Associations are a powerful avenue for growth in any profession. They serve as a platform for members to network, learn, obtain credentials, and even impact legislative change. Whether members are trying to build a business, create a strong professional network, or establish themselves as an expert in their field, understanding and implementing the right strategy to attract and grow your membership base can make a huge difference. In this blog, we’ll explore how to create a successful membership strategy for your association, why it’s important, and how you can master it to achieve your goals.
How to Create a Membership Strategy
A well-crafted membership strategy is crucial to build a loyal community of members, generate recurring revenue, and establish a sustainable business model for your association. However, developing a successful membership strategy requires careful planning and execution. Let’s explore six steps to create a membership strategy that grows with your association.
1. Establish your value proposition:
Before you can create a membership strategy, you need to determine the unique value you provide to your audience. What problem(s) are you solving for them? What makes your association stand out? Your value proposition should be clear and compelling, and it should be the foundation of your membership strategy.
To establish your value proposition, start by defining your mission statement. This should be a concise statement that outlines your association’s purpose and values. Then, identify the specific benefits your members will receive by joining your association. Will they get access to exclusive education, discounts on products, or personalized support? Make sure your value proposition is communicated clearly on your website and in your marketing materials.
2. Define your target audience
The success of your membership strategy depends on your ability to understand and connect with your audience. Who are they? What are their needs and interests? What motivates them to join a membership program? By answering these questions, you can create a membership program that speaks directly to your audience and provides value that resonates with them.
To define your audience, conduct market research and gather data on your existing members. Use tools like surveys and customer feedback to learn more about their needs, preferences, and behavior. This information will help you create member personas that represent your ideal members and guide your marketing efforts.
3. Determine how to reach your audience
Once you’ve defined your audience, you’ll need to determine the best channels to reach them. Where do they spend their time online? What social media platforms do they use? What keywords do they search for? Do they engage with emails, or would direct mail be more effective? Your marketing efforts should be focused on reaching your target audience where they are most active.
To determine how to reach your audience, conduct research and analyze your website and social media analytics. Use this data to develop a content marketing strategy that includes blog posts, social media posts, email campaigns, and other campaigns that resonate with your audience.
4. Provide value
To grow your member base, it’s important to provide value throughout the duration of a membership. This could involve regularly sharing knowledge or resources through exclusive thought leadership or reports, offering ongoing education, and regular events, networking opportunities, and meetings.
You’ll need to assess and evaluate these efforts to ensure they’re providing the value your members expect. Using metrics such as membership growth rate, engagement levels, event attendance, and non-dues revenue will enable you to track your success. Regularly review your efforts and make adjustments as necessary.
5. Test and optimize
As you implement your membership strategy, it’s essential to test and optimize your efforts. What’s working, and what’s not? What adjustments can you make to improve your results? By tracking your metrics and analyzing your data, you can make informed decisions that lead to better outcomes.
You can use free tools like Google Analytics, social media analytics, and customer feedback surveys. Monitor your conversion rates, engagement rates, and retention rates, and adjust your association strategy based on what you learn.
6. Continually refine your strategy
Finally, to create a successful membership strategy, you need to continually refine and optimize it. As you grow and your association changes, the needs of your members will also change. This means you’ll need to be sure you’re making data-driven decisions to improve your value proposition, refine your member personas, and optimize your member recruitment efforts.
Continually analyze member feedback and adjust your association’s strategy based on what you learn. You can also refine your efforts based on the answers to data-based questions such as: is event attendance increasing? Are meetings sparking continued discussion? Are members referring other new members? Once you’ve evaluated your data, you can start optimizing. By continually refining your membership strategy, you can create a sustainable association membership model that delivers long-term value to your members.
By following these tips, you can establish your value proposition, define your audience, determine how to reach your audience, test and optimize your efforts, and refine your approach for long-term success. If you’d like advice or help to build your membership strategy, reach out to us!