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5 Ways to Optimize Your Association Membership Strategy

Whether it be through personalized landing channels, referral programs, or user-generated content you can do small things that will result in big growths in your membership numbers.

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Word of Mouth has always been one of the primary ways to grow your membership and this is only truer as we continue to progress in the digital age. According to RetailWire, “83 percent of shoppers are more likely to buy products recommended by friends or social network influencers”. It is extremely important to take advantage of this by encouraging your members to talk about you on social media.

So, how can you spark an interest to increase your social media word of mouth referrals? We’ll look at a couple of strategies that you can quickly implement in order to achieve this. Let’s get started- and get your audience talking!

Personalized Landing Channels

As previously mentioned, people are more likely to try something if it is recommended by someone they associate with. One way to take advantage of this is to create personalized landing channel for when a potential convert clicks a link or post shared by a friend or social media influencer.

The simplest way to take advantage of this is to make it so it takes them to an about the association page rather than the standard homepage. This is beneficial because the homepage usually continues an overview of what the company provides. If someone clicks a link shared by a friend they likely want to learn more about the company. This should increase your conversion rate as they won’t have to deal with the unfocused nature of the homepage and will instead be directed to exactly what they were looking for. Another way to utilize personalized landing channels effectively is by tailoring the dialogue to the audience.

Chances are, people clicking on your link are curious about a membership with your association. So,  you should include the various benefits that come with membership at the head of the page. It’s also important to have a chatbot on the page for them to speak directly to a customer support staff member so that any of their questions can be immediately answered.

Target Specific Influencers

When trying to increase word of mouth referrals, it’s important that the people are saying what you want to who you want. One way you can control this is by examining who is talking about you and what they are saying. You want to target the people who say the largest amount of positive things. In this case quality and quantity are important in order to bring in the most potential members. Once you have this specific group of people, you want to figure out what you need to do in order to get them to talk about your associations. These influencers have a huge impact on people and it is important to make sure they are posting the content that positively reflects your association.

According to imPACT, “40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube.” That’s right- social media influencers have the power to bring more awareness (and maybe even more revenue) to your association. By properly leveraging these social media influencers you will be able to target a huge number of people through just a handful of influencers!

Referral Programs

Having a referral program is a fantastic way to gain new members. By offering a reward for the current member they are more likely to talk positively about your association as they now have a stake in getting people to sign up. The potential converts who were potentially on the fence about joining your organization may be swayed by something as small as a slight discount off the membership price.

Creating a custom link that will send people to a signup page is a great way to allow your members to share their code on social media to all of their friends. A referral program is simple to set up and you can do it for as long as you want and stop using it if you aren’t seeing the the desire results. This makes it a low risk option with the potential to result in fast word of mouth referrals.  

User Generated Content

This is by far the easiest way to increase your word of mouth referrals and it is a fantastic way to reach millennials. imPACT says that “86% of millennials say that user generated content is a good indicator of the quality of a brand or service”. By encouraging your members to share their positive experiences you are getting free publicity.

Creating a hashtag for them to share it to is a fantastic way to keep it all together in one space for people to view it. imPACT also says, “Millennials spend 5.4 hours a day with content created by their peers”. By having everything under one hashtag people will be able to easily access all of the positive content created by your members. With user generated content, i’s important to ensure that your content is positively reflecting your association and not going to damage its reputation. One way to avoid this is to advertise that your social media accounts will post your members experiences with the association.

This will allow them to submit them to you for screening and then you may publish the ones you like and give credit to the person who wrote it. They will likely share the post and then all of their friends will see it.

The Three E’s

Forbes says that the most important thing for word of mouth marketing in the 21st century is to keep the Three E’s in mind, Engage, equip and empower. In order to give your members a positive experience you need to have conversations with them and be in contact with them. This will help to foster a strong relationship that they are more likely to mention to their friends.

You need to equip your members by giving them something to talk about. Whether this be hosting a fantastic yearly event or having a member benefit that is useful. In order to properly equip them you should understand what your members want to gain from your association. Lastly you want to empower your members by giving them the ability to share their experiences online. Tell your members that their feedback is important to you and show them how to best get out their personal stories about your organization.

By following the Three E’s you will ensure that your members have positive things to say to their circle on social media. Remember, word of mouth is an easy way for your association to grow its membership and it is made even easier by the growth of social media. Whether it be through personalized landing channels, referral programs, or user generated content you can do small things that will result in big growths in your membership numbers.