Hosting a New Member Orientation Webinar: 3 Tips By Callie Walker | Association Views, engaging-your-members

Do you host new member orientation webinars at your association or chamber? If not, that’s something you may want to consider adding to your existing new member onboarding process (which hopefully you have). 

New member orientation webinars are great for a number of reasons: 

  • They give you an opportunity (perhaps another opportunity) to communicate key info (Think of it as a supplement to your new member welcome packet…for those who maybe didn’t read it) 
  • They allow your members to ask questions in real-time 
  • They’re inexpensive (if not free, depending on whether or not you have the software) to produce 

Have we convinced you to start hosting them yet? Hopefully so! But keep in mind, for these webinars to be a success — for them to accomplish the goal of engaging your new members and getting them to further engage — there needs to be a solid strategy in place. 

Make your strategy even stronger by incorporating these three tips:

1. Keep it short 

When people think of webinars, they often think of the standard one-hour timeframe. But webinars don’t always have to be an hour, and in fact, for your new member orientation webinars, you may want to cap them at 30-40 minutes. 

The first challenge in hosting a new member orientation webinar is getting members to register and attend. If your new members see that it’ll only take 30 or 40 minutes of their time, they’re much more likely to register. 

That takes care of the first challenge. But the second challenge is getting them to actually absorb the content you’re presenting on the webinar. If you hit them with an hour’s worth of content, it’s likely to go in one ear and out the other. Keeping your webinar short and only covering the information that’s most important is likely to yield the best results.

2. Have an existing member host or co-host it 

As an employee of your association or chamber, you could say something a thousand times (“Our annual conference is a must-attend event!”), but the second someone else — a member, in particular — says it, it instantly becomes more credible. 

We bring that up to say this: If you can have an existing member either host or co-host the new member orientation webinar, attendees are much more likely to “buy” what’s being said. Think of it almost like a live testimonial! Plus, that existing member will know what he or she wished they knew when they were a new member, meaning they could provide valuable content you may not even be thinking of.

3. Do a walk-through of your website 

A majority of webinars feature PowerPoint slides, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. In fact, you’ll want to have several of those in your new member orientation webinar, highlighting key information. 

But that said, you may want to consider cutting to your organization’s website at some point and doing a short, live demo of the members-only portal. Show your members how to login, where to access the events calendar, how to join and subscribe to forums, etc. 

The quicker they can become familiar with the members-only area, the quicker they’ll turn to it as the resource it’s designed to be. 

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