Raise your hand if membership growth is an ongoing challenge at your association. If so, you’re not alone. Membership recruitment and retention continue to be top concerns for association professionals.
But let us help! Check out these tips for overcoming some of those pesky challenges to membership growth:
1. Hone in on your top two (or three) member benefits
Your association may offer a ton of member benefits, but for the sake of marketing (and communications, in general), it’s important that you hone in on your top two or three. People can only take in so much, and at a certain point, a laundry list of benefits starts to look like fluff, particularly if those benefits overlap with the benefits of other organizations. That said, identify your main strengths and use those to really “sell” your association.
Amazon does a great job of this. If you were to ask people, “What are the benefits of joining Amazon Prime?” most would probably say “for the free two-day shipping!” Others might say “for the unlimited movies and TV shows.” But aside from that, the variety of responses would probably be few and far between.
That said, did you know Amazon Prime actually has 21 member benefits? (A million gold stars and infinite bragging rights to whoever can name all 21.) Amazon does list all 21 on their website, but you would only know that if you went looking for that information. They typically highlight only two or three - and that makes all the difference.
2. Prioritize your marketing efforts
For many associations, particularly small-staff associations, when things get crazy, marketing is usually the first agenda item to get cut. But if you want to maintain a steady growth at your association, it’s important that you remain loyal to your marketing efforts. Keep updating your website, publishing blog posts, posting on social media, etc. These are all great tactics for boosting search engine optimization, and the better your SEO, the more likely people are to find your association - and hopefully join!
3. Segment your membership (even if it takes more time and energy)
It’s easy (and often tempting) to want to lump your membership into one big group. (Our members like this or our members struggle with that.) But the reality of the situation is you have a variety of subgroups within your organization, and if you want to recruit more members and keep those members engaged, it’s important that you acknowledge (and cater to) those various subgroups.
Generational groups are a primary example of this. Your Baby Boomer members have an entirely different set of likes and preferences than your Millennial members. And similarly, your Millennial members have an entirely different set of likes and preferences than your Gen X members. Are you catering to those different likes and preferences? If not, you should be. Tips on how to appeal to/engage different generations at your association here.
Still struggling to grow your organization’s membership? Check out our free guide, Best Practices for Online Member Acquisition, below!