If you’re an association executive, you know this: membership growth can be your daily objective. I went to an industry event this week, hosted by the Canadian Marketing Association‘s (CMA’s) local Ottawa Chapter. As a CMA member, I find these events useful in a few ways. People can reconnect with business friends, meet some new faces, and learn new marketing concepts and techniques.
You know, and we heard about, the typical issues and challenges that membership-based organizations face. There are obstacles that organizations currently have to jump in order to stay competitive and relevant to its industry.
Address the Younger Generation
If you’re part of a younger generation, you know that you need to see more value for your return on investment. Professionals have more choices than ever to become a member of industry groups (for free). This generation also has a different value system than Baby Boomers. Research and planning can address these barriers and even uncover some new opportunities. So much potential – it’s the marketing geek in me that gets excited about this topic!
Push Further than Status Quo
The event speaker, and another CMA member, Vicky Marsolais, gave an informative presentation. I heard her use the quote, “what gets measured gets approved.” So true. Tracking a project’s progress is a tool to gain success. Many organizations work on a status quo approach. For example, each year, the same projects can be implemented. Sure, you can find some results with this practice. However, it’s time to build your membership growth strategy if you’ve noticed your membership levels are stagnating or that your members are changing.
Target Your Message to Your Audience Segments
Ask yourself: what kind of members do you have today that are different from the types you had five or ten years ago? Is your website reflecting your membership changes? What about your other communication vehicles? Disseminate your information in a new way. One that will attract, engage, and inform segments of your members. Keep in mind, your message needs to be appealing for your potential members, too.
Add Research and a Fresh Perspective to the Mix
Use research. Collect and analyze your data. A membership growth strategy comes from these actions. Take time and develop a plan of action to address your membership goals. If you do not have the time, bring in an external, strategic consultant to help. Sometimes, a fresh perspective can bring surprising dividends.
Ask “Why Should Your Members Pay to Join Your Organization?”
There are many online and other industry groups that professionals can join for free. So, the question is, why should they pay to join yours? Find this answer and more then convey this message effectively to your audience. See what happens next.
Some of these points were talked about at the industry event. It would have been helpful to hear the presenter dig a little deeper in the data, but it was some good food for thought. And, it is a good start in getting your membership growth plan in the works.
-Sandra Hamway, marketing strategist and founder of Infuse Five
Infuse Five, based in Ottawa, Canada, is dedicated to helping associations and businesses, across North America and globally. We offer business results through innovative marketing communications strategies without the need to hire a full time senior specialist. Want more smart MarCom tips? Don’t miss a blog post – Subscribe to this feed – and receive blog posts right away into your email inbox.