Getting Your Members to Engage In Membership Areas

There's one question that I think I get asked more than any other about membership… how do I get members to engage?

When faced with this question, I like to use the analogy of throwing your own private party.  It’s effective because it explains a lot about why some membership programs are successful and others fizzle out.

Let’s start with the basics:

  • You need a venue (your membership site/platform).
  • You need things for people to do at the party (your membership benefits).
  • You need an invitation (your membership offer).
  • You need a guest list (your members).

With those 4 things alone, you have what it takes to throw a party… and, for purposes of this analogy, you have what it takes to start a membership program.

However, we all know that some parties rock, some parties are mediocre and some parties are just duds. The same is true about membership programs.If you’re feeling like your program is just mediocre or perhaps has become a little dud-ish, there are some things you can do to turn it around.

Start here:

1) Make sure you’re throwing the right kind of party for your kind of guests.
Are your guests more inclined to engage with a festival, a block party or an intimate dinner party?  The feel of a membership before and after someone joins is essential. Did you ever get an invitation to something that you thought you’d love, but when you got there, it was totally not what you expected?  What did your members expect when they joined?  Did you deliver on that or did they get something a little different?  If you don’t know, ask.

2) Be a good host.
How often do you personally mix-and-mingle with your guests?  Do you know what’s going on in their lives, in their businesses?  As the leader of a membership program, when was the last time that you sat down and had a conversation with one of your members, not just about your membership, but about the issues that they care about and the things that are going on for them that are important?

3) Refresh drinks and add some new offerings to the buffet line.
Keep serving up the same-old things and party guests get bored. Every now and then, you need to shake things up. Invite a new VIP speaker, create a fun new game, showcase a member in a really cool way. Also keep in mind that the party is not about you. It's about the guests, so ensure that you are serving up things that will make your guests salivate, oooh and ahhhh.

4) Give party-goers a role.
Being a good host doesn't mean that you have to do everything yourself. How engaged are the guests at your party? Are they sitting around waiting or do they jump in to help – taking people's jackets, helping pass food, introducing people to each other? Is there something that guests can bring or contribute to the party? If others don't have a role, you're missing a great opportunity for powerful engagement. The more guests who actively take a role, the more welcoming, interactive and interesting your party will seem.

5) Do you have a line outside the door?  
Good! Be sure you let the line outside the door know that there is a GREAT time happening inside.  Let them hear the music playing and smell the wonderful food. Share your member success stories. All they have to do is pay the cover fee to come inside and enjoy the party with you. Be cautious about entertaining the line outside. If you are passing food trays and filling beverage cups and providing entertainment outside, there’s little incentive for them to come inside. Inside the party is a special place and you’d love for them to join you there.

Does this analogy resonate with you?

The party analogy is a great way to get your own creative juices flowing. Give some thought to what you’re offering party-goers… or if you're just getting started, what you want to offer people once you're up and running.

I’d love to hear what thoughts this triggers for you.  Leave a comment below to share.

Hey, have you joined The CircleWhen you're part of our community of membership-builders, you face no challenge alone. In fact, you'll be surrounded by a welcoming group of people who actually *get* membership. We have membership-specific trainings, inspiring challenges, an active forum, and supports that make it easier for you to focus on what's really important.  Stop by and check us out. We'd love to welcome you.


About The Author:

I'm Joy Duling. Since 2005, I've been quietly helping smart, creative, passionate changemakers launch membership programs. To me, membership is more than a business model. It's a powerful platform for uniting your unique tribe of followers around the change you were meant to bring to the world.  If you agree, let's connect.  #leadyourcause

Twitter: @joyofmembership
Skype:  live:jduling