Yes, Labor Day has passed and yes, many of you are already assessing your current membership counts with an eye to where you will be on December 31. Here are a few simple ideas to get more paid members and more revenue in just 90+ days.
Best of all, everything I suggest below can be completed from start to “in the market” in about two weeks!
1. There is no better time to get started than now. We find many associations fail to act decisively by succumbing to “analysis paralysis.” That is, they talk so much about what they should be doing to recruit, retain, and renew members that they end up doing nothing. Remember, in marketing, doing something is always better than doing nothing. Have an idea for a test or have materials left over from a previous campaign? Then put a plan in motion now and get something out the door. Cost-effective ways to market—even in small quantities—do exist and are worth the extra effort.
2. Do the easy stuff first. Every association I know has lapsed members. Even if you’ve done your best to reinstate them in the past, try again. Many associations ask former members to rejoin one or two times and then never ask again. I have found that if someone is still in a profession, I can move them to rejoin if I ask enough times and use the right media in combination with the right offer. I contend (and the economics will back me up) that having a member come back into the fold is well worth the time it takes to mail, email, text, or call asking them to return. And, if I am calling them, I always have a special offer in my hip pocket to close the deal.
3. Tap into non-member webinar or meeting attendees. This is another pool of prospects well worth your time and attention as the year comes to a close. Like lapsed members, these people may only need a slight nudge to join. Remember to emphasize all the benefits they get as a member, including the discount they will receive the next time they register for one of your organization’s webinars or meetings.
4. Consider a group membership. If there is the potential for attracting multiple members at the same location, try a group membership offer where you ask current members to provide the names and addresses of their colleagues, along with and approval to use their personal referral. Tell the prospect that the member referred them, and if they join right away, they can do so at a special rate.
5. Be media neutral. Just because email is cheap does not mean it is always the most effective. Like me, many of you probably have an aching finger from hitting the delete button all day. Want to do more? Then mix emails with mail, add in Facebook and AdRoll campaigns, include a phone call and a text message. You likely don’t know how a prospect prefers to receive and respond to an offer so don’t undermine your results by marketing to everyone in the exact same way.
6. It’s okay to offer a premium to join or renew. While discounts are a sure-fire way to get prospects to act, money is not the only option. We run very successful premium programs using free webinars, books, white papers, reports, and discount coupons on future purchases, including annual meeting registration. Even items such as coffee mugs, gift cards, tote bags, and t-shirts have worked for associations. It’s the concept of getting something for free that works and not necessarily the item itself.
So there you have it: six easy ways to get more paid members and more revenue before year’s end. Let me know what you’ve done or plan to do in the coming months to kick-start your marketing programs this year. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 703-706-0350. Happy Marketing!