As mentioned in a previous post, my role supports member communications and engagement. In order to be successful as an organization, we need the right people to receive the right information at the right time.
In the agricultural retail industry where workforce shortages are creating major challenges for business continuity, talented employees take new roles with different companies often, making it difficult for ARA to maintain the level of data hygiene necessary to communicate its full value to members. If ARA does not have the proper contact for billing, then the invoicing will be a challenge. If we do not have the safety lead for a company, they may not receive crucial safety email updates regarding changes to regulations from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
If we do not have key decision-makers and contacts in our customer relations management systems, these communication breakdowns will create bottlenecks and barriers to information, thus leading to a decline in membership retention because members are not fully aware of the potential value ARA provides them through member services, education, and networking.
A need was quickly identified to proactively inform members from the start of their membership about the value of joining as a member as well as to capture key contacts for email marketing. I drafted two membership onboarding presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint, one targeted uniquely for the retailer segment and one for the supplier segment of membership, that could be completed in less than 30 minutes. The slides walked the main point of contact through a visual overview of the services, educational programs, networking, and advocacy benefits of joining ARA. The member then is asked to explain what they think will be beneficial to them based, and I follow up that day with a copy of the slides as notes and next steps for them to leverage their membership’s full potential including providing key contacts for information distribution.
This not only improved member engagement, satisfaction and retention, but it improved email deliverability, open, and click through rates, which were some of my key performance indicators addressed in my annual review. Even better, we are reporting an increase in leads and revenue from member services such as the online leadership assessment designed for ag professionals. Notes from the onboarding meeting were recording in Salesforce, our CRM, that can be mined as useful data going forward for targeted marketing campaigns and member research.