“The best way to grow your association is for your members to do it for you.”
That was a quote that marketing and customer experience expert Jay Baer lead with on his recent ESSAE and GSAE sponsored webinar, “Talk Triggers: Turn Your Members into Volunteer Marketers” - and boy, we couldn’t agree more.
Did you know that HALF of ALL purchases are influenced by word of mouth? HALF!
And if that’s not thought-provoking enough, it’s even more significant among younger generations (you know the two) simply because they trust what they hear from each other far more than what they hear from organizations and brands.
What this tells us is, putting a referral program in place is more important now than it’s ever been. As these generations grow into leadership (and, therefore, decision-making) roles and start to become more ingrained in their (and your) industry, word of mouth marketing (WOMM) will become a necessary part of everyone’s strategy.
A change of marketing mindset
During the webinar, Baer noted that “competency doesn’t create conversations.” Competency IS important - it keeps your members and certainly has an impact on renewal - but people aren’t going to talk about what we’re supposed to do, even if we execute it well.
It’s just not compelling enough to tell a story about, and a good story is what you need in order to capitalize on WOMM and really skyrocket membership growth.
So when it comes to your marketing strategy, instead of focusing on telling your prospective members what you do and why they should join it’s time to start thinking about how to inspire your members to do that for you.
That’s where talk triggers come in
Baer defines a talk trigger as an “unconventional, operational choice that causes conversation.” He’s written an entire book around the concept, but what it basically boils down to is actually operationalizing the small ways that you go above and beyond the “typical” member experience.
Now, you probably already do a lot of these things on a one-off basis: flowers sent to a member who recently experienced a loss. A congratulatory cookie arrangement for a big promotion. That kind of thing.
And it’s typically met with surprise and gratitude, right? And we’re willing to bet they tell the story to a colleague, too. So by intentionally developing those small touches and executing them on a larger scale, the conversations (and recommendations to join) will start REALLY flowing.
Four talk trigger “musts”
According to Baer, start to identify (or create) your talk triggers by adhering to a set of parameters. All talk triggers must...
Be remarkable. Give your members a story worth telling. Your talk trigger should be something that your members won’t expect and just HAVE to tell someone about.
Be repeatable. We’re operationalizing them, right? Your talk trigger should be something you can repeat for all members across the board, so you can get as many people telling a story about you as you can.
Be reasonable. This isn’t about shock and awe, people. Your talk trigger should be a sweet surprise - not something so extraordinary that it seems too good to be true. (And that you couldn’t repeat for everyone - must #2!)
Be relevant. A talk trigger will work best when it makes sense in the context of who you are and what you’re about - aka, YOUR MISSION! How can you incorporate small touches along the member journey that align with your mutual values?
It all boils down to the experience your member has, and the story they’ll tell about it. If you can build that idea out and into a sustainable program, membership growth will go a long way.
And while we’re on the subject, we were hoping that YOU might be willing to tell a story about US! We’re currently running a promotion where if you refer an organization that would benefit from using a MemberClicks AMS, and they sign on by October 31, they get $500 off setup and YOU get a $750 gift card!
We’ll handle reaching out to the contact you recommend - but we sure as heck wouldn’t mind it if you tell them your story, too! To submit your referral, click below: