Whether you are an individual or a family, joining a private club is a thrilling experience. For some, the journey to joining can be a courtship that takes years, and for others, it can be more of a spontaneous decision. Regardless of how long the sales process takes, it's up to clubs to manage it – and once prospects become “official,” it’s go time!
You may feel like your work is done if the paperwork is signed, the initiation fee is collected, the membership number is issued, the welcome packet is distributed, and the new member is enjoying the club. But with smart personalization, innovation, and automation, creating a new member onboarding experience can pay off abundantly – for both the club and the member.
Why an Orientation Meeting Just Doesn't Cut It Anymore
New members are enthusiastic, excited, and motivated to learn what the club has to offer. The sooner you can get them comfortable with the “lay of the land,” the sooner they'll use your amenities, make dining reservations, sign up for instruction, and even tell a friend or two about membership.
The incoming generation of members are more tech savvy than ever, and they expect to communicate with you through a variety of digital channels. Including technology in your onboarding process will be speaking to them in their native language.
Here are some innovative ways to connect with your new members.
Create a New Member Onboarding Automated Email Workflow
There's a lot of information you need to send new members, but giving it to them all at once is like asking them to drink from a fire hose. Rather than inundate them at a drawn-out orientation meeting with hopes they don’t walk away glossy-eyed, create a well-crafted series of emails to give them the most helpful information at a pace they can react to.
Email marketing automation lets you personalize, pace, and incentivize all that new information without slowing the new member down. Best of all, you can automate the process to begin whenever it's most useful, whether it's while their application is pending board approval or immediately after they're in the books. With an email workflow just for onboarding new members, you can…
Choose how many emails your new member will receive and over what period of time. This is especially helpful if they're already visiting the club during the onboarding period – send them the right messages at the right time.
Give new members reasons to get out there. Include links to make reservations at your restaurant, schedule a sports clinic, or enjoy a complimentary fitness session.
Start mining for referrals (without being pushy). Take the lengthy referral process off new members' plates. Instead, include an email with a link to a page on your site that makes it easy to refer a friend. It's a quick, non-intrusive way to let new members share the love and grow your prospect base.
Create a Members-Only Facebook Group
You probably already have a Facebook page for your club – a public page where you share updates, photos, events, and other information about your club. But setting up and moderating a private group, where members can build relationships with other members, lets you build community within your community.
In a private group, members can share questions, tips, thought-starters, and passions with other members. Only administrator-approved users can join or be invited, so the conversation is safe, private, open, and easy to moderate. It's also an exclusive experience – an added benefit for club members looking to interact only with other members. As an added bonus, private Facebook groups are a terrific resource for social listening and monitoring member satisfaction.
Add a Texting App
Great customer service can make new members feel connected from the get-go. Incorporating texting apps like MembersText is an effective way to quickly welcome new members with personalized messages, easily communicate new member events, periodically “check in,” and give them an easy channel to provide feedback.
You can personalize this channel with information you gathered from the onboarding process, too. A well-timed text from the General Manager with a birthday gift (like a coupon or voucher) is a great way to delight your new member and increase dining room revenue.
New members expect a thoughtful, creative onboarding experience. With smart tactics, you can give them the personalization they expect while learning more about your members and even generating new referrals. That’s a pretty good win-win!