By Colleeen Bottorff
Your organization does a lot to grow its membership — you host events, send emails, post to social media, etc. But when you think about it, ALL of those things, in some way or another, point back to one place: your website.
A membership website is the central hub for acquiring, engaging, and retaining members, making it arguably the most important tool an association or chamber has at its disposal. You know you NEED a website (nearly every organization does) but let’s take a step back and remember exactly why it’s important to keep yours in tip-top shape:
1. It showcases organizational value
When you’re researching a new product or service, what’s the first thing you typically do? Like most, you probably hit the web and start looking at company websites. It’s the natural first step these days, so you know your potential members are doing exactly that, too.
Your organization’s website is the best place to demonstrate membership value because you have all the room you need and complete control over how that value is depicted. You’ll want to hone in on one membership value proposition for the top of the home page (somewhere prospective members CAN’T miss it) with things like member testimonials, resources, benefits, events, and more throughout the entire website.
2. It hosts the online membership join form
Once a prospective member lands on your website, you want them to do one thing: join! The fact that your membership join form — that final step — lives on your website makes it all the more important. Plus, the information they share on that join form is housed in your membership database, so it’s important that connection is consistently maintained as well.
Do this by regularly auditing your website and making sure 1) it’s easy to find and complete the join form and 2) that your system is set up to kick off any new member onboarding processes as soon as they hit submit.
3. It houses all of your resources
Being able to point to resources on your membership website positions you as a thought leader to all in the industry or community, and works to recruit new members and retain current ones. Further, those resources could also become a source of non-dues revenue — or, an added value to joining, further enriching membership value as a whole.
Bonus tip: the backend of your website is just as important as what visitors see. Use a tool like Google Analytics to understand how website visitors are engaging with your website. You can use this data not only to discover where your website could use a little improvement, but also to learn more about what’s important to those visitors.