Membership marketing campaigns have a bad reputation. Tough nut to crack. Short on ROI. Too salesy. All work, no play (as in lots of work, little success). But your membership marketing campaign doesn’t have to live up to that reputation.
Whether you think of them as a necessary evil or you look at them as your greatest challenge, membership marketing campaigns are critical to the continuing success of your organization. Here at DJG we’ve got years of experience helping association clients run successful membership marketing campaigns; below are eight tips we’ve found to be invaluable to make membership marketing