In order to maintain a successful association, it becomes inevitable that at some point you will have to prioritize association membership growth. Membership growth provides increased revenue, additional opportunities for networking, and sustains the association over the long haul. But with all it takes to run a successful association, it can often feel overwhelming to think about growth in addition to everything else on your plate. Luckily, the same actions it takes to engage and retain association members also lead to association membership growth. Let’s break down what those actions are, and how they can influence growth.
Keep Existing Members Engaged
One of the most effective methods of growing associations is word of mouth, and engaged association members are more likely to share their experience with friends and colleagues. Interestingly, engagement and growth have a cyclical relationship with one another. Engaged members encourage growth, and growth encourages engagement. The beauty of this relationship is that by focusing on either engagement or growth, you enhance both. And by emphasizing engagement, you also create more value to your members.
If you haven’t created a member engagement strategy, that is a great first step, but there are also a few easy ways you can start increasing engagement right away. Utilizing social media, hosting events, and creating online communities are all simple and effective strategies to maximize engagement.
Focus on Member Experience
There is a lot that goes into creating an outstanding member experience that attracts, engages and retains members, but there are a few aspects that matter in particular when focusing on membership growth. First of all, it’s essential to ensure that the process to join the membership is simple and seamless. Eliminate any barriers to joining, and consider offering various options for payment or different membership levels to appeal to members at all stages of their careers. Once a member joins, creating a smooth onboarding process that helps them to feel valued goes a long way in fostering a positive member experience.
Another often overlooked aspect of member experience is ensuring that your technology supports your association and provides the necessary data you need to make decisions. Core Affinity’s Perks Marketplace is a perfect example of how your association can use technology to ensure a seamless experience for your members while collecting essential data for your association.
Finally, always deliver a personalized experience that matters to members. Personalization allows members to feel valued and keeps them coming back for content and experiences that are relevant to them.
Make sure your members know about their benefits and understand how to use them. Having benefits available that members don’t know about certainly doesn’t lead to engagement or value. The Controlled Release Society (CRS) received feedback that members were not aware of their benefits. To address this, CRS implemented a monthly newsletter, The Buzz, that highlights three member benefits. They have grown their membership by over 300 members since starting the newsletter, and they’ve experienced increased engagement from their members as well. Simply asking members what benefits they know about and keeping them front of mind can have a big impact on perceived value and growth.
Association membership growth doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require some strategic thinking and actions to start seeing traction. Although prioritizing member engagement, member experience, and demonstrating value takes effort, they are worthwhile actions that will certainly pay off, not only for growth, but also for engagement and the overall health of your association as well.