Are You Making These Five Big New Member Onboarding Mistakes?

When it comes to engaging your new members, an effective onboarding process sets the stage for long-term success.

It represents your golden opportunity to highlight all that you have to offer and the many ways that you can help newcomers take advantage of these perks. Go beyond simply welcoming people; start off on the right foot by immediately providing readily apparent benefits so they know their choice to join was a good one. For example, rather than leaving new folks to stumble through your site, enhance their experience by gently guiding them along their initial steps.

As you assess your current new member onboarding strategy and consider ways to improve it, here are five big mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Overwhelming them with too much information.
If you try to cram every possible detail into one lengthy welcome email, it’s bound to feel overwhelming or go unread. Instead, why not create a short and sweet “welcome email series”? Break down all the key facts into several short messages that new members will receive incrementally after they join. In each, highlight one of the many ways your association brings value to them, such as key resources, upcoming events, organizational information, explanations of benefits, and the like.

Mistake #2: Disregarding the power of great visuals.
People love videos! Not only are they easy and inexpensive to produce, they also capture viewers’ attention in a way that static words on a page simply can’t match. Plus, they’re reusable and can dramatically enhance the overall traffic to your website, driving revenues through the roof. A member onboarding video is a great way to interact with new folks and teach them all about your association. You could explain how to utilize your association’s site, for example, and show them how to log in, where to find special offers, and what types of benefits they can enjoy online. Or, you may decide to create an introductory video that shares more about your association and its mission. You could incorporate messaging about your culture and share interviews with your staff and other members.

Mistake #3: Going generic.
Whether it’s in your emails or on your website, personalization is a great way for new members to feel connected to your community. You don’t want to miss this opportunity because it provides the foundation for greater engagement and retention in the future. People tend to join membership organizations for one key compelling reason. Identify what drove each of your new members to join and then be sure to reference that important factor throughout your onboarding messaging. Taking the time to segment and personalize as much as possible is an effort that will pay off in the long run.

Mistake #4: Missing the opportunity to make them feel appreciated and acknowledged.
Publicly celebrating new members is a great way to welcome them into your community. Mention them via email blasts, in your newsletter, and through social media, too. By recognizing newcomers in this way, you’ll amplify the value of their membership and confirm that they made the right choice by joining your organization.

Mistake #5: Lack of follow up.
Your onboarding program sets the tone for new members, but that doesn’t mean engaging with them should stop once they’ve been around for a while. Sustain the momentum with other personalized touches to keep your members feeling engaged, connected, and valued for the long term. It’s probably not surprising that this often where membership organizations slip up. But follow-up is crucial because if you can identify early on whether or not your new members are happy with their decision to join your association, you will be able to accurately predict how likely they will be to renew. If they aren’t happy, it gives you an opportunity to do whatever you can to improve their experience. An email survey is one common follow-up approach, but if you can chat with people directly, that’s even better.

For over 20 years, IBC has been helping associations, unions, and non-profits drive member engagement with state-of-the-art strategies and innovative iMIS software solutions. To find out how we can deliver for your membership organization, please contact our helpful professionals today. 

About IBC: At IBC, we have a deep understanding of the critical business needs and processes specific to associations, non-profits, and unions. We ‘get’ your culture, your goals, and what drives you, too. Focused exclusively on and dedicated to delivering the most effective AMS , LMS , and Cloud Financial Software for our clients, we’re well-versed in identifying and applying the integration techniques that will save you time and money. Since 2001, our cutting-edge products, unparalleled responsiveness, and award-winning services have helped organizations like yours increase their operational and financial performance by leveraging best practices and proven solutions. For more information about IBC, please visit the website at or call 443.603.0215.

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