April 6, 2016

Could Incentive Marketing Help Your Association

Could Incentive Marketing Help Your Association

Do you think you’re doing everything you can to improve your association? Talk about a heavy question...We know that it takes a lot of effort and resources to keep members engaged and happy. Have you taken a look at your marketing efforts lately? Do they include any incentives, discounts or contests? If not, they should. These initiatives add a fun, flair to your organization that not only keeps members engaged, but ensure their loyalty. Everyone loves a discount, and this includes your members. Incentive marketing is a great way to entice members to renew memberships, recruit new members and engage them in association programs.

What Is Incentive Marketing & How Can It Help?

Everyone loves a good sale. Think about the last time you went to your favorite store during any holiday. Chances are, you ended up buying much more than you originally intended, because who can pass up a discount? It’s no secret that stores like the prey on the weak, like myself. There’s no such thing as too much of a discount.

Associations can use incentive marketing to attract new members and engage the ones they already have.

Whether it’s offering a discount or promoting a contest, these efforts create a sense of comradery and friendship. Associations don’t have to be all business, it doesn’t hurt to add some old-fashioned fun to your membership experience. Depending on the incentive, associations can see an increase in engagement, loyalty, recruitment and renewals. Membership is the most stable part of an association’s revenue, shouldn’t you do all you can to increase it?

Different Types of Incentives

Discounted Renewals

There are many different ways you can utilize the power of discounts. Most commonly, associations will give members a discounted rate if they join/renew by a certain date. However, there are some alternatives you can use:

  • Pay dues for first-time members who complete a certification program
  • Offer a discounted rate for student members
  • Create an installment plan for renewals, offering montly or quarterly option plans
  • Create an installment plan for new members, giving them flexible payment options
  • Give-away prizes if members join/renew by a certain date

Members love being in charge of their membership experience. By giving them the option to receive discounted rates or alternative payment plans, you are giving them the luxury of choice. Timing is very important when it comes to discounts. Don’t use them too frequently, as the value of membership may be questioned. It’s ok to be a little coy with them, as members will know that it's a limited-time offer.


Kids aren’t the only ones who love a good contest. Members love the idea of competing with their peers to win something: anything. These contests can increase member engagement, recruitment and retention. Take advantage of your members’ competitive spirits. Contests tempt members to participate, which increases member engagement. Use your creative-side and show members your association’s personality. There’s no right or wrong way to host a contest; however, we have a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Make contests members-only. Associations can then share information regarding the contest on their social media pages, including instructions to join/renew
  • Get recruitment help from your members with a nomination contest. Prizes will be given to the member who has the most new members join

This might not be the most conventional marketing effort, but it’s an effective one. When it comes to creating a contest, you can’t go wrong. Members will appreciate the effort taken to provide them with some fun.

When thinking of new ways to increase membership, offering discounts and contests may not be on the top of your list. However, these unconventional methods allow members to see your association’s personality, while getting them involved. Do you think your organization could benefit from using these initiatives?

Want to learn more? Check out our resource library!.