July 15, 2016
Proving the value of your membership: This sounds fairly easy and self-explanatory. Your association offers great benefits and cool perks, this should be simple, right? If so, then why do so many associations struggle with this? If you want to recruit and retain members, then proving your value is critical. By offering unique benefits - you’re already halfway there. You just need to market and promote them accordingly. Feel like your association could use some pointers? We have some tricks to help you showcase all that your association has to offer.
In order to do anything: recruit new members, engage and keep current ones - your association will have to prove its value. What makes people want to renew? What are they getting here that they can’t get anywhere else? What is their favorite aspect of their membership? All these are questions association professionals must ask in order to assure members that their time and money is valued. If you don’t prove your membership, members will churn - or just not join at all. In order to keep them coming back, you need to ensure them that their membership is worth their time and money.
At the end of the day, different people value different things. One person’s favorite ice cream flavor may be the same one someone else hates. It’s all a matter of perspective. It can be difficult to prove the value of memberships when it differs from person-to-person. The best way to gauge what the majority of members are interested in is taking a look at your data. This is an easy way to analyze specific metrics that have been collected over a period of time.
In simple terms: You’re just promoting your association. Nobody wants to join an association and then have them go dark. Members want to be aware of association happenings and information so that they have the opportunity to engage. How you do this you may ask? It’s easy.
In order to know what members like (and possibly dislike) you will need to track their engagement. The easiest way to do this is to revert to your data. If you have an AMS, then this should be a breeze. Take a look at your events, which one had the biggest turn out? If you host an annual conference, which speaker had the largest audience? Take a look at what has increasing traffic. A great frame of reference is to collect transactional data to see how engaged members are. These items include: memberships, products, and various event registrations. Once you understand what your members like, you will be able to promote these items appropriately.
Now that you understand what items keep your members around - you need to promote them. Two words: Social media. If your association values member engagement, it should have an active social media presence. This is an easy, free way for associations to advertise the benefits that it offers. Have an event coming up? Tweet about it. Upcoming webinar? Share it on Facebook. To be effective, you’ll need to market the things members can’t get anywhere else. What are differentiators? What sets you apart? Once you have figured out the formula - you will have to inform your members. This allows members to see and understand why they are members of your association.
I can’t stress this enough - associations need to take advantage of social media. This is where your members live and they want you to join them. Chances are, they aren’t waiting by their mailboxes for a monthly newsletter - instead, tweet it. By constantly sharing what your association is doing on social media, your members will always be vigilant and aware. Association staff members will need to create and implement a social media marketing strategy in order to effectively prove the value of their association. Consistency is key when it comes to the social media game we play. It’s imperative to test and measure your findings through various analytics tools. You need to listen to the language of your members, and social media is answer.
The harder you make it for members to engage, the less you will see of them. If you have an event coming up, keep the registration process simple. If you have an online store, make it easy for members to purchase items. Don’t make them go on a wild goose chase, it’s your responsibility to guide members.
You may think that sending out a monthly newsletter is all you have to do to prove the value of your membership. Unfortunately, it takes a little more to get members fully engaged. By proving the value, you have the ability to increase recruitment, engagement and revenue. Members want to be aware of all the happenings that are occurring that they can’t get anywhere else - that’s why proving your value is critical. It’s time to prove yourself!
To get more information about retention, take a look at our blog, Don't Lose Your Best Members (A Lesson in Retention).