The membership model has changed over the years. In an age of personalization and instant gratification, associations need to rethink how they attract potential members in order to reach a whole new generation of individuals. While often overlooked, there are simple actions that will not only assist in your association’s growth but also set best practices to enhance and improve the customer experience for your existing membership. Here are 5 tactics to grow your association membership.
1. Keep it Simple – Minimize the obstacles to joining
All potential members should have the ability to join your association with no obstacles in the way. Ensure that the process is simple, intuitive, and easily executable.
- Allow the joining process to be as straightforward as possible. If you have a potential new member ready to join, don’t give them a reason to hesitate by asking for every bit of information now. Collect basic information needed to process their membership. Ask for additional information later.
- Be sure your pricing is competitive and reasonable in the current climate. If feasible, consider different payment options like monthly dues rather than an annual amount; this is often more palatable for younger members.
- Be sure your online options work for potential members and test to ensure:
- Your home page is easy to navigate with first-time visitors in mind
- All links are working correctly and directing visitors to the right place
- Joining is a clear option that calls out the value of the membership to encourage and entice
2. Utilize Social Media – Be present and engage
It’s right there in the name, social media. Being present, engaged, and responsive is what will make your association stand out. Use your presence to not only promote the value and uniqueness of your association but provide a platform that engages and responds to existing and potential members. This must be executed with consistency to be truly effective. Use your social media presence to direct potential new members to your website, too.
3. Incentives – Enhance the experience with “what’s in it for me”
One helpful and often overlooked tactic for growing membership is offering an incentive to join. An attractive incentive can be just the thing to break down that final wall for those new members that are “on the fence”. Be sure the incentive is obvious and attractive, but also exclusive and unique.
- Offer a one-time discount to join by a certain date; this also provides a sense of urgency driving the potential new member to act
- Provide one or more choices to participate in an upcoming event including an online learning session or webinar; the choice is theirs, making it more attractive
- Create an internal referral program for your already existing network; personal testimonials from current members is an often-untapped resource
4. Value-Added Content – Provide specific, targeted material for lead generation
In any relationship, one of the most important things you will do is get to know each other. Research and identify what segments make up your membership now and how you want to expand on these. For example, are you looking for recent grads, entry-level, middle management, executives, and/or retirees? Identify and understand their content needs:
- What do they need to improve their current careers?
- What training and additional learning resources can you provide or refer them to?
- What are their biggest challenges and what solutions and direction can you offer?
5. Engagement with Follow Up – Second interactions equal members
Follow-up is a crucial factor in securing new members to grow your association. Studies have shown that follow-up interactions are more likely to lead to new members joining. Be sure to monitor all contact with potential new members to ensure they are engaged. This can easily be done through your online presence as well as reaching out by phone. Do not overlook or underestimate the tremendous opportunity that follow-ups will provide you.
Bonus: Contact Stansfeld, LLC Today
Attracting new members has changed over the years. As more options become available to potential members, it is important for associations to differentiate themselves from the rest and offer advantages that align with member interests. Contact us today to learn how we can help implement proven processes that will grow your association year over year.