by Christine Bergeron
Your website represents an opportunity to make a great first impression on potential new members.
Here’s how to use your website to make your association irresistible.
By Christine Bergeron, Marketing Coordinator, Community Brands
Visiting your website is like a potential member’s first date with your association. It’s typically one of the first things potential members see in relation to your organization. But instead of making them feel wined and dined, just imagine if they visit your website and have trouble navigating and reading the content. They don’t immediately see the benefits of becoming a member. So, they just give up.
What kind of impression does that make? For all of your efforts to attract potential members and win them over, you could lose them in a single moment.
The solution: Use your website to make your association irresistible to prospective members.
Here are five things you can do to your website – even with a small staff and limited time – to make potential members fall in love with your association:
People expect to easily access your website and other online content with their mobile devices. Otherwise, they’ll walk away almost as soon as you grab their attention.
Be sure your website is ready with a mobile-responsive design that’s optimized for viewing on a broad range of mobile devices. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make it easy for members and prospects to engage with your content on a small screen by using a single column template and avoiding tiny fonts.
- For the best readability, use basic, cross-platform fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Georgia, and Times New Roman.
- Make it easy for fingers to click on the desired link by not crowding your links close together in your copy.
- Include your call-to-action in multiple places so members and prospects can take action as soon as they’re ready.
- Preview your website on a mobile device (in addition to a desktop) and in multiple browsers to verify that everything is formatted properly, and all links are working.
TIP: YourMembership association management software (AMS) includes a content management system with mobile-responsive layouts and an easy-to-use editor tool so you can quickly build emails, forms, and web pages that will work and look great on mobile devices.
Make membership messaging clear and compelling.
When a potential new member lands on your website, make sure there are clear and compelling reasons for them to become a member. Start by evaluating your website. Ask yourself:
- Will first-time visitors know they’re in the right place?
- Can they immediately see the value you provide to members?
- Is it obvious what impact membership will make on their life?
Demonstrate member benefits.
In addition to telling people about the benefits of membership, show them. For example:
- Add a resource center to your website that includes papers, reports, on-demand webinars, and infographics with valuable industry information. Give website visitors limited access to this area of your website so that they can see the content they would be able to access as a member.
- List your upcoming member events on a page on your website. Be sure to highlight the great learning and networking opportunities available to members at these events. Also, spotlight any events that non-members can attend to give them a taste of the value of your association.
TIP: Event management functionality in YourMembership association management software allows you to offer non-members the convenience of paying for membership as part of the event registration process.
- Highlight members-only continuing education opportunities so that website visitors understand how your organization can help them further their careers.
- Add a job board to your website that non-members can access. This will help drive traffic to your website and get you seen by more people in your industry. Then, generate a report of non-member job seekers to use in targeted marketing efforts to drive new members.
TIP: YM Careers is part of Community Brands’ integrated software suite for associations. YM Careers can ensure that you have visibility into non-members who are using the board – tracking their activity and writing it back to their record within YourMembership AMS – to aid in member recruitment efforts.
Add member testimonials.
Using member testimonials can be a powerful tool for attracting new members. A peer recommendation for becoming a member of your association is far more compelling than you simply asking someone to join.
Send a survey to members that asks them to share their member experience for your use in membership marketing. You might start by sending the survey only to the most involved members. Then, share their quotes on your website.
TIP: YourMembership AMS has survey functionality built in, making it easy to build and send targeted surveys and get feedback.
Make it easy to join.
Make sure it’s easy for website visitors to figure out how to join. If you haven’t already done so, move your paper-based membership application online. Make sure your online form is as simple as possible: Lengthy forms are a turn-off, so be sure to ask for only what’s necessary in your online membership application to process their membership. You can ask for more data later.