How To Attract New Members To Your Association

Posted by BeaconLive

Take Your Membership Growth To New Heights With These Tips

 

One of the biggest challenges faced by every membership association is recruitment. It’s a never-ending endeavor that’s a lot easier said than done. 

 

Membership in a professional trade association was, at one time, an expectation for all professionals. With the advent of social media and the internet, these expectations have changed as associations face a much more competitive landscape. 

 

Not only are there more associations out there to choose from, but many services professionals depend on a membership organization that can be found elsewhere. So you’ll need to adjust your association marketing strategies appropriately. 

 

To grow your membership organization and attract new members, you need to interest and engage a new generation of professionals. Let’s look at why membership growth is essential for your association and how you can attract new members to your organization. 

 

Why Is Membership Growth Important For Your Association?

Member retention is essential, but losing memberships is natural for any association. Each year, members move on from your organization. And it’s not always due to something your association is or isn’t doing. There are various reasons this can occur, including: 

  • They retire

  • They pursue new jobs in different fields

  • They go out of business

  • Their professional development budget is cut

  • Unknown reasons

 

As members leave, you must ensure new ones join to keep your membership rates up and dues revenue flowing.  Without new members, your organization may struggle to offer the same high-quality programs and support it’s known for. 

 

To ensure you maintain a steady flow of new memberships, you need to enhance your existing membership recruitment tactics. Let’s look at five ways to grow your association's membership numbers to keep your association moving forward. 

 

Three people sit around a laptop signing up for membership at an association

Photo by Windows

 

5 Ways To Increase Your Association’s Membership Numbers

No matter how large your membership association is, you should always look for potential new members. 

 

It’s no longer enough to simply advertise your association benefits. You must build connections with prospective members and demonstrate why they need to join your unique organization. 

 

Let’s look at five ways you can increase the membership numbers of your association and ensure a membership lifecycle that cultivates an engaging, self-sustaining community full of benefits and perks for your members. 

 

1. Communicate Your Association’s Value Proposition And Member Benefits Through Targeted Content

The best way to get potential new members to convert is to show your association’s value proposition. This refers to the perks and benefits your association offers unique to your competition. A great way to do this is through content marketing. 

 

Content marketing acts as a magnet for your association. It helps capture the attention of your target audience and demonstrate the value your organization can offer. There are many different types of content you can generate to attract new members, such as: 

  • Ultimate Guides: These allow you to dive into specific topics that your audience is looking for. These guides help establish your authority in the industry and help you rank online since customers will be looking for your content. 

  • Informative Blog Posts: Show off your knowledge and expertise with educational blog content on your site. This content should answer specific questions that your target audience has, and this can help you rank in search engine results as people find your content based on their unique search queries. 

  • Interesting Videos: Some customers won’t have the ability to read text-based content. This means that you can produce high-quality video content to engage with your audience as they watch content on their computer and mobile devices. 

  • Engaging Infographics: You can use infographics to share statistics in an engaging way to ensure your audience understands the market or show off specific industry trends. 

 

As you design content meant to attract new members, think about what they need to know to advance their careers, improve their workflow, or enhance their bottom line. 

 

Identify pain points potential members may be experiencing and aim to solve them through your unique content. If you can provide prospects with value through your content, they’ll keep returning to your website and view your association as a reliable source of information. 

 

You can also craft lead magnets to help support your membership recruitment strategy. A lead magnet is a type of valuable content, like an eBook, a tip sheet, or a template, that users find so valuable that they are willing to exchange their email address for the ability to download it. 

 

This gives your association a list of verified leads that you can target in future marketing campaigns that will convert these prospects into new members. 

 

2. Take Your Social Media Presence To The Next Level

Social media offers access to an online community of prospective members already interacting with your industry. It’s a great way to attract the interest of potential members and engage with your niche. 

 

Before you step up your social media activity, take the time to research which platforms your target audience frequents. This will help you form a targeted approach instead of stretching yourself too thin across multiple platforms. Choose one or two to really focus on. 

 

Develop a social media strategy that aligns with your association’s membership approach and existing marketing strategy. Help your members and potential members see the perks and valuable experience they can obtain from your association. You can highlight: 

  • Events

  • Online Learning Opportunities 

  • Recent Publications 

  • Certification Opportunities 

  • Job Boards 

  • Valuable Resources 

 

You can also offer a sneak-peek into membership value through snippets of discussions happening in your online community or benefits your members received from the association. This is a great way to set yourself apart from other organizations and build relationships with potential members. 

