It may seem like a good idea to close shop or pause your organization’s services since members can no longer meet in person, but this is the time when your members need you the most. Let’s take a look at three ways you can be a vital part of your member’s success.
- Provide opportunities for members to connect with their customers
- Provide a potential income source for both you and your members
- Provide a platform for members to share their obstacles and collaborate on solutions
All of these can be accomplished while practicing physical distancing with the use of technology.
Provide opportunities for members to connect with their customers
One thing we’ve all seen is how frustrating it is to be cooped up at home all the time. This creates the perfect opportunity for you to showcase members while entertaining the bored masses. Get creative with the entertainment value your members can provide while utilizing technology to connect. Your organization’s website can be a place where videos, classes and more are shared. You can allow your members to post their online events on a community calendar and/or create a page where your members’ virtual classes and resources are publicly listed.
Let’s take a look at some ideas that would work for members in different industries.
- Members can teach their specialized skills to other members or the public on topics such as how to set up remote phone systems, how to handle crisis communications or how to get the most out of Google Analytics.
- Clothes boutiques could offer classes on how to organize your closet
- Make-up boutiques could offer tips on spring make-up trends
- A golf shop or club could teach ways to practice your swing at home
- A dry cleaner could offer a class on removing tough stains at home
- An office supply store could offer tips and advice on creating a home office
- Restaurants can offer cooking classes for children or adults
Provide potential income source for both you and your members
You or your members can look at taking some of the classes to the next level in order to monetize them.
- Sell craft kits ahead of time and then host the class walking the members through completing the craft. This could be for adult or kid projects.
- Sell food kits before the class through take-out or delivery and then provide the class with directions on how to make the dish. One feature that positively differentiates a live class from a recorded video that one might find on YouTube is the ability for attendees to ask questions in real time. People are craving interaction with those outside their families right now.
- Members can offer more in-depth one-on-one consultations after a free basic class.
You are providing value to your members when you provide the platform for promotion and online registration. Consider whether you want to share class revenue or simply want to provide this service to members as a member benefit. There are a variety of ticketing options depending on your goals, including:
- Allowing members to attend for free
- Selling the classes as a package for a particular number of weeks
- Selling the classes individually and splitting the profits with the member who is conducting the class
- Taking donations for the businesses to give to their furloughed employees
- Allowing members who are hosting events to collect payments directly through your event registration system while using their own payment gateway (note it must be one that integrates with your membership software)
You don’t have to make permanent decisions now. Often it’s best to try different methods and find which ones resonate the most with your members. It could be that a combination of methods work, for example you just accept donations for cooking classes provided by the restaurants but charge a fee for the ingredient kits. Also read tips on how to promote an online event.
Provide a platform for members to share their obstacles and collaborate on solutions
Many people are struggling to adjust to the challenges of working at home. Continue to lead your members by creating a safe place for them to share challenges and ideas with other people.
Your organization can take formerly offline events like a happy hour onto the internet through a video conferencing service. The great thing about doing a happy hour over the computer is you don’t have to worry about a designated driver. You could even invite a member who owns a bar or liquor store to show how to make a few cocktails.
Happy Hour Childcare
It can be difficult for your members to enjoy a happy hour when entertaining their kids at the same time. You can create a separate online meeting where a teacher or experienced childcare provider could offer entertainment so members can enjoy their happy hour. Members that provide services for children would be the ideal candidates to facilitate such a session; they could provide tutoring, story time, sing alongs or other interactive entertainment. Parents could join the happy hour meeting by computer and use another device in the house like a tablet, smartphone or spare laptop to connect their kids to this second meeting. Please note there may be legal considerations when doing screen shares or activities including children.
Don’t forget to promote
It’s important to make a plan to promote the classes to your membership and/or the public. It’s one thing to set up the class and online registration, but without promotion, you won’t have attendees. In addition to your organization’s own efforts to spread the word through social media and emails to members, members who are teaching classes should be enlisted to use their own business email tools and social networks to promote their classes and perhaps those of their fellow members. If you feel like the classes you or your members are offering are especially creative, you might pitch them to local media who may be looking for “feel good” stories.