4 Questions to Refocus Your Peer-to-Peer Referral Strategy and Grow Membership

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Member-get-a-member campaigns, where you ask current members to help recruit their contacts, can be an effective way to leverage the power of peer-to-peer referrals. Nearly 70% of associations say that word-of-mouth referrals get their organizations the most new members. If you can intentionally engage your members to reach out to their peers, it can give a real boost to your membership rolls.

What are the keys to running a successful member-get-a-member campaign? First, make it easy for members to participate. Also make sure to reward and recognize member efforts. Here are a few more things to consider when you’re crafting a strategy.

Are you making it easy to participate?

The process for members to participate in the campaign should be as easy as possible. Give them a clear, concise summary of what the ask is and how to communicate it. One way is to have them send you contact information for their referral, which you can then follow up on. You can also provide them with a brief template that they can copy and paste into an email or social media post.

People are busy. The easier you make it to participate, the more likely your members will act right away, rather than letting it slip down their to-do list.

Are you offering an incentive?

Reward the member when their referral signs up. Gift cards are a common incentive, which allows you to give incentives in line with your budget.

Other associations offer a discount on membership dues or other services your organization provides. You may offer a tiered rewards system for different numbers of referrals. Consider entering participating members in a raffle for one big item in addition to the smaller incentives.

You have a lot of leeway—just be consistent and make sure people know what to expect.

Are you saying thank you?

Make time to acknowledge member efforts even if there is a reward involved. A personal phone call or note goes a long way. You can also recognize supporters publicly by featuring them on your webpage, magazine or newsletter.

Member-get-a-member campaigns offer an opportunity to practice both member retention and recruitment, so don’t waste the opportunity.

Are you living up to your reputation?

Imagine how you’d feel if a person you vouched for to a colleague ended up being a disappointing employee. Make sure you live up to your members’ recommendations.

A big member recruitment push is a good time to review your new member onboarding strategy. Are you connecting with new members at multiple points throughout their first year? Are you taking the time to find out their specific needs and interests? Are you helping them to understand and take advantage of the full value of their membership?

You should be investing as much effort in keeping members as you do bringing in new ones.

Member-get-a-member campaigns can be effective as part of a broader member recruitment campaign. Your most enthusiastic members are an asset to your organization. Leverage those relationships to help you establish credibility and build a network among audiences you haven’t reached yet.

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