 

Focus on being conversational, relatable, and responsive to forge the important connections that drive memberships. Always respond to questions quickly and maintain a positive tone across all of your social media platforms. This will help engage potential members and show them that your association is accessible and welcoming. 

 

A group of association members sit around a desk with laptops

Photo by Campaign Creators

 

3. Utilize Incentives To Inspire Current Members Pull In Potential Members

Word-of-mouth recommendations are compelling no matter what demographic you are targeting. So leverage your most powerful asset to attract new people: your existing members!

 

There are many different ways you can ask your members to bring in potential new members, including:

  • Writing Testimonials: Ask your members to write reviews or record video testimonials about their experiences with your association. You can use these in your marketing strategy, post them on your homepage, and share them on social media to attract your target audience. 

  • Participating In A Structured Referral Program: Offer incentives for every new member an existing one convinces to join your organization. For instance, you can offer free membership for a year if someone brings in a specific number of new members. 

  • Hosting A “Bring-A-Friend” Membership Drive: Host a meet-and-greet, virtual event, or networking meetup and ask your members to bring someone who may be interested in joining. This will also help with member engagement

  • Pulling Together An Outreach Committee: Ask your most passionate members to form an outreach committee that will help spread the word about your association via email campaigns, LinkedIn engagement, and word-of-mouth recommendations. 

 

Your existing members can act as a built-in network of recruiters. Have your association management team reach out to members through social media, direct mail, or email campaigns to advertise incentives and encourage members to bring in new prospects. 

 

4. Host Events That Include Non-Members To Showcase The Perks Of Your Association

Typically, your association will offer helpful events and services exclusively to your membership base. After all, that’s what your organization is there for. 

 

However, you can host special events that are open to members and nonmembers. Offer special pricing for your members as an added bonus and hand out branded swag to help remind potential members of your association’s name. 

 

To take your membership drive to new heights, consider offering virtual events, like webinars, webcasts, and online conferences, to extend your association’s reach and attract new members from all corners of the globe. 

 

Create opportunities for attendees to network and offer valuable sessions that will help them learn more about your organization’s mission and how it can impact their profession. This is a great way to attract new members, offer value to existing ones, and take your association to the next level. 

 

5. Optimize The Path To Membership 

When a prospective member is ready to join your association, it should be as quick and straightforward as possible. Ensure the joining process is intuitive, frictionless, and fast. 

 

Begin by walking through your current website as though you are looking to become a member. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can a first-time visitor see the value we provide our members? 

  • Will new users know they are in the right place? 

  • Is it crystal clear what impact membership will make on their professional life? 

  • Can visitors quickly figure out how to join? 

 

Your association membership path should be painless and straightforward. Here are some ways to ensure new members sign up to join your association: 

 

Optimize Your Membership Path By…

How It Helps

Designing different paths to membership. 

If interested members don’t see a clear path forward, they won’t join. Design multiple ways targeted at prospective members on different journeys. 

Crafting short forms that only ask for essential information. 

Lengthy forms may deter visitors from signing up and make them second guess their decision. 

Offering budget-friendly monthly membership pricing. 

Initial payments in monthly installments are often easier to swallow than paying annual dues upfront. 

Offering incentives for joining your association, such as swag, access to educational events, or an additional month of membership. 

People enjoy free things, so offering perks for signing up will inspire them to move forward. 

 

The easier it is for new members to join your association, the more likely they will be to take advantage of what your organization offers. 

 

Use These Member Recruitment Ideas To Increase Membership Numbers For Your Association

Today’s association members expect immediate value from their memberships. You must encourage engagement and participation by offering valuable resources, opportunities, and mentorships that help them forge the path to leadership in their field. 

 

Take the time to enhance your member recruitment strategy. Soon, you'll see an increase in memberships as more of your target audience sees the value in your organization. 

 

Looking for a virtual event platform to support your association’s membership recruitment goals? Partner with BeaconLive for more ways to bring value and engagement to your members. 


 

Topics: Associations, Membership Engagement

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FAQs

How can I find new talent to recruit for my membership association?

Hosting a virtual job fair is a great way to scope out new recruits and entice them to join your association.

What are some popular types of webinars?

Types of webinars everyone is doing include eLearning delivery, association membership content, and member onboarding.

How do you grow a nonprofit membership association?

Encourage members to share your newsletter, offer club business cards to members, and keep your existing members happy to grow your nonprofit memberships.