Marketers will tell you everything needs a call-to-action. You must give the recipient something to do. If you don’t, they’re about as likely to do what you want as a kid is to clean his room on his own accord.
You’re used to asking people to join, and asking them to renew, but there are other kinds of asks that you need to master on behalf of your association.
How to Ask Your Association's Website Visitors
Every page on your website should have a goal and ask something of the visitor. This could be a call-to-action to join or simple guidance on the next step to take. Learn More About Membership links and Click Here to Join buttons are very effective.
The ask should correlate with the provided content on that page and be a logical next step. Don’t ask people to join prematurely. Ensure the ask makes sense based on the content your visitors are consuming. Also, don’t leave a new website visitor with nothing to do.
If you assume they’ll just click around your website and explore on their own, you’re overestimating the average person’s time and inclination. Want them to check something out? Ask them.
How to Ask for Volunteers
Very few people will volunteer for something on their own just because you posted it on your site or sent it out in your newsletter. Most people won’t even volunteer when you “ask” in an open call at a meeting.
For the most effective volunteer recruitment, you need to ask directly one-on-one, with direction (a desired position to fill) and a compliment. For instance, a very effective approach for help on social media is to say “I’ve been following you for a while and really like what you share.” Then ask for the help and be specific about what you’d like them to do. Most people will agree to help, refer you to someone else they know who has more time, or will offer to show you how they find content (as is the case in this example).
How to Ask for Referrals
Don’t assume your members know you are in constant recruitment mode. Again, a simple line in your newsletter is not enough to inspire action. But there is a fine line here. If you’re always asking for new members, your current members will wonder why you’re so desperate.
Instead ask for referrals. Compliment your members and tell them how your association is as strong as it is because of them. Then ask them to refer someone they know. Create a contest or offer a referral incentive, like a discount on renewal or a special service of some kind.
Ask for Engagement
Tread carefully as you can no longer ask for likes on Facebook but...you need to be asking questions of your audience. Ask them their thoughts, their preferences, what they would do in a situation. Questions spur conversation. Conversations build relationships.
Asking your members and potential members for the action you’d like to inspire, is the best way to ensure they get your message. As the saying goes:
“...If you never ask, the answer will always be no.”