Just about every company and organization has an off season. There’s an off season for travel destinations, sports teams, retailers, etc. It just comes with the territory. (You can’t be hustling and bustling with offerings and events all the time.)
But that’s okay! Even during your slower seasons, you can still do things to keep your members interested and engaged. Below are just a few ideas:
1. Promote what’s to come
Your organization may not have a lot going on now, but that’s likely to change in due time. Get your members (and prospects) excited by promoting what’s down the road: your upcoming events, a new member benefit, a new course you’re offering, etc.
How do you actually get members excited? If it’s an event you’re hosting, tease the location! Post fun facts about the location on social media, things to do and places to eat, etc. If the content is good, your members will likely “like” it, share it, and/or comment on it - and that’s exactly what you want!
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) does a great job of this with their Annual Meeting & Exposition. Even though the conference takes place - you guessed it - only once a year, they post fun and interesting content on social media throughout the year to get people excited.
ASAE’s 2019 Annual Meeting & Exposition will be held in Columbus, Ohio, and this is the type of content they’re publishing:
I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly pumped to attend! (Retweet!)
2. Reflect on what happened
Your members may have to wait a few months for your next event or a year for your next conference, but that’s not to say they can’t engage with you by reflecting on past events or even past accomplishments.
Think about football, for example (or any sport, for that matter). How do they keep fans engaged when the season is over and won’t begin again for months? Often, they highlight what happened last season: top plays, top stats, etc.
Being from Atlanta, I’m obviously an Atlanta Falcons fan, and now that the season is over, they’re posting content like this one their Instagram page:
This keeps fans engaged and the Falcons top of mind, even when games aren’t being played. Your association can do this, too! Post attendance stats from your last conference, or even just fun pictures from your last conference. This is enough to keep your members engaged until things really get going.
3. Offer a special or discount
Sometimes, off seasons are caused by the company or organization in charge. Take music festivals, for example. They only happen once a year and that’s intentional. (Few people could really afford to host and/or attend two big festivals in one year.) But sometimes, off seasons are a result of the target market. Maybe things are slow because it’s summer and people are on vacation. How do you keep engagement flowing then?
Try offering some type of time-sensitive special or discount. A “summer steal” on one of your webinars. Or a Valentine’s Day voucher, good the whole month of February. Get creative and give people an incentive to act.
The good thing about off seasons is they’re just temporary. Things WILL ramp up! For more tips on engaging your members throughout the year - both when things are busy and when times are slow - check out our free guide, Membership Engagement for Small-Staff Associations!