We talk about membership websites a lot - how to make them engaging, how to attract people to them, how to get those same people to return, etc.
But while all of those “how-tos” are important, they can sometimes require a bit of work. That’s why today, we’re focusing solely on the homepage. Your homepage is what determines whether or not people explore your site - which boils down to whether or not people join your association and whether or not members engage with you.
Very important, indeed.
So what makes a good homepage? What elements does your association homepage need? We’ve identified five:
1. Member benefits
First and foremost, your association homepage needs to incorporate - in some way, shape or form - your organization’s member benefits. But note: These need to be short and succinct. You may have 15 - 20 member benefits, but chances are, only about 2 - 3 of those really carry weight (in terms of whether or not people decide to join). Identify what those 2 - 3 member benefits are and display them prominently on your association homepage.
The American Marketing Association’s Atlanta chapter does a great job of this:
2. Upcoming events
Your events are of utmost importance when it comes to member engagement. (And member recruitment, for that matter. If your events are valuable and exciting enough, non-members will want to join.) That said, you want your events showcased clearly on your association’s homepage. Not all of them, of course, but the next two or three, for sure. Below those two or three, include a link to your association’s event calendar where members and non-members can get a full picture of all the meetings and events to come.
Note: With the right software and website widgets in place, you can get your homepage event calendar to update on it’s own. So let’s say you display your next three events and one of them passes. That lapsed event will disappear and the next one will show up. (Pretty nifty, right? And one less thing you have to worry about.)
3. Social media links
If you want members and non-members to follow and engage with you on social media, you have to make it easy for them to find your social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram - whatever you have, include a link to it on your association’s homepage.
The Florida Society of Association Executives has theirs listed/linked at the bottom:
4. Fresh, up-to-date content
One of the biggest challenges not only for associations, but for companies in general is getting people to return to websites. They saw what you were all about the first time - what reason do they have to come back?
Fresh, up-to-date content. And not buried within your site, but on your association’s homepage. Let’s say you have a blog or a new research study. Post teasers of that on your association’s homepage. Even if you don’t have a blog, consider adding an industry news section where you feature other valuable articles. The key here, though, is to update those blog posts/articles often. That way you’re giving members and non-members a reason to return. (And you’re showcasing a small portion of your association’s value upfront.)
5. PLENTY of calls-to-action
If there’s one thing your association’s homepage NEEDS, it’s plenty of calls-to-action, or CTAs for short. CTAs are words or phrases, like “click here” or “read more” that try to provoke an immediate action. But they’re crucial because they encourage people to dive deeper into your association’s website (and that’s step one to online engagement).
The four elements listed above should all have CTAs associated with them. Below your two or three benefits outlined in point #1, have a CTA that says “Join now.” Below your next two or three upcoming events, have a CTA that says “View full calendar.” You want to make sure that everything on your homepage has a purpose and guides members and potential members to take some kind of action.
Want more tips for engaging members and potential members on your association’s website? Check out our free guide, Membership Websites: The Mothership of Online Member Engagement, below!