Networking and professional development are the core purpose of any association. The drivers for each of those things relies upon a high level of membership engagement. We’re all competing for each other’s time and in today’s busy world it’s easy to take a backseat if you aren’t actively marketing and keeping yourself in front of your members. I’ve had the opportunity to partner with many associations throughout my career and here are a few things I’ve learned along the way about showing the value of your membership.
1. Secondary contacts are just as important as the primary contact
Especially with corporate accounts, it’s common practice to have an account manager communicating with only one contact within the organization. In this case you’re relying on that one person to transfer all your information and value to the rest of their team which is a bold assumption. Always interact with all roles who can benefit from the resources that are associated with their membership. It may require additional resources to combat data decay and keep everything up to date but the best way to do this is by adding all applicable parties to your email distribution as well as any promotional calling campaigns.
2. Ask for feedback, then implement it
In other words, listen to your members. A project I recently worked on was an end of the year wrap up for a client of ours. I reached out to each of their members to say thank you for being with us and inform them on some of the newer events on the horizon for the coming year. This provided the opportunity for back and forth open dialogue, so we could receive feedback on some of the different things they liked the best, and vice versa. In addition, you can’t go wrong by checking in occasionally just to gauge everyone’s temperature.
3. Spotlight your members
This is your opportunity to be matchmaker and help facilitate engagement among your members. A lot like dating, businesses join associations because they’re trying to “get out there” so to speak. As stated in the first sentence, “networking and professional development” are number one. I’m sure you have a blog or newsletter that you can feature a new member each week, month, etc. Highlight their date joined, company history, value propositions so they can be seen by the rest of the organization. If a business relationship can stem from one of these posts it’ll be a constant reminder of the value of your association.
Far too often do I see associations take a passive role when it comes to engagement. I’d argue that retaining your current member base is more important than new member recruitment when it comes to long-term growth potential. This goes for any business; it’s much easier and cost effective to keep a current customer than it is to acquire a new one so it’s important to continually show your members the value of your association.
How do you show the value of your association’s membership?