HBA Leaders Share Proven Keys to Effective Member Communication

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The most recent Third Tuesday Townhall — a monthly series of free webinars NAHB hosts to share strategies on building and supporting HBA membership — explored different opportunities to communicate the value home builders associations (HBAs) provide to members and the importance of having a structured communication plan.  Several leaders from HBAs around the country were guest speakers during the webinar and shared multiple ways in which they've managed to successfully stay engaged with their members throughout the year.   Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative  Rachel Dix is the executive director of the Aberdeen HBA, which currently holds a retention rate of nearly 93% (compared to the national average of 78%).  She attributes that number to staying innovative and using personal touches that keep her members connected.   Dix uses all possible channels to communicate with members. She even found success in texting as a follow-up to her emails and phone calls to reach people on a more personal level.   According to Dix, the best way to stay fresh in members' minds is to be diligent and "immerse yourself in the [HBA] community. Member communication doesn’t stop when [we] walk out the office door."   Marketing Matters  The HBA of Fort Wayne relies on informative marketing collateral to reach its members and get them involved. Executive Director Beth Johnson spoke of two important pieces of communication they give out to members.  One is a flyer that details membership perks on the local, state and national levels. The menu of benefits and discounts goes out in their monthly newsletter and in new member packets.   Another is a 30-, 60-, 90- and 120-day layout of what new members should follow to become acclimated with the HBA. Some activities mentioned include reviewing a welcome packet, getting involved in an event and committee and having lunch with another member.   NAHB’s Touch: Member Retention System  Around 20% of memberships lapse simply because the member forgot to renew. Shannon Amerson, director of member relations at the HBA of Richmond, uses a three-prong approach to minimize that statistic among her members: An ambassador program, a biweekly newsletter and the Touch: Member Retention System offered through NAHB.  [The Touch system] has helped make my job a whole lot easier,” says Amerson, who uses the system to automatically send out emails, letters and postcards to her membersI don’t have to worry if those members are getting those extra touches, because the system does it automatically.”  After putting these communication strategies in place, the HBA of Richmond’s retention rate increased from around 75% to 82.4%. Information about the Touch system and other recruitment and retention resources can be found in The HBA Guide to Better Retention. Click here to watch a replay of the webinar. And tune in to the next Third Tuesday Townhall today, July 16, at 2 p.m. to learn about NAHB’s retention cash rewards program, Attention to Retention. 

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