What is the best way to attract new members to our association?

The best way to get new members is not a marketing strategy, so much as it is simply fulfilling your association’s mission. The best way to get new association members is this: develop great benefits. Here is an example of an excellent member benefit.

It sounds so obvious. However, many associations are looking for marketing to solve membership problems when their membership woes are merely a symptom of greater, fundamental association flaws that needs to be fixed.

Sound marketing research will tell you if you are one of those associations that has a fundamental flaw that is hurting membership development. But there are also two quick tests you can use to determine if you are a likely candidate for an extreme association makeover:

  1. Is your retention rate significantly below that found in a typical association? If you’re in the 75% (or below) retention rate area, you probably have a more serious problem that needs to be fixed before you count on marketing to save the day.
  2. Do members join at a steady clip outside of your membership marketing efforts? This is not to say that your membership marketing efforts should only produce a tiny blip compared to your non-marketing periods. However, it does mean this: if your association has compelling member benefits, you should have some people joining throughout the year, not just during a membership campaign. In a similar vein, do you have a significant number of non-members registering for your events such as your annual conference – or even better, are they joining as they register for those events? If not, you probably have a weak set of offerings that need to be fixed.

If your membership marketing is struggling, it may be that it needs to be rethought and rebuilt. Or it may be that your world-class marketing is merely flogging a dead horse. It’s important to make the distinction before throwing good money after bad.

Do you feel as though your association marketing is great but your results are not? Look for a member benefit that plays to your association’s unique strengths. If you already have great benefits but need help with your marketing, send us your questions via our online form.

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