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New Year, New Members – 5 Strategies for Successful Recruitment

Chalkboard Drawing_Strategy_bw_0Is it possible to have too many members? Some associations don’t think so. Their goal is to present the largest united front possible to advocate on behalf of their industries or professions. Others take a different approach and focus on maintaining smaller memberships of key companies or groups. What’s your membership strategy for 2014? Melissa Harrison, chief marketing officer for XYZ University, suggests that “before you stick with the same, tried-and-true (or maybe not-so-true) methods for membership recruitment,” you should carefully consider and evaluate your process for obtaining new members. Harrison recommends five strategies or tactics for successfully recruiting new members:
  1. Treat membership recruitment like the sales process that it is. If you want to “seal the deal,” you must understand the purchasing life cycle of your potential members. “Membership recruitment is about creating long-lasting relationships, engaging your prospects and proving to them why they would benefit from your association.”
  2. Understand your association’s niche. Your organization can’t effectively be all things to all people. “You need to buckle down and determine, realistically, who your target market is and where you’ll reach new members. Make a list of prospects and a list of competing associations in order to understand your market and determine the general availability of potential new members.”
  3. Research your potential members’ needs and address them. People tend to know what they want from their associations, and they will tell you if you ask. “Ask your members and the community at large what they want. What are they missing from other organizations? What are the reasons they choose not to join and what would change their minds?”
  4. Know your association’s value. It’s important to be able to clearly communicate your value proposition. “Figure out what your value is and communicate that effectively. What will make others talk about you? No one talks about the ordinary; you want to be extraordinary.”
  5. Test, track, and repeat (or revamp). Measurement and evaluation are important aspects of any recruitment strategy. For example, you might review website traffic or event attendance from non-members. “And if it’s not working? Change it up! In this age of real-time information and face-paced media, there’s no reason to hold on to a membership recruitment strategy that isn’t proving its worth over a few months.”
At Fonteva we can’t stress enough the importance of developing metrics and making data- driven decisions about membership recruitment (and retention). If you have appropriate software systems in place, you’ll have this capability, but it’s up to you to use it. We wish you a New Year of successfully recruiting the right members for your organizations. Original Article
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