Thursday Buzz: Do You Have a Membership Blind Spot?

Don't turn off potential members by launching into sales mode. Also: So your online course failed. Now what?

Associations spend countless hours honing their mission, vision, and goals and then creating a communications strategy to get the message out to potential members. Considering all that effort, it’s not surprising that association pros assume that the group’s value to prospects is obvious.

This assumption is a major mistake, says a recent Association Success post. Writer Deborah Rodney shares a story about calling an association to ask about membership but being turned off by a representative who immediately went into sales mode.

“She began by explaining the various membership levels, dues, and benefits at each level and then offered me a menu of discounts that might apply under certain conditions or by certain dates,” writes Rodney. “She tried to pressure me into joining without any understanding of my interests, needs, or motivation.”

Without a clear picture of prospects’ needs, associations risk signing up people who may not be a good fit—or turning away people who would be.  Organizations “have a blind spot, because their overriding objective is to sell memberships,” says Rodney. “They don’t explain what differentiates the organization, what benefits it delivers, or what would motivate someone to join because they’ve made assumptions and haven’t bothered to ask any questions!”

Bouncing Back

How should you respond when an online course you thought was a great idea falls flat? According to a WBT Systems blog post, you have two choices: “You can either move on to other projects and leave this bad memory behind, or you can revive the course and try again.”

If you’re still in love with the course idea, reviving is the way to go, but you’ll need to make some adjustments. Consider whether you marketed the course effectively. The blog post recommends best uses for organic and paid channels. It also makes suggestions for improving course descriptions, pricing, and your platform.

Other Links of Note

Looking to increase your website engagement? shares a few ways to experiment with artificial intelligence to do so.

Make sure your new members receive a warm welcome. The Web Scribble blog offers up what all new member packets should have.

Nonprofits need donations, but the number of solicitations may be turning donors away. The Agitator delves into why an increase in volume leads to a decline in results.

(welcomia/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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