Growing Membership Associations

Growing a membership association can be challenging. As more continue to pop up, it’s even more important to create a strategy which differentiates your association and creates long term value. Here are a few tips and tricks to boost your membership and improve the overall membership experience:

  • 1. Provide valuable content and stand out on social media
    As an association you cater to a certain segment of society and it is important to know who these members are and how you can contribute to their learning and growth expectations. Content and social media interaction are critical components for converting prospects. Ensure specialised information and/or educational content on your website is easily accessible and provides answers while simultaneously stepping up your social media interaction. In today’s digital era, people, youngsters in particular, are increasingly tech savy and expect information at the click of a button. You need to be innovative on how best to harness the power of social media. Find out what platforms your prospects use and devise an association strategy that aligns with your marketing goals and the needs of your prospects and members. As an association you need to be mindful of “information overload” and the more curated and personalised information you offer, the better are your chances of being visible and standing out from your competitiors.


  • 2. Streamline the membership process
    From the moment someone lands on your homepage or registers for your event, they are a potential member; but the journey to membership needs to be a simple one. Consider how many clicks it takes a member to navigate from the homepage to the membership application process and streamline it as much as possible. Price is another barrier to joining. A tiered membership plan or a budget friendly monthly membership plan allows members flexibility and is more wallet friendly.


  • 3. Incentivize potential members
    Often you will notice visitors on your website are sitting on the fence in terms of whether to take the plunge or not and sometimes promoting a free event on your webpage, blog or social media is all it takes to get them to take a favorable decision. You need to do the same with your existing members, have a referral program that provides incentives and recognize their contributions on your facebook page or blog.


  • 4. Host events
    This continues to be the bread and butter for the association industry. The focus however needs to be on innovative high quality or boutique events. Moving away from face-to-face events and expanding into virtual territory is gaining popularity. Associations that have capitalised on this growing trend are seeing better results when faced with economic uncertainities. Online communities, webinars and podcasts offer an interesting mix of virtual platforms that associations can tap into extensively and use to their benefit. This calls for a change in mindset and a forward thinking culture which, once adapted, can reap huge benefits. Such networking opportunities will go a long way to enriching your membership experience.


  • 5. Choose association management software carefully
    The kind of software you use to manage your database can make all the difference when engaging members and personalizing your communication in the most cost effective, efficient way possible. There are many different software systems available on the market and there is no one-size-fits-all approach anymore. It would be prudent to spend time reading reviews and opting for trial versions to gain a sense of what to expect. Many of the association management software systems provide mobile apps that help members on the go stay connected which in turn leads to better enagagement. We at T8 Consulting use Wild Apricot for managing our clients as we like the easy-to-use approach. The platform provides an integrated suite of tools to handle job boards, financial/website/events management and the ability to design branded email marketing.


  • 6. Create welcome packages for new members
    This is a great way to engage new members in your community and if you have merchandise embossed with your association logo to distribute to newcomers, this is an instant ‘feel good’ factor and imparts a sense of ownership and belonging to the association. There are a few key steps in designing a successful welcome package:
    a. A welcome email which begins all future communication
    b. Digital membership cards – always a winner. However, it is worth considering replacing traditional physical cards with cost effective digital ones.
    c. Welcome gifts and discount coupons for events (if your marketing budget permits).
    d. Free or discounted guest passes – set a time limit and decide if they are to be single or multiple use.
    e. New member discounts – they incentivize newly joined members, prompting many to stay on long after the freebies are used up.
    f. New member events – new members often feel overwhelmed and disengaged at the start. By hosting an event, even just a coffee, can help them cope better, leading to improved relations.


  • 7. Offer career resources
    This is one of the best ways to drive membership growth. The career section is one of the top three pages clicked on by visitors to an association’s website. By creating a dedicated career resources page with periodic and relevant job opportunities, your conversion rates will undoubtedly rise. Employees are taking charge of their own career advancement and are investing in associations even if their companies are not willing to sponsor their membership.


  • 8. Maximize volunteer opportunities
    Volunteers help deepen member relations with other members in the association. This is a win-win situation for the association and volunteers. Associations can run more cost-effective and productive businesses by engaging volunteers and in return, volunteers develop new skills, expand their network and gain more recognition. Micro-volunterring is gaining momentum and successful associations are looking at a range of volunterring opportunities. Here are some examples of where you can use volunteers in your association:
    a. Community level – volunteers with specific skills or interests take lead in organizing events and workshops in their regions/communities
    b. Blog contributors – having a blog helps widen the reach and generates interest in your association
    c. Mentors – long standing members of your association can train younger members to take on key roles and responsibilities.
    d. Webinar hosts – using member volunteers to host and/or run webinars leads to better participation and engagement.

If you would like to talk to our team about how we can help grow your association membership, please get in touch via email or call us on +852 2517 8248. For more information on our services you can also visit our website.