Is your organisation embracing new ways to increase its membership? Are you ready to consider the latest forms of communication to engage with members and attract new ones? For many voluntary member organisations, getting their message ‘out there’ has often relied on it’s members spreading the word. In today’s world though, email and social media offer exciting new ways to communicate and engage with a wider audience. If your member base is declining perhaps its time your organisation re-focused its marketing efforts?
Identifying Your Marketing Goals
If you were to ask any organisation what is their key marketing objective, they will probably say membership recruitment and retention. Naturally, growth in membership numbers is important, as any membership organisation would not survive without a healthy member base. Yet there is a theory that voluntary organisations would be better focusing less on member growth, and instead look to engage with a wider community.
Whilst having paid members is important to the sustainability of your organisation, there are advantages to be gained by communicating your association benefits without the stipulation of becoming a member. Engaging with a wider community can lead to an increased attendance at association meetings and conferences, thereby increasing revenue from these events. They may also buy into any products or services you provide. As your value to them increases, they eventually become paid members.
3 Steps To Marketing Your Organisation
1. Engage potential new members: Keep your message clear and concise by telling them just what’s in it for them by becoming a member. Avoid the perception that it is difficult to know exactly what you are getting until you have paid the membership fees. Help them make an informed decision and set out what the individual benefits are, as well as the benefits to the wider organisation.
2. Make it easy for them to get involved: Open up your association meetings to non-members so they can experience what you have to offer without being obliged to become members. This is a good way of making them feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. Capture people in the moment – allow people to join quickly and easily online via your website. Potential members are often put off if they have to download PDF’s, print them and put pen to paper so a simple ‘Join Now’ button encourages people to take instant action. To save you admin time, be sure to connect the online registration form to your member management software. A service like PaySubsOnline.com allows you to build online forms that connects to your database – this helps automate the registration process and allows you to collect and reconcile payments automatically.
3. Leverage social media reach: Social media provides the perfect medium from which to leverage the power of your members networks. Creating an organisation blog will also offer the perfect platform from which to promote your activities, share content and engage with your audience.
Key Areas Of Focus
- Capturing attention: here it is important to coordinate different communication channels and use the right message for each target group. Move away from traditional marketing pitches and instead create authentic, personalised messages which are clear and concise. Try: Social media, eBooks, newsletters and email campaigns.
- Targeted communications: adopting a segmented and targeted approach to communications will help you tailor your message to each target audience, e.g. existing members, new members, wider community. Sometimes known as micro-targeting, using email applications like Infusionsoft or the group email feature in PaySubsOnline.com, will enable you to quickly and easily communicate your message to each target group.
- Market research: Survey Monkey, to discovering trending stories on social media with Buzz Sumo, you need to ensure your market research efforts will help you make strategic decisions for the benefit of your members and community.
- Adopting marketing technology and applications: these include applications such as membership database software, content management systems, email marketing applications and many others. Adopting such technology and systems can help educate associations in ways to reach, attract, engage and retain members.
- Integrating social media: although a key component in any integrated marketing strategy, be careful to use those channels which best fit your member profiles and personal preferences, not because they are the latest social buzz. Manage your social media efforts with tools like Hootsuite to help you monitor the effectiveness of your social media campaigns.
Voluntary membership organisations today face a number of challenges when it comes to finding and reaching potential members. However, with these challenges, there comes a number of opportunities. Through the use of online technology, applications and social media channels, it has become far easier to monitor trends in your niche and respond to changes in member behaviour.
To find out more about how Social Media can help your organisation, download one of our free Social Media eBooks today.