most basic level, engagement means interaction. You can use tools such as social media statistics, Google Analytics and your membership management software to measure interactions such as:

  • Social media views, shares, number of followers
  • Clicks on social media links
  • Event registrations
  • Email list signups
  • Forum posts or comments.
  • Product purchases
  • Page views
  • Time on site


 MailChimp also describes subscriber engagement as something measurable: “Depending on your goals, engagement may be measured by campaign opens and clicks, social media shares, website visits, or product purchases.” Creating a spreadsheet where you track each of your key metrics over time isn’t a bad idea.


Ideas to spur more meaningful engagement with your members:

    1. Personalization
      According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. The open rate for emails with personalization was 18.8%, as compared to 13.1% without personalization in (Statista). Be careful about subject lines that are too long. Most users are checking email on their mobile devices — the subject line may get cut off. With impressive numbers like these, it’s important to know what options your membership software offers in terms of personalization.

    2. Segmentation
      Your membership software likely has a number of ways to group members. It will be good to know what types of businesses members have, or other demographics like job titles. The more specific your messages are, the more likely that the content will be relevant to the member. According to one study, segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue.

      Set up ways for members to classify themselves at signup — allow them to self-select labels or choose from drop down options. Standardizing the choices will be more useful than information that’s simply entered by the member into a text field. You can use this data to:

      • Look for trends to share. For example, you might learn meaningful demographic information about members (e.g. “40% of our members are CFOs”) to encourage activity in a subset of your online community if you have one.
      • Set up an online member directory so that members can network with each other. Members can have certain labels applied to help directory searchers locate specific skill sets.
      • Create and promote custom benefits, website content or event or course tickets for certain groupings of members.
      • Export specific segments of members for purposes of targeted email communications.


  • Offer incentives for interaction


Perhaps you want members to fill out their directory profile. If the numbers are impressive, tell them how many page views the online membership directory receives each month or tell them that for the next two weeks that they can add a coupon or deal to their directory profile for no additional cost.An alternate strategy might be to either reward or profile members who are especially engaged in some way such as an online community. The Facebook group Austin Digital Jobs looks for their most active members and profiles them on a regular basis. For some membership websites, members will be motivated to have their profile shared. For other sites, it may take more tangible rewards to promote engagement.


  1. Allow members to choose what types of emails they receive
    Maybe some members want daily or weekly tips while others just want information about a specific topic. Consider your email signup process; add segmentation fields so members feel empowered to receive only what they want. This will reduce unsubscribes and will increase engagement.

  2. Ask for a response — reply to the email or complete survey.
    Beyond basic interactions, member engagement is most effective when you think in terms of a two-way communication model instead of you simply pushing information to your members. Consider this: when you are in a good conversation, one person can’t be doing all the talking, right?

    Some members love to give their opinion about how you are doing. Be specific about what you are asking them. Subject line — “Are you willing to serve on our panel of experts?” Make the email read as if it is a custom message just to them. Personal asks warrant a response more than a perceived blanket ask.

    Depending upon the focus of your membership website, your members might like to see content such as:
  • Results of a salary survey in a slideshow format.
  • Information about industry trends that your website is in a unique position to collect from its members.
  • Statistics on the site’s activities (e.g. “We held 20 Facebook Live events last year reaching 5000 viewers.”) 
  • A report on membership demographics.

Consider designing a survey to collect information that your members would love to see.


Amy Hufford is a Technologist at MembershipWorks. She has worked in non-profit and association technology for more than 20 years and has experience with a variety of donor and member management software platforms.

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