When it comes to Association marketing, there are some proven approaches you can take to retain – and gain – the types of members you target.
One of my favorites is creating heroes. The key is truly to position your association as a guide, not the hero, which should be reserved for the members.
How do I make a member a hero, you ask?
That is most easily done through storytelling, and frankly, members tell the best stories. This strategy will help you attract the members you do want, and at the same time, it can repel the members you don’t want.
As with anyone shopping a brand, customers want to be able to peer inside and take a look at what you can offer them before they buy. It’s the same with any association. This strategy will help you deliver on that and allow them to check you out.
For starters, identify current members who highly rank your organization. Then, match those members with your values. Make a list of those members and concentrate on making them heroes that can potentially tell your story for you.
Make them “famous” by letting them promote your association with a story. In turn, you will attract more of the types of members you seek. This strategy will also help you to tell your story before someone else does.
Focus on who
Focusing on “the who,” not “the what,” will magnetize your marketing. Those who put the emphasis on what will ultimately make their association transactional, which equates to making your offering replaceable. Nobody wants that!
Testimonials are a great way to start telling stories; depending on the story you can use them in every area of your business – to support recruitment renewals, membership renewals, and events and programs.
Another tip is to demonstrate how your offering can take audiences from where they are now to a better scenario that improves their lives. This story can be told by your members or even your association.
Getting the story out
Consider sharing stories both digitally and through print with newsletters or brochures.
Digitally, you can double your open rates when you lead with a human-interest story. It doesn’t have to be about your association. In fact, you should be sure to distribute a small percentage of content to your audience that doesn’t include a mention of your association.
Note: Companies who do it right include being helpful as a part of their brand promise whether consumers do business with them or not. Back to the newsletter, include stories about a member running a marathon, or doing good in their community (this is what makes them the hero).
No doubt, this type of strategy will help your build your own community. Even better, research what your members care about most and include those topics in your newsletters.
Don’t forget print! Give members something tactile to peruse to further their connection with your association. By adding a printed newsletter to your communications plan, you start to build a relationship of trust. Hint: People like to do business with those whom they trust!
Newsletters, brochures, and direct mail all allow you to sell one-to-one. People spend on average 30 minutes on any given day reading through their physical mail, as compared to 11.1 seconds on one email.
At Mount Vernon Print, we do believe in a multichannel philosophy. Combining print with a digital strategy is really one of the best ways to reach the right members and potential ones. Try a mix and then figure out what works best for your association.
Overall, be sure your members feel valued and provide them with value, and of course – make them heroes! We would be happy to help you with that.