If your association relies on membership dues, you know the importance of growing your recurring revenue. That monthly income pays bills, supports membership outreach efforts, and ensures you can pay the staff that manages it all.

Even if you have a strong membership base, inflation will eventually demand that you either raise prices or add new members. For that reason, it’s important that you consistently work to increase your member numbers. One of the most cost-effective ways to reach today’s consumers is through the use of digital marketing. Here are a few ways you can use the internet to spread the word about your association.

Word of Mouth

Associations often cater to a very specialized audience. This tends to mean the best marketing comes from your own members, spreading the word. They know others with interests in the same subject matter. A trade organization, for instance, will likely only appeal to those who engage in the interests that association represents. A homeowners association will close itself off to those who live in the organization’s neighborhood. In either case, it’s important that non-members hear from members about the many benefits of not only paying monthly dues, but also actively participating in association activities.

Social Media

The modern form of “word of mouth” is seen in social media. Of all of the ways to market to potential members, social media is the most effective in the digital era. Facebook is especially effective for associations, since consumers often actively communicate with people they know personally. In addition to setting up a Facebook Group for your association, give members a reason to tell their friends about the benefits you offer. This could be a photo or an insightful blog post that demonstrates what your organization brings to members.

Personalized Messaging

At one time, marketers relied on generic messages, blasted to thousands of potential customers. The assumption was that even if only a small percentage of recipients read the email and took action, the campaign would be a success. In recent years however, data analytics have allowed marketers to be much more precise, targeting consumers based on previous purchases they’ve made or interests they’ve expressed. Email marketing tools have made it easy to tailor marketing messages to population segments.

For associations, this type of segmentation means separate messages can be crafted for past members, current members, and potential members. Potential members can be further segregated by their previous interactions with an association, including attendance at meetings, website visits, and requests for more information. If associations can obtain information on a consumer’s other association memberships, emails can be personalized to point out why they might be interested in your organization, as well.

If you’re hoping to grow your membership levels in the coming year, it’s important to consider the latest marketing technology in your marketing strategy. Personalization and social media are both important in reaching today’s connected consumers. You’ll likely find that with the right approach, you’ll be able to increase awareness of the work your association is doing and naturally draw attention from those who are most likely to join.