6 Membership Marketing Ideas to Recruit and Retain Members

Two challenges associations face are member recruitment and retention. Implementing effective marketing for membership organisations means investing in membership offer ideas that work. In this blog, we discuss strategies for marketing to prospects and members alike.

When marketing for membership organisations, one must consider the five stages of the membership lifecycle. This lifecycle includes the five stages a prospect goes through before and after joining your association: Awareness, Recruitment, Engagement, Renewal, and Reinstatement. Today’s article focuses on the first three stages.

6 Marketing Ideas for Membership Organisations

Before you can begin successfully marketing your association, you need to have a plan. In order for these membership marketing ideas to be successful, complete the following:

  1. Set SMART goals
  2. Identify your target audience
  3. Choose your marketing channels
  4. Craft your pitch
  5. Create a timeline

Now, let’s explore how to recruit new members and retain existing ones.

Recruiting Prospective Members

This section discusses how to promote your membership site using three digital marketing ideas for membership organisations that will help recruit new members.

1. Show up on social media

Social media is a great place to begin building a community. You can position yourself as a thought leader by sharing valuable insights regularly and engaging with others to build brand awareness. Once you’ve built a healthy following, it creates social proof that speaks for itself.

The goal of your social marketing strategy should be to get followers from a social platform to your website as soon as possible. When they land on your website, that’s where you can encourage them to take a specific action (e.g., “Subscribe” to a free newsletter). Social media is where you build community, but your website is where you convert those followers into leads.

2. Build a search engine optimized website

Once you’ve created brand awareness on social media, it’s time to recruit those familiar faces. Relationships are built on trust, and a website is a great place to earn the trust of potential members. In addition, websites can answer FAQs, deliver valuable content (e.g., blogs), offer resources (e.g., knowledge bank), and even host a member community.

One way to build confidence in your brand is by showing up on the first page of Google, but ranking first on Google isn’t easy. First, you need to develop a content marketing strategy focusing on keywords your ideal members are likely typing into search engines. Then, you must regularly write and post relevant content on your blog using these keywords.

For search engine optimization (SEO) to benefit your association, share free content that answers keyword-rich questions and inspires trust. Keep in mind that SEO requires much more than blog posts, so consider partnering with an SEO agency like MGI for a holistic approach.

3. Set up a welcome sequence

One way to continue building a relationship with prospects is by creating a lead magnet–a piece of valuable content you send them in exchange for their email address. An easy way to do this is by promoting your lead magnet via a website pop-up.

Email marketing is a great way to disburse your content and engage your audience. For example, after a website visitor submits their email address, they should enter a welcome sequence–a series of trigger emails automatically sent to new prospects that introduce your association.

A welcome sequence informs potential members about who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. It’s an opportunity for you to subtly promote your association by sharing its mission and inviting potential members to join. In addition, add new prospective members to your monthly newsletter so they can stay up to date about what’s happening behind the scenes.

For more membership recruitment ideas, please read our blog: 3 High-impact Association Membership Recruitment Strategies.

Retaining Existing Members

Exceed your members’ expectations by overdelivering on your promises. Here are some specific membership benefits ideas to consider.

1. Create an exclusive member community

A member-only community provides a valuable space for members to network. You can test-run the idea by hosting a closed group using Facebook, which is an easy way to get started. However, hosting the community on your website is ideal. You’ll benefit from all the website traffic it brings; plus, you won’t exclude those who don’t have Facebook.

2. Send a members-only insiders update

Using an email marketing software tool, set up a version that includes active members only. Send the regular insiders newsletter to this list, noting what your association has been doing during that time frame. Make sure it contains exclusive information and benefits that aren’t publicly available.

Tip: Choose a sustainable schedule for your newsletter. Don’t flip flop between sending an email once weekly and once monthly. Be consistent with whatever schedule you choose.

3. Host members-only events

Your members want to see a return on investment. So what can you do to make them feel like their dues are worth it? One way is by hosting exclusive events. To make these events even more successful, give every member a free ticket to invite non-members. This additional invitation allows you to simultaneously engage current members and recruit new ones.

For more membership perks ideas to engage and retain current members, please read our blog: 8 Member Engagement Ideas for Organisations.

Need More Membership Marketing Ideas?

At Marketing General Incorporated (MGI), we can help your association convert prospects and engage members using data-backed strategies. Whether you have too little expertise, too few resources, or too much to do, our team is equipped to handle marketing for membership organisations like yours.

Stay up to date on membership marketing trends and best practices by exploring the Tipster series, written by our marketing experts. Subscribe to MGI’s Tipster emails today for expert advice about your membership marketing quandaries.

Are you looking for comprehensive marketing support for your association? Request a membership consultation.

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