Not all prospective members are at the same level of engagement. Some are just learning about your association; others are aware of what you do and are involved with some aspect of your programming. Others are right on the cusp of becoming members. You want to tailor your communication to each type of potential member.
First you have new prospects. They don’t know a lot about you. They may have come across you through social media, a mention in an industry publication, or a conversation with a colleague. Your goal for this group is to provide information that helps them understand what your association does–and most importantly, what it can do for them. Your goal with new prospects is to inform and build trust. These are not folks to go after with the hard sell.
Engaged prospects are familiar with your association. They may read your content, come to networking events, sign up for webinars, or attend conferences, but they haven’t made the leap to joining. With prospects like this, you want to show them the value of membership for them as an individual. Personalized newsletters tailored to their interest areas can be a chance to showcase content that highlights the range of your association’s impact.
Finally, you have potential members who are on the cusp of signing up. They have been increasing their involvement and engagement and see the appeal in membership. These are the people you want to reach with value statements and explicit invitations to join.
So how do you get someone from browsing your website to clicking the ‘join now’ button? Use email to help move people along the path to membership with these strategies in mind.
From the Blog → How to Add More Punch to Your Member-Get-a-Member Program
Build interest by building trust
Provide a slow but steady stream of useful information. An email newsletter is a way to showcase the insight and connections your association offers. It’s a chance to let cold leads know what’s in it for them. The key here is to show not tell. The way to build trust without being pushy is to provide a wealth of resources. You want them to start to see you as a reliable source of information and start to get a sense of what you stand for. If you push membership right away, that can be off-putting.
Send emails on a regular basis. Provide prospective members with updates on what’s going on in their industry, new research from your association, tips they can use to do their job, and other relevant content. Keep it interesting by mixing up the type of content you share so it doesn’t become formulaic. You want to keep in touch consistently, not just send out a flurry of emails when you’re trying to sell a product or ask people to sign up for memberships. In other words, be the friend who reaches out just to say hi–not the one you only hear from when they need a favor.
From the Blog → 7 Keys to Driving More Member Referrals
Hit on key issues
Your association should be the best source of information about the issues that affect your members. Frame your communications so that they focus on the member. For example, if you come out with a new report on the industry, highlight the top five findings and how they’ll impact your prospective members in the coming year instead of just telling them your association does important research and you have produced a report. People are busy and they make time for content that is meaningful and useful—make sure you fit the bill!
A surefire way to connect with potential members is to help them solve problems. Using data about what issues members look for most often, focus your efforts on providing expert advice they can’t find elsewhere. That could be key points from learning programs on topics important to members, videos, interviews with leaders in the field, white papers, or any number of other things. Just be sure to highlight what you do best.
Not all your members are going to have immediate problems. But if you’re thoughtful about showcasing the range of your association’s offerings, prospects will begin to think of you as a go-to when things do come up.
From the Blog → How To Fine-Tune Your Member Nurturing Strategy
Make it easy to join
When a prospect is ready to make the jump to membership, be sure they’ve got a smooth path. Your emails should include a way for prospective members to contact you and to find out more about membership. Once someone decides they want to join, they should be able to sign up online easily without technical glitches. Your membership team should be on hand to respond promptly to phone and email inquiries. In other words, when they’re ready to sign, have the pen handy!
If you craft specific outreach strategies to prospective members based on their current level of engagement, your recruitment efforts will be more effective. Have a specific outreach plan for each segment. Use information in your customer relationship management (CRM) software to create personalized email recruitment strategies to boost conversion on potential members.