Blog posting date icon
min read

4 Association Member Recruitment Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

‍Let’s take a look at 4 association member recruitment mistakes that you could be making and advice on how to fix up your recruitment strategy to avoid these mistakes in the future.

Holiday Shaped Cookies on White and Grey Textiles

If your association is having trouble recruiting new members, it might be time to look at some statistics. According to Modern Marketing Partners, the average retention rate is 85% for trade associations and 76% for member organizations. So, it might seem as if member retention problems are few and far between for most associations. Which means it could be something your association is doing (or not doing). If you’re wondering where you stand within the member recruitment rate scale, it might be a good idea to check in on your recruitment strategy.

Having a member recruitment strategy is great, but there’s a chance your association could be missing out on some serious opportunities. And if your retention rates are stagnant, or even declining, it could be time to check in and switch things up.

Let’s take a look at 4 association member recruitment mistakes that you could be making. Then, we’ll give some advice for how to fix up your recruitment strategy and avoid these mistakes in the future. Don’t let recruitment get you down - learn how to fix your mistakes and increase your membership for the long haul.

Mistake #1: You’re not making a connection

When it comes to recruiting members (or any aspect of the membership world), first impressions say a lot about your association. And if you fail to make a first connection with your audience, it can spell trouble for your recruitment rates. Establishing a personal connection with your potential members from the start is something that could be considered a necessity when it comes to member recruitment. With recruiting being a never-ending process even throughout a long-term membership, you want to make sure you get off on the right foot with your audience. You can do this by reaching out directly to your audience.

If you host recruitment events, this is an easy task. Be sure to make a personal connection and have an interaction with each and every individual that stops by your event. If your association is on the larger side and has a relatively large audience, this can seem hard. However, just a simple greeting or handshake can spark an interest in your audience, leaving a lasting impression in their heads.

If you’re looking to reach out in a different way, you can try making connections on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and anywhere else. Making an online connection can show your audiences that you’re available to be engaged with on multiple platforms. It also shows them you’re tech-savvy, a huge plus for audiences of the younger generation. By establishing that personal connection, you’re sure to see your recruitment rates increase.

Mistake #2: You’re providing the wrong benefits

Noticing a lack in enthusiasm about your membership benefits? You could be providing the wrong types of offers. Your members flock to your association looking for many things, but one of the most important factors are your benefits. They want incentives, tools, and services that can help better their lives and advance their professional skills. However, if your association doesn’t know what your members are looking for in benefits, it could be providing the wrong things.

In order to recruit more individuals to your association, you have to assess your current benefits and see if your current members are responding well. You can survey your members on their satisfaction, or take a look at your association as a whole. Things like events, career resources, networking opportunities, or any other benefit you provide should always be created with your members in mind. If your association isn’t providing benefits that members find valuable, try revamping your benefits. You can directly ask members what they’d like to see more of and use that feedback to develop new and unique benefits. There are many ways to provide benefits, and you can even tailor your benefits to be entirely original to your association. However, if you’re looking for benefit suggestions, here are a few ideas you can use: group discounts, webinars, online learning classrooms, certifications, and so on and so forth.

Mistake #3: You haven’t checked in

Once you meet a potential member, you’ve made an impression on them. However, if you don’t regularly check in with those individuals you’re recruiting, you could lose their interest for good. The recruitment process is hard work that requires constant communication from start to finish (and even through the entirety of their membership). It’s important to make contact an essential in your association’s recruitment strategy. Do this by inviting individuals to join your email list. If you have an easy way to directly contact your audience (like you do with an email), you have a straight shot at getting their attention and engaging them with your association. You can then add your potential members into your email list and send them scheduled email campaigns to keep them in the loop with all that your association does.

Keeping in contact also helps you learn more about your audience. If you’re an association who is looking to strengthen their membership marketing strategy, you need to know who your audience is from the inside out. And by keeping close communications with the individuals you’re recruiting, you can learn who they are as a person and as a professional. Use your recruitment communication to help you research your target audience and double your recruitment strategy and an audience analysis.

Mistake #4: You aren’t asking current members

You may not know it, but your current members are one of your association’s best tools for recruiting new members. Asking your current members to recruit and invite new members to your association is a foolproof strategy that you can implement into your traditional recruitment plan. It takes the stress off your association by allowing your members to take on some of the work. But how can you implement this and actually get members on board?

A member referral program can do the trick. Your association’s member referral program allows you to give members incentives in return for new members. It allows members to refer friends, coworkers, and acquaintances to your association in exchange for discounts, prizes, and exclusive offers. A member referral program is a win-win situation for everyone involved! You can set up your member referral program by offering current members and the referrals they bring in a 10% discount on their first dues payment. Or, you can give them a free content offer. There are a variety of incentives your members can benefit from.

While a referral program does not take away all of the work from recruiting members, it’s a great start for any association that doesn’t already have one in place.

If your association can learn about the mistakes it’s making and learn to combat them in the future, you can be sure to score better recruitment rates in the future, building up your membership for a long and happy relationship with your association.