Membership

Tuesday Buzz: Don't Forget Your Case Studies

By / Sep 6, 2016

How one association took a data-based approach to building effective, personalized case studies. Also: Don’t forget that you won’t be in your board seat forever.

Trying to boost your membership on a tight budget isn’t an easy task by any means, but that’s just a good reminder of why it’s important to focus on the basics.

Julie Thomson, the marketing and communications officer at the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), says that building out case studies on your website, like she did earlier this year, can prove an effective strategy for selling the value of membership to the audiences you want to target.

In a post on the Professional Associations Research Network blog, Thomson explains the process she took in formulating case studies—first, by building member personas that target desired audiences (say, young adults), then by finding quality images of members, and, finally, by combining the images with the personas—and asking those members to tell their stories.

“I believe that the best method here is to offer some guidance, without putting words in their mouth,” she explains. “For my case studies, I gave members a word count and a theme (career progression, business development, profile-raising etc.) and asked them to write their membership story in their own words.”

And the perks of this approach aren’t limited to just the case studies: “As an added bonus, case studies will attract inbound links, enhance your SEO and provide soundbites for other marketing activities,” she writes in her post.

The result is an effective mix of data and visuals, with a personal touch—and ICF’s thought process provides a translatable strategy that could come in handy for attracting new types of members.

You Won’t Be There Forever

Just because you have a seat at the table doesn’t mean you’ll be keeping that seat warm until the end of time. In fact, look at it more as a rental, suggests speaker and consultant Jeffrey Cufaude. In his latest blog post, Cufaude talks about his time, while in high school, as the state president for the Illinois Association of Student Councils—a role he had for only a short time, and one defined by a bursting-at-the-seams scrapbook he received when he took on the job.

“My job was to build on what others had created, add my contributions to it, and turn it over to the next person … both the scrapbook and my seat at the table,” he writes in his blog post.

Do you think of serving on a board in those terms? According to Cufaude, you should.

Other Links of Note

Reminder that it’s important to protect your email list: Subscribers to Variety were spammed dozens of times by hackers after the magazine’s email list was hijacked.

Stat of the day: According to comScore, we spend half of our time using digital media on a smartphone app of some kind—a jump from 41 percent in 2014.

Your content management system can’t work for you just this minute—it needs to be a good long-term solution. CMSWire contributor Ian Truscott highlights a few considerations you need to keep in mind.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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