Why grow my association’s membership?
People are at the heart of your association. Without new members, your association wouldn’t be able to survive. And naturally, members come and go, they leave and retire. So knowing how to grow your association membership is crucial.
Many associations have made the shift from physical to virtual life using tools such as webinars or virtual events. Of course, the pandemic skyrocketed this change and didn’t give us time to make a plan. Now your association needs to take a step back and learn how to grow association membership in a virtual world in order to continue with member engagement. Let’s take a look at our 5 ways to grow your association’s membership.
1. Content is key
You need to provide meaningful content that will help to grow your association membership. Try not to rely completely on sponsored or promotional content which might bore your members. The content you provide should be in line with your association's values and help to build relationships with your members.
Before you start posting content, make sure you research what your members are interested in. Then you can use this information to post valuable content. Your blogs, emails, and social media platform are great places to share your content. You can also leverage user generated content from existing members and emphasize available member benefits.
Content can be often used for professional development as well when it's created to the point and is succinct and useful. At the minimum the content should be there to help members clearly see the value proposition why they should spend some time with other association members and association management.
2. Use social media
Social media is a great way of interacting with people on a daily basis especially if your member demographics includes millennials. If you want to grow your association membership it is important that you post relevant content online. Most social media is free, you can try apps like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok. Be sure to add the relevant hashtags so people can find your posts.
Of course, you should tailor your social media posts to your audience. As well as sharing your own content, you can share posts from sponsors or other relevant associations. You can monitor your members' engagement on social media to see which posts are getting the most hits. Don’t be afraid to get creative, for example, a festive online competition to ring in the New Year! Digital marketing doesn't have to be complicated to be engaging!
3. Host engaging virtual events
Virtual events are key in helping to grow your association membership. But, we need to think of ideas to make these events more interesting. The most important ingredient in your virtual event recipe is an engaging platform that provides rich member experience.
We have all logged on to virtual calls and fallen asleep at the sound of the same person talking for way too long. Of course, studies show that our attention spans decrease when we are watching an event online. There are certain software features we need to use to make the event more interactive. For example, we could use breakout rooms to discuss one of the talks in a smaller group. As well as that, try using polling, Q&A features, and round-tables to make your events more engaging.
Engaging and rich virtual events will drive perceived member value and help with ongoing member retention. These virtual events can become a prelude to a thriving online community and drive incremental growth through word of mouth.
4. Co-marketing opportunities
As the saying goes, there’s strength in numbers. Co-marketing opportunities are a good way to grow your association membership. You can form partnerships with other businesses and associations to expand your reach to new members. For example, you could run a competition with each other to gain new followers on social media. This is also a cost-effective way to reach new members.
5. Host events for non-members
Hosting free virtual events is a great way to grow your association membership as you can mix current members as well potential members! Your virtual event can showcase your association to potential members and increase your membership base. It offers a great opportunity to give people a taste of what your association is about. Check out some free event ideas for your association to try out. You could even offer some incentive or discount to sign up at your event so that new people join.
These free events show advocacy around your area of specialty and can reach also new demographics. You can also ask the non-members to sign-up for future communications and also refer a colleague. These lists can then be used for other marketing channels such as email campaigns for member acquisition.
What’s next for my association?
Although the future is hard to predict, one thing’s for sure, virtual events are on the up. If you’d like to use some of our 5 ideas to grow your association membership you’ll need a virtual events platform. Not all virtual event platforms offer the same level of engagement. At Remo, we have a range of features that will help your members to engage with your association. For example, we have round-tables that mimic a real-life meeting.
Whatever membership organization you're in, Remo can help you increase engagement and help create and maintain meaningful relationships online for your nonprofit!
Of course, you should check out Remo for yourself. We have a range of plans, some of which start completely free. We also have product demos of our virtual events platform so you can get an idea of how it works.