It's exciting (and a bit creepy) when you find who you're looking for right away online. But sometimes, a quick online search isn't enough.
There could be many people who share the same name. How do you tell which profile is the right one? Or maybe the person you're looking for is hiding from social media, and you can't find their information anywhere. Conversely, you want to find a service in your area, such as caregiving, but can't figure out who is certified when a list of names appears.
This is where a membership directory comes in handy.
What is a membership directory?
A membership directory provides a searchable list with details of all the individuals or businesses within a specific organization. So if you know someone who belongs to an association, you may be able to find them through a public directory. Member directories can also be private so that only members can use them.
What are the benefits?
Asides from making it easy for people to find your members, the benefits of a membership directory are numerous. For instance, by allowing people to connect and network, you’ll create a more engaged community.
Here are some other ways a membership directory brings value to you and your members:
1. It legitimizes your organization
Whether you’re a longstanding organization or a new one, member directories can help legitimize your group. By showcasing strong membership rates, advertise membership levels, and tout standout members and their accomplishments, you’ll also create trusted networking opportunities with others in the industry.
2. It can build your online presence
When an individual or a business in your directory appears in a search result, your organization will also get noticed. With more people going to your site, you’ll also build domain authority and appear higher on search results pages. Domain authority is part of search engine optimization, which you can learn more about here.
3. It helps your members or clients grow their business
Having a membership directory increases exposure to members within your organization as well as the community at large. If you have a chamber directory, you'll bring traffic and leads to your members from those who are looking for business partnerships, filling open positions, and soliciting individual expertise. It also gives your members intel on what kind of people are searching for the product or service they provide.
4. It can help your admins or staff
Your admins or staff would not only access your directory as a communication hub, member directories are a searchable tool that an organization can use to segment groups, track membership status, and even target communications.
What to include in your membership directory
The answer really depends on your organization. Consider what kinds of information you want to share and collect.
Either way, be sure to remind your members to review and update their information on a regular basis. This ensures that visitors to your online membership directory can easily get in contact with anyone on the directory listings.
Here are some of the standard information points you can include:
- Phone Number(s)
- Email Address(es)
- Social Media Handle(s)
- Join Date
If you’re an association, you might also want to ask for employment status, membership level, and affiliated organizations. For chambers of commerce, you’ll want to ask for information like business address, coupons or discount codes, as well as industry or sector.
5 Member directory examples for inspiration
In addition to our suggestions, we’ve handpicked some top examples from our MemberClick customers to help you make the most of your membership directory.
The Texas Nursery and Landscape Association makes it easy for visitors to find members in their directory and help them feel more connected to the community by showing on a map the location of their members. Its directory also features a custom certification filter so visitors can find just the right member for their needs.
The Bartlesville Chamber of Commerce encourages members to keep their profiles up to date by creating a compelling headline and breaking down profile information. Showing members both the basic profile and the enhanced profile shows the directory’s value, making them more likely to update their information.
Martha’s Vineyard took the extra step and categorized its directory even further by industry. This helps visitors quickly find who they’re looking for—it’s always a good practice to remove as many barriers for your site visitors as possible.
Pro tip: Add an advertisement to your online membership directory to boost exposure to both your members and potential leads.
Toledo Region Chamber of Commerce added a Minority Owned Business filter which is a growing factor in consumers’ decision-making process.
Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce adds more credibility to their directory by including logos and icons of certified providers. Members and visitors alike will notice accredited affiliations and see your organization as a reputable source of information.
Ideas for promoting your directory
Once you have your membership directory published on your site, the next step is to promote it. Here are some ways to get started:
- Include members’ social handles (if provided) by tagging them
- Encourage your board members to share the directory with their network
- Mention the online membership directory at social events
- Make the most of your keywords for search engines in your category descriptions to get more traffic to your website.
- Think about what people would search to find the listings on your membership directory
- Use this free keyword search tool for more ideas
Having a complete and up-to-date directory will help keep your community engaged, increase membership retention, and boost your online presence. MemberClicks can help you build a successful membership directory and so much more. Get in touch with us to see how we can help your organization reach its goals.