As executives, you know that without your members, your association is nothing. However, despite the importance of recruiting and retaining members, only 39% of association advisers reported membership growth over the past three years in a recent survey.
Engaging and retaining association members isn’t rocket science—but it does take some effort. To boost membership, consider these three steps.
1) Know how to communicate.
According to a recent survey, only 29 percent of associations consider age and only 48 percent consider career stages when communicating with members. What does this suggest? That targeted, personalized communication is a huge missed opportunity.
When it comes to communication, quality overrides quantity. Think of your efforts much like a successful marketing campaign. Be clear, concise, and compelling. You have very limited time to resonate with potential members and engage current ones.
Additionally, it’s important to utilize the right channels. Remember, different demographics prefer different communication methods. While millennials are open to social media, mobile, and text communications (37 percent of millennials prefer text messages, compared to 15 percent of baby boomers) email still dominates across all age groups.
Know what your prospects care about—and know how to reach them.
2) Provide value.
While some executives and leaders may assume that members join associations for networking purposes, the reasons are much more multifaceted. In general, younger generations care about job opportunities and training, while older generations are interested in staying current on industry information and standards.
In fact, according to a recent study that asked why members are attracted to associations in the first place, 50% of millennials said job opportunities and 50% of gen-xers said industry information.
Ultimately, targeting specific audience’s rests in your ability to understand your member’s needs.
3) Encourage involvement.
As stated above, people join associations for a reason—they’re looking to take action on a specific issue. They don’t want to sit on the sidelines; they want to get involved. If you don’t foster involvement, you run the risk of members losing interest and dropping their membership.
Once you’ve determined why people want to get involved, it’s critical to keep members actively engaged. Below are some easy ideas to implement:
- Host face-to-face events for all members
- Encourage members to use partner offerings
- Personalize their online experiences by providing custom content
- Create member communities and encourage conversation
An increasingly popular way to encourage involvement—and inspire member loyalty—is by offering travel benefits. In today’s progressive professional environment, it’s important to offer more than what’s expected. And as more and more companies offer generous PTO, there’s never been a better time to offer travel perks.
Hundreds of associations are now offering a free Hotel Engine membership. We enhance membership benefit packages by providing members deeply discounted rates at thousands of hotels. Hotel Engine works like any other booking site, with the key exception that it’s members-only and your members access exclusive rates they can’t find anywhere else.