Increasing membership numbers should always be a priority—and these three membership growth strategies can deliver on that goal. Also: building an online community that encourages engagement.
No matter the size, mission, or goals of an association, increasing membership is often top of mind. Audra Hopkins from the WebScribble blog recommends these three growth strategies to boost membership numbers today:
Get your members talking. Word of mouth is one of the top marketing strategies, according to Marketing General Incorporated’s 2018 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, so invite your current members to share their experience. “If you can get them to share the stories that make their time with your association so amazing, you’ll be sure to pique the interest of anyone listening,” Hopkins says. “Ask members to send in a story or experience that made them realize they made the right choice becoming a member. Then, use those testimonials as marketing materials.”
Incentivize potential members. “If you can’t find a way to directly market to your interested audience, you may find it hard to attract a new set of members,” Hopkins says. “Consider creating downloadable content offers and checklists for your website visitors in exchange for a phone number, email address, or mailing address.”
Leverage your association’s career center. Your association’s career center is often one of the first places a potential member will go. “It’s almost as if your career center is the first impression you might make with many people,” Hopkins says. “If you can show them the type of value that being a member with your organization can provide, you’ll be sure to give them some insightful food for thought when they think about joining your association.”
Designing a Community of Engagement
Building an online community to deepen member engagement works when you know the desired behaviors you want from your members. Know what engagement looks like for your organization before you build your field of dreams. #onlineengagement #cmgr #assnchat https://t.co/zrMo2y4nLD pic.twitter.com/zDyvxSTvTr
— Community by Association (@CommunitybyAssn) February 4, 2019
”If you build it, they will come,” is not a philosophy that applies to online communities, writes Marjorie Anderson on Community by Association. In order to build a community that encourages engagement, you must understand what kind of participation you’re looking for.
“Inviting them to a site with the expectation that they will magically want to buy your membership or apply for a certification is not the right approach,” Anderson writes. “Instead, think about the behaviors you want members to exhibit when they visit that will offer value for them and for the organization. Will they be connecting to one another to solve problems? Is this a forum to get their feedback on your offerings?”
Once you understand the desired member behavior, you can set forth on creating a digital community with the right goals in mind, as well as a benchmark of measurement for future engagement.
“As I said before, just building an online community is not going to attract an audience,” Anderson says. “Offer something they can’t get anywhere else or, if they can get it somewhere else, the quality of that interaction is much higher as part of what you offer.”
Other Links of Note
A new year marks self-evaluation time. For nonprofit leaders, assessing work on a holistic scale will create the most accurate evaluation, says the Bloomerang blog.
Artificial intelligence doesn’t have to break the bank. CMSWire suggests starting with a chatbot.
Mindfulness will strengthen your learning program, says Jeff Cobb on Mission to Learn.