Running an effective association means that your members are actively being inspired to engage and advocate for the issues you care about, but unfortunately, many association leaders are unsure of how to accomplish this.
Are you struggling to create marketing content that resonates and pushes your members to take important actions?
With all of the pressing tasks that you're involved with on the day to day, there may be little time left over for content planning and member engagement activities. So often, content-related efforts tend to fall by the wayside in favor of other priorities.
You might be able to get away with that in the short-term, but leave it neglected for too long and you could find your association in a place it doesn't want to be.
So let's be preemptive about this!
The tips below (plus the knowledge shared in our membership retention eBook) are designed to help senior leadership build a sustainable approach to marketing content development.
1. Use reminders to build long-term relationships and win back inactive members
Keeping your membership active is essential to your association’s goals, regardless of what type of industry you’re in.
Sometimes your members will get busy with other life duties, sometimes they will no longer fit the criteria for membership, and sometimes they will just flat out forget about their membership duties.
Use email marketing to keep your members looped in to upcoming meetings, ongoing deliberations or resolutions. Not only that, use email to keep in touch about relevant matters such as dues payment, new benefits, and onboarding packets.
Consider creating an email strategy that sequences important messages or upcoming reminders for your inactive members. This will help you better gauge their individual levels of engagement over time.
Our post about marketing automation for associations will help you get started.
2. Talk about what you offer, often
Membership decline happens for a number of reasons, but two of the most common cited ones are: competition from other associations and a lack of essential benefits. While in many cases there simply isn’t much that can done about competitor offerings or limited budgets, being proactive about promoting and explaining the benefits you do have is a huge step toward improving your retention efforts.
Make it a point to share the benefits of joining your association (at least weekly) on social media. Create easily shareable content like infographics and fact sheets that highlight what your association offers that others don’t.
3. Triple-check that your content is trustworthy and shareable
If you want to sustain an active membership, you must make it a priority to be at the forefront of trending news and politics that affect your membership.
Whether this is accomplished through social media strategy, email or direct mail outreach - letting your members know that you're keenly aware of what’s happening in the industry (and the lives of people within that industry) is key to establishing the kind of trust that creates valuable referrals.
Above all, if your association’s goal is to advocate for its membership and the industry they represent, make sure the content you create always reflects this and the steps you’re currently taking to reach it.
4. Update your membership retention strategy
Sometimes, no matter the actions you take, your association’s members will leave. This is unfortunate, especially in cases where the leave for a competing associations.
We all know that keeping membership numbers intact is key to a healthy association, but it's a reality that many membership coordinators have no real strategy in place to keep members from leaving.
From the onboarding process, to program development, to dues and benefits offered: association leaders need to approach all of these processes with the intention of making things as streamlined and as beneficial for their members as possible.
We've already written about how to approach membership retention plans, but if you'd like more actionable tips about how to keep your members engaged, download our free eBook “How to Improve Association Member Retention” where we share the latest association strategies and industry insights.
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