Members can be hard to come by these days, especially younger ones. Many professionals feel they have everything they need between networking (in college or on the job), Linkedin and other social networks.
These same professionals value their time and are pushing for better work life balance. Similarly, they aren’t looking for things to take up even more of their time. Recruiting new members of any age takes work, but your younger ones will be your biggest challenge.
Step 1: Create the Value
Members want to be a part of something that brings value to their lives and that of others; providing value helps attract and retain members. These are your member benefits. If you are an established association, you already offer many benefits to your members. However, you may need to remind yourself of these benefits to effectively communicate them to prospective members. Take time to sit down and write out all of the reasons to join your association. Ask others to brainstorm and write down anything even if it seems far-fetched. You have now created your value proposition.
Step 2: Communicate the value
No business or association can survive without marketing and explaining your value proposition is key. If professionals know about your association but are unclear or unconvinced of its purpose or the value they will get from a membership, then they likely won’t ever become members. Now is the time to educate on the value of being a member. All of those ideas you have written down become the image of your association. In short, be creative and tell professionals what a membership with your association will do for their professional development.
Step 3: Show the Value
It doesn’t stop with telling professionals about your association and benefits.. Demonstrate the value behind your member benefits. If you can show how these benefits will help them get results, you overcome many objections they may have had about taking the plunge. There are numerous ways to do this. You can use current member testimonials, job board statistics, member satisfaction statistics, or anything you have that shows the value they will gain from a membership.
Step 4: Prove the value
Prospective members want to be sure their investment is going to provide value. They may need more convincing beyond just showing them the value. You can spoon feed your audience statistics all day but if they become a member and have a different experience than what was expected, you won’t keep that member. The same goes for word of mouth about your association. If members are unhappy with the association and/or the benefits offered, they may share their experience with others. Start by making sure your current members are satisfied with your association. Next, you can offer additional benefits to prospective members to prove that you are valuable. These benefits could include a trial to check out content exclusive to members or events for members and nonmembers to mingle.
Above all, this is a great opportunity to assess your association and decide what could be improved upon. These steps are something that can be repeated periodically to ensure your association is providing the best experience for prospective and current members.