Associations and member organizations must learn to adapt to the evolution in the business world if they really want to maintain relevancy and grow. There are two main reason why someone want to be your member: connections and education. But how can you be different from others? How can you attract more members?
Here are some strategies that associations and member organizations can adopt in order to get more members.
Increasing membership strategies
The most important thing to know, is that gaining members doesn’t differ much from any other sales process. You need to convince your members, that the return (connections, events, new business,…) on investment (either time, money, …) is worth it. It is that simple. How can you reach this?
Know why they are members and do that even better.
Every member of the association has a reason they joined. Discover what it was, what challenge they thought membership could help them tackle, and you already have the key behind member retention.
Ensure that you utilize the information to customize your services and your communication. You could launch an online forum where everyone discussed or conduct survey where you gather stories from your most active member organization.
Find out what your members are missing. And start offering that as new services.
To improve, you need to ask members what they want, what they are missing right now, the challenges facing associations and the reason they might possibly change their mind about staying.
These answers should be on your mind, with every decision you make. ‘What is in it for them?’
Ensure your organization gives relevant answers to the challenges your members have by offering new services.
Understand your (niche) market.
Knowing what is happening in your market, is always important. If you understand what’s moving, you can better anticipate what you’ll need to do.
You’re in a unique position. You have a lot of contact with and data about your members. Use this to create a unique overview of your market (based on competitive intelligence).
Adapt the services you’re offering or the members you’re targeting based on this information.
Don’t hide your community.
One final tip: your community is probably your biggest asset. Use it. Give your members space to make themselves public. Especially when you’re working with startups, an online directory, is a helpful services you can offer.