Associations are always looking to increase their membership numbers. Over the past several years many associations have reported it has become harder and harder to attract and retain new members. Advancements in technology have made it easier for people to stay connected and younger generations have turned to social media fostering their skeptical attitude about the need and benefit of joining other venues.
As a result, the beginning of 2019 is a good time for associations to consider their approach to marketing this year and for the future. Associations, like workplaces, are dealing with engaging Millennials, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, etc. and need to understand their motivations and decision-making processes. In many respects, membership is a sales process; you’re looking to recruit professionals by initialing connecting with them and then creating a long-lasting relationship.
To do this associations must be able to prove their value to those they’re trying to reach. This requires spending time with whatever data you have collected on members thus far. Taking a quick assessment of general demographics is a start and then try digging a little deeper to see if you can determine the initial method for bringing them in as well as information regarding their renewal methods.
Having a general understanding of your current recruitment and retainment efforts will help in the development of your new approach to create awareness for your organization. Here are five tactics to grow your membership this year:
Understand your niche for better personalization
While your mission statement may take a broad stroke to encourage participation, your marketing methods need to target specifically who your association can best serve. You may even want to look at your competitors so you can determine what’s missing in your industry and create some experiences and services around these areas.
Now you can provide more personalized messaging in your email and display ad tactics with specific information that is relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. With the data work you did initially and this added level of smart intelligence you’ll be able to achieve a better relational dimension in every phase of the marketing cycle to boost membership.
Research membership needs
Every association’s depth of data varies as does their marketing budgets. Dollars spent blanketing information about your organization wherever you can spread it, isn’t going to be effective today. Spending some resources on research will be worth it. Try developing a quick online survey to current members and see what they like and what is missing from your association. Addressing concerns your current members have will bring you to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question from prospective members.
Create content that markets the value of your association
Now you need to create quality content that is relevant to prospective members in every phase of the purchasing/joining phase of the journey. The content can take many forms. Consider a few quick member interviews that you turn into video clips for your website, an infographic with interesting information to your industry, or a blog that includes guest writers from your association.
Reach out through social media
Association marketers need to be well-versed in how to utilize LinkedIn. You can initially use LinkedIn Premium’s advanced search capabilities and In-mail messaging tool to identify and connect with potential industry professionals who might benefit from your association. The content you have created will come in handy on LinkedIn as you can regularly post association articles in larger industry groups to gain notice and traction for your organization. The larger and more focused your LinkedIn group grows the more payoff you get, as LinkedIn’s automated recommendation engine begins to identify users with matching interest and recommends your group/association to them.
Set up metrics & revise
Track and analyze each tactic you implement so you can retool or stop using a method that isn’t producing results. In this era of real-time information and engagement you’ll see within a couple months how a tactic is performing. Keep collecting data and integrating it into your approach so your association’s value is continually communicated.
You’re on your way to better recruiting in 2019. Don’t want to take a wrong turn? Contact Modern Marketing Partners to help with all your association marketing needs.
Mission Critical Marketing for Associations
Our bundled and custom association marketing solutions help you increase member engagement, acquire new members, drive event participation, recruit sponsors or donors, and more. Nationally recognized Modern Marketing Partners can manage specific marketing initiatives, or be your turn-key marketing department, all on a reasonable subscription fee basis. So you can focus on what really matters: your mission. Contact MMP today to learn more!