A good referral is a most powerful membership development asset. Almost nothing will make a member prospect more inclined to join you than hearing a current member genuinely recommend you and your organization. In order to make such positive word-of-mouth possible, it’s important to find out what current and future members are looking for and make sure you are providing experiences and resources they find remarkably helpful.
The Needs of Member Companies Depends on Their Size
Small, medium, and large companies will have different needs that will determine how they will look to your association for help and answers to their needs.
The goal of the small business is to expand. Your association has many options to provide education, guidance, advisors and support to help members from smaller companies increase sales and reach more customers.
While smaller businesses are most concerned about expansion, medium-sized companies may find themselves burdened by industry standards and regulations. These companies may be hiring to support increased production and sales. But they may not yet have employees or departments fully dedicated to staying up to date on technical and legislative developments. Your trade association can serve them by providing updates on industry news and making technical information readily available.
Large companies may already know how to manage providing goods and services to a sizeable market, and their own resources may be sufficient for keeping current on regulations and policy matters. But these companies may be most concerned that policy makers and legislators know their wants and interests. They may look to your association’s advocacy services to ensure that their voice is heard on Capitol Hill.
Fit Your Message to Your Members
It may be obvious that the number one concern of your members may vary according to the company’s size. What may not be obvious is the need for you to develop appropriate messaging for the different types of companies you serve. One-size-fits-all messaging doesn’t resonate. Members can say good things about how you meet their needs when you make the effort to focus on their most relevant concerns.
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Deliver What Prospects Are Looking for
By joining an association, prospects want more than an opportunity to support the industry. Their priority is to pursue their professional best interests, and your association needs to figure out how it can deliver the most meaningful help.
According to the third annual Association Communication Benchmarking Study from Association Adviser, executives seek these top 5 benefits when joining a trade association:
- Lobbying and advocacy efforts.
- How-to and best practices.
- Industry news and trends.
- Career and professional development.
- Statistics and data to improve job performance.
These findings offer some good insights. But a single survey like this does not ensure you understand what your own members and prospects need. Periodically, talk with your members and prospects to find out about their successes and concerns. Your conversation is also a golden opportunity to find out what they are saying about you. Listen and take time to ask what they need, what they currently value about their membership experience, and whether there are good opportunities for you to help address new concerns.
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