How To Attract Members To Your Association


October 18, 2019

How to Attract Members to Your Association

Whether you’re the Chief Exec of an association or a membership-based organisation you’ll understand the importance of attracting new members.

Members are the keystone to any organisation’s success. New members bring in a fresh perspective, greater event attendance and can even take on new responsibilities such as secretary or an exec role. Key to every organisation is to stay relevant and leverage the power of new technologies.

Luckily, there are many ways your organisation can attract new members through the door and give them a reason to choose you over an alternative.

Here are some of our top tips and ideas to increase membership in associations across the UK.

1. Target the Right Audience

If you want to see high conversion rates on your marketing efforts, make sure you’re knocking on the right door. Tune your efforts to focus on areas where you’re likely to find a high concentration of individuals interested in your organisation.

For example…

Let’s say you run a nationwide networking association then you might want to consider leveraging your existing member base by offering them incentives to refer and nominate like-minded professionals to join.

2. Host Professional Events that People Enjoy

If done well, running an event is one of the most effective strategies for growing your membership.

Events provide a unique opportunity for organisations to build face-to-face relationships with potential members and communicate the benefits of joining a community of like-minded people.

Having said that, running a focused event can be challenging both in terms of time and cost. Therefore, it is essential that there is are clear objectives and results aimed at being achieved from the event.

Your marketing strategy for an event will depend on your target audience and size of your organisation’s budget. You will be considering where, when and how to promote your event to maximise impact.

The basis of your event strategy may include an array of the following; self-publicising through other speaking events, social media and paid marketing. One alternative you might also consider if you have access is using corporate sponsorship.

Once you’ve crossed that threshold and people are now attending your event, you’re in a much better position to engage in a little membership soft-selling. So now you are your No.1 advert for your organisation. Put your biggest smile on and engage with your visitors. Know your association values and where possible have our existing members to hand to support and co-sell.

3. Keep it entertaining

The secret to success when planning an event is to put smiles on people’s faces. Potential members will be much more likely to sign-up if they leave your event feeling inspired and energised.

Whether it’s a motivational guest speaker, a three-course meal, gift bag or simply a cupcake it’s important to mix things up and create some excitement, which will leave people talking about the event and wanting more.

4. Reward Existing Members for Referrals

Many organisations forget that their most valuable recruitment tool is right under their noses.

Members are a fantastic way to grow numbers and attract like-minded people to your organisation. Your existing customers may already have the right networks and connections at their fingertips.

Referral programmes are incredibly effective as customers value recommendations from their friends/known associates 2x more than strangers. So, are more likely to join your organisation if they hear about it from a friend or coworker.

If an existing member makes a successful referral, why not reward them by promoting their business or offer to let them speak at your next event.

5. Listen to Your Members

If you’re struggling to attract new members to your organisation, you need to rethink your approach.

You should encourage existing members to speak out and offer their honest opinions about what changes could be made to improve a member’s experience, its important to question whether your vision is clear, and goals are being met.

People like to have their voice heard. The secret to success is moulding your organisation around the needs and desires of your members. So, find out why they joined, what they expected and what they like/dislike about the association. In short get them talking about themselves, listen and then take action.

6. Urgency is Key

Develop a seamless sign-up process which makes it as easy as 1-2-3 for potential members to digest the benefits of joining and signing on the dotted line.

A smart way to increase sign-ups is to create a sense of urgency by offering on-the-spot membership discounts or free trial periods at events. This encourages people to sign-up while you’ve got their attention and you avoid losing potential members who may walk away and lose interest over time.

7. The Law of Attraction

Attracting new people to your association doesn’t need to be difficult.

Whilst many believe that people buy from people (whether on trust or appeal) this seems less believable in a world of self-service consumerism. Breaking the process down its clear that awareness and understanding of the service being offered, alongside believing there is a value (linked to cost) and the emotional conviction is what actually secures a sale.

We don’t want to think of memberships as being a ‘sale’ but they are, irrespective of whether there is a price or its free.

Start with engagement. Find out why they attended your event and who are they. What are important factors to them from any membership. What are their likes/interests – get them talking about themselves. What would stop them joining your membership. Armed with this information you can determine if they are likely to sign up or are just window shopping.

Make sure that you have a clear value prop in mind and leverage the power of social platforms to stay in touch and engage with potential members after events.

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