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What To Avoid When Recruiting New Members to Your Association

Let’s take a look at what situations can create tension when recruiting new members. Then, we’ll discuss ways to avoid those situations and turn your recruitment process into a great experience for your association and its members.

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Every association should know how important member recruitment is. You want the best chance at attracting a new audience to your organization. With that in mind, you’ve probably thought about what your association should do to recruit these new members. But, have you ever thought about what not to do?

While it may sound obvious, making the wrong moves in a membership recruitment strategy can seriously affect your chances at attracting a new member. You don’t want potential members feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or just plain uninterested.

So, how can you avoid an uncomfortable recruitment experience for your potential new members? Let’s take a look at what situations can create tension when recruiting new members. Then, we’ll discuss ways to avoid those situations and turn your recruitment process into a great experience for your association and its members.

Don’t let members stay quiet.

According to Marketing General’s “2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report,” 49% of associations ranked “word-of-mouth recommendations” as a top three recruitment strategy. If that’s the case, you don’t want your members to keep your association to themselves. Encourage them to recommend your association to others.

One way to do this is to ask for a member testimonial. Getting your hands on a good member testimonial can really boost your member recruitment strategy. Why is that? Well, potential members want to know what your association is like from an inside perspective. Think of it as a recommendation from the best person possible- someone who already has membership experience.

There are a few ways to secure a member testimonial. One way is to reach out to members directly through email or phone. Contacting members directly can create a sense of importance and urgency, getting them to share information quickly. Another way to get a member testimonial is through a member survey. You can ask basic questions, such as ‘Rate our association on a scale of 1-10’. However, you can also add long-form questions into your survey. For example, after asking for a rating, you can leave a space for members to write how your association helped make their lives easier. You can also ask for a short summary of their membership experience.

Don’t let members keep the best recommendations to themselves. Getting those word-of-mouth recommendations will get the ball rolling on your membership recruitment plan.

Don’t market on just one platform.

Does your association market on social media? What about through email or even content? If the answer is no, you could be missing out on an entire marketable audience.

According to MarketingProfs 2017 B2B Content Marketing Benchmark reports, 63% of B2B marketers say their organizations are very committed to content marketing. On top of that, Campaign Monitor reports email marketing as the “king of marketing” with a 4400% ROI ($44 made for every $1 spent. You don’t want your association to only stick to traditional marketing efforts. With new marketing platforms being introduced every year, it’s important to stay on top of the marketing game.

Email marketing is both a traditional marketing platform and one of the most effective. If your association isn’t seeing the level of interest it wants in its email campaigns, try changing up your email marketing strategy. Make sure your association is up to date on social media trends. You want to have a social media account on any platform your audience is on. You can find out more about your membership’s social media use by conducting a survey or researching your buyer persona. Content marketing should also be considered for every association. Audiences look for valuable information in your association. Producing content is one way to get any new members attention. Just make sure your content is both useful and relevant to your association’s brand. Don’t let your marketing efforts go unnoticed. Pinpoint every platform your potential members use and deliver a marketing strategy they can’t refuse.

Don’t forget about events.

When most associations think of events, they think about current member engagement. After all, events are what members look forward to every year.

However, events are also a great way to recruit new members. According to Bizzabo’s Event Marketing 2018 Benchmarks and Trends report, 80% of marketers believe events are critical to the success of their organization. If events make such an impact on your organization, it only makes sense to allow potential members to see this impact.

You can offer your events at a member discount to anyone thinking about joining your association. Incentives like this give new audiences a chance to see what being a member is like- the benefits, the events, and the perks. It also allows them to meet members (and talk about how great your association is).This idea of an offer doesn’t have to be done only through an event. You can offer audiences free eBooks, a look at your association’s webinars, or a discount to attend a guest speaker. Any type of value you give your members can also be presented to potential members. Don’t let your events be a mystery to new members. Incorporate an event deal into your membership recruitment process.

Don’t make it hard to become a member.

Once you’ve started to attract a new audience, you don’t want it to go south. An essential part of member recruitment is closing a new membership. However, if new members can’t figure out how to join your association, they can’t start their new journey as a member.

Don’t let your membership application get lost in translation. You want to make becoming a member a simple and enjoyable process for any potential member. If you don’t have your membership application available on your website already, now is a good time to add it. Make sure it’s easy to find by creating a button or including a tab on your website’s homepage. Once you make sure your application can be found by anyone interested in it, you need to make sure it’s easy to fill out. You don’t want anyone confused by your applications.

Create questions that are short, simple and not too invasive. You don’t want new members to feel like they’re being interrogated by your association. You also don’t want them to lose interest in a lengthy application.

While becoming a member is the final step in the member recruitment process, you don’t want it to be a step that’s overlooked. Recruiting new members is all about balancing the do with the don'ts. If you can pinpoint what works in a membership recruitment strategy, you should also be able to pinpoint what doesn’t.

Try using these tips to make recruiting new members easier for your association.