The trick to striking the right balance? Instead of creating a plan just to promote your program, focus on promoting the value of your program whenever prospective members naturally encounter it.
That is, if your membership program offers incredible value to your members, then any introduction to your program is a natural advertisement!
Prospective members are much more likely to respond positively to a recruitment strategy that feels like a natural part of their interactions with your association than they are with outright marketing strategies that, in today’s media landscape, feel obvious and forceful.
So how can your association put this theory into practice?
Try these strategies, all made possible with the right association management software solution:
Bonus! Before you read on to the strategies, make sure you check out one of the best membership software providers with Fonteva’s essential guide to membership software.
Ready to recruit a fresh pool of members for your program? Let’s get to it!
It’s a simple concept: the more chances you provide for potential members to come into contact with your membership program, the more chances they have to decide they want to join.
Getting the maximum benefit from these opportunities for interaction relies on planning them intentionally, taking into account your existing members as well as your prospective members’ wants and needs.
To help your association plan the right introductory experiences for prospective members (that also benefit existing members!), we’re going to focus on two of the most common: online learning opportunities and in-person networking events.
What could provide more value to your members than chances to advance their education from the comfort of their own homes? Online learning opportunities present obvious value to your current members as well as prospective members you’re aiming to attract.
One of the most popular and effective forms of online education are webinars. If you decide to host webinars, consider the following:
Webinars show prospective members that your association values its members enough to plan special online learning experiences for them. If you emphasize during your webinar that members get other amazing opportunities like these, prospective members have no reason not to join!
There’s nothing like an in-person event to connect your association and its members.
Whether you host a cocktail hour, a charity run, or a multi-day conference, you’re giving non-member attendees a number of opportunities to interact with your leadership team as well as current members.
Through these personal interactions (as well as any materials you provide at the event!), prospects will get a sense of how valuable membership in your association truly is!
Keep the following in mind when planning your next event:
The networking connections or educational aspects of in-person events can communicate to your potential members how valuable membership in your association is.
Even aside from the professional value of membership, however, the personal connection of in-person events can convey the personal benefits of membership. We’ll dive more into that topic in the last section of this post!
Once prospective members have been introduced to your association, it’s time to give them some additional reasons to join. One time-tested way to boost recruitment is through members-only benefits.
Of course, offering any kind of benefits will attract new members to your association, but online-only benefits reinforce engagement where your association needs it — online.
Think about it: much of your association’s operations happen online. Members pay dues, purchase branded merchandise, register for events, and communicate to your team and other members online.
And with a sophisticated, intuitive member interface, your association software solution encourages members to see the online platform as an integral aspect of their membership experience.
Luckily, the right association software makes it easy to offer the most popular online member benefits, such as:
These benefits might initially serve as a primary motivating factor to join your program, especially for those who purchase a membership to get a discount on event registration, admission, or online merchandise.
But there is a great, intangible member benefit you can offer prospective members: a strong member community. Read on to learn more!
If your members feel a strong sense of belonging and allegiance to your association, potential members will be able to tell — and they will want to be part of it. This close feeling of community is the best advertising your association’s membership program could ever hope for.
Especially for large associations with members spread over a wide geographic area, it can be difficult to foster a strong sense of community among your members.
Just because it can be difficult doesn’t mean you should leave community engagement entirely up to your member’s initiative, though. Quite the opposite!
Instead, choose an association management software solution that makes it easy for your association’s membership team to actively promote your member community.
To encourage a healthy membership community, rely on the following features of your membership CRM:
The right association software will allow your association to establish the infrastructure for a strong member community online and off. While your work isn’t completely done at the setup stage, you present your members with opportunities to take initiative!
When planning your member recruitment strategy, make things easier for yourself by incorporating your association management software solution! We promise it will pay off.
About the Author
Jake Fabbri is the Vice President of Marketing at Fonteva with over 18 years of experience working in marketing management. He has experience with lead generation, content marketing, marketing automation, and events.