As summer comes to a close and a busy fall awaits, reviewing your member acquisition strategy can set you up for a successful Q4. Gather your team and review last years numbers. What strategy resulted in high membership numbers? What are your goals for the upcoming year? Build a strategy that yields success by considering all the variables – the past, present, and future.

As we review our own strategies, we decided to share some of our own ideas for member growth. Gear up for a busy year ahead with these 3 tips for member acquisition.

1. Consider The Member’s Buyer Journey

Hubspot defines the buyer’s journey as “the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service,”. There are three stages to the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision.

3 ways ramp up member acquisition

Image Credit: HubSpot

Let’s think about this through the context of a member’s journey. Perhaps a prospective member is visiting your site to learn more about the industry you serve. They know they’d like to get involved in a group like yours to grow their network (awareness). After some research, they’ve established the value in joining a professional association (consideration) and decide to consider your membership options (decision).

Now that we know what stage a prospect is in and how that affects their needs, we can better serve them by offering up content that aligns with their journey. It doesn’t make sense to “sell” your membership to a prospect who’s still in the awareness phase. It’s better to offer up helpful content so they have the resources to make an informed decision when the time comes.

As you plan for your upcoming year, think about the resources you provide and if there’s enough to help prospects make a decision. A little work on the front end, aka developing those resources, can save you a lot of time during the sales process.

2. Start a Resourceful, Dynamic Blog

As mentioned in the paragraph above, it’s crucial to provide helpful information to your prospective members. A great platform for frequent content sharing is a blog. If your association doesn’t currently have an active blog, it may be time to get started. Blogs are more than just a “digital diary” says Angie Roberts, content writer at Association Studios, “Businesses have been utilizing… [blogs] to enhance customer’s online experience,” by pairing their product/service offerings with helpful content.

Still not convinced you need a blog? According to our VP of Marketing, Lisa Carnes, “websites with blogs have much more indexed content”, meaning much more visibility. Remember, your efforts mean nothing if people do not know who you are or where they can find you. Use your blog to showcase your credibility, helpfulness while simultaneously increasing your visibility.

Blog Best Practices

Before you begin writing, there are a few “blog best practices” you need to consider. There’s a lot to learn when starting a blog, but to save time, we’re just going to give you the tidbits. To read more, check out this article from our parent company, ArcStone >> “How To Start a Successful Blog”

  1. Develop Personas – Aka know exactly who your writing for.
  2. Determine Specific Topics / Themes – Research your audience. What are they searching for? What are some common questions your blog could answer?
  3. Desired Outcome – Now that you’ve got their attention, think about where you’d like to direct the user. A pricing page? Free ebook? A demo?
  4. Keywords – Similar to determining specific topics, write content around keywords you know members are searching.
  5. Content Calendar – Schedule out a month or quarter of post ideas so you’re not scrambling for blog topics at the last second. This will also keep your team on track if you have multiple writers.

We try to post at least 4-5/week. We know keeping up with that much content writing can be tough and whenever we hit writer’s block, we use these blogs/websites for inspiration:

3 ways ramp up member acquisition

Image Credit: Associations Now

3. Know Your Association’s Value

If your membership numbers are low, it’s easy to want to pull in every prospective member that shows interest. But signing up someone that’s really not a good fit for your organization will just cause you headaches and a high churn rate in the long run.

Before you start recruiting, revisit your association’s value proposition. What niche do you serve? Who is the ideal member? If you’re not completely clear on what you do and how that directly benefits others, it may be time to revisit your value statement.

When you do sign up that perfect member, you’ll reap additional benefits besides another dues payment. Happy members will spread the word, invite colleagues and can be a free marketing resource for your association.

What are your tried and true member acquisition strategies? Let me know at aketcham@arcstone.com.