5 Ways Clubs Increase Member Engagement Through Text Message
You have to communicate with a lot of members, but phone calls and emails don’t work nearly as well as you’d like. So how can you connect with everyone reliably and increase member engagement?
I’ll show you.
Text messaging is the #1 way people choose to communicate, and it’s the most requested communications channel for clubs just like yours. This is true across generations (save senior citizens, and even many of them prefer texting).
How can you use this information to grow your club? I’m going to show you five ways clubs increase member engagement through text messaging. When you’re done with this guide, you’ll know how to connect with at least 4X as many people (and in a fraction of the time).
What does it take to text members professionally?
Here a few things you need to text professionally and keep your messages organized.
1. You need to be able to text from any device (computer, smartphone, etc.).
This makes it easy to manage texts during the work day. You aren’t chained to one spot all day, and your messages shouldn’t be, either.
2. You want multiple people able to view the same dashboard.
This way, the general manager and any other office staff can stay on the same page, and pick up on conversations if another user is tied up.
3. It’s best if you can text using the same phone number you use for calls (i.e. your main office number).
This way, members receiving messages from you recognize the number, and they can quickly reach you whenever they need. The number is probably already saved in their cell phones.
4. You need to be able to send one text message to all (or a portion) of your members at once.
This helps you quickly get notices and updates out. It works for targeted groups, like people interested in XYZ lessons, and for getting messages out to everyone quickly.
Text Request gives your club all of these options (and more). To see how it works, grab a time for a quick demo. Now let’s talk about how you can text to increase member engagement.
1. Send updates to all members at once.
Sometimes you have events or deadlines that you want all your members to know about. With a moment’s effort, you can make sure they each get your message. How does that work?
Simply upload your list of contacts to Text Request, add them to a group, and send your message. To you, it’s one message to hundreds or thousands of people. But to a member, it looks like any other personal message sent only to them.
Any replies go directly back to you, not to the group. This is great for fielding questions that inevitably pop up whenever you send a communication to a lot of people. It's also great for member retention when you send them reminders about your events. If you need members to register or RSVP for an event, you can also include links in these texts to make registration easier.
PS, there’s no limit to how many people you can text at once.
2. Text a relevant portion of your members.
Depending on your club, you offer various activities and programs. A few common options include:
- And all their corresponding events
You need to update people interested in each topic without annoying the people who aren’t interested. How? By building targeted groups.
Text Request lets you create as many groups as you want. You can take a physical sign-up list for, say, tennis lessons, and add those contacts to a group called “Tennis Lessons.”
You can also move contacts into groups steadily over time as you find out what each member is interested in, like “golfers” or “children’s events.” Or you can use keywords.
Keywords are a great way to build targeted lists of members that you can quickly share information with later. Members simply text the keyword to your number to opt into messages related to that keyword.
Let’s say you create the keyword “Golf.” You might then prompt members to join the list with flyers, emails or even a text saying:
“Text GOLF to (407) 876-8030 for updates on golf lessons, tournaments, and tee times. Thanks! - Bay Hill Club & Lodge”
A bunch of people will opt into updates, and you can text that group golf-related messages as you have something to say. You can also include URLs in texts to encourage people to register or RSVP for events.
3. Give members their preferred inbound communications channel.
When new members have questions, what do they do? They probably go to your website to find the answer or to contact your club. These days, 70% of online traffic comes from mobile devices, and those viewers would often rather text you than call or email.
Text Request’s SMS Live Chat let members text your club straight from your website to ask questions, get updates, or even book tee times and dinner reservations. It's a surefire way to provide the top tier concierge services your members want and expect from you.
4. Use your same number for calls and texts.
Communications work best when they’re easy and familiar. That’s why you should text members (and let them text you) using your current office phone number.
There’s a good chance members already have your main number saved in their phones, so when they see one of your texts, they instantly know who it’s from. This increases response rates, click-through rates (if you include URLs), and ultimately conversion rates.
Using the same number is more convenient for you, too. You already have that number posted and printed everywhere. There’s no extra marketing to do, and it’s much easier to get club members to text with that number than to introduce a new one.
This also makes it easier for members to reach out to you whenever they have questions. As soon as they have your number saved, they can whip their phones out to text you for updates, questions, or to make reservations.
After all, texting is a flexible communications channel that most people prefer to use.
5. Remind members to pay their dues and other balances.
Studies show the #1 reason people don't pay a bill is because they forgot. Texting members a quick reminder about an upcoming bill is helpful, and even welcomed.
Let’s say you’re texting about member dues. You can send a text to everyone at once, or just to your list of members who haven’t paid yet. Either way, you might say something like:
“Good morning! Just a quick reminder that member dues should be paid by 1/15. Here’s a link for easy payment https://bit.ly/MyClub Thank you for your continued involvement! - Catalina Island Yacht Club”
This way, you spend less time hunting down checks, and your members can quickly check off another task from their to-do list. It’s a win-win.
How can your club start texting?
Ready to increase member engagement? It’s easy to start texting.
First you need Text Request so you can do everything in this article. To see how Text Request helps small businesses like yours (and to talk to a real person), grab a time for a quick demo on our Demo page.
If you’re ready to jump in and start (there is a 30-day money back guarantee, after all), just sign up on our Pricing page. We’ll setup your office number so you can text, provide free training, and make sure you’re good to go.
And, if you’re already a Text Request customer and want some help, just contact us. We’re happy to help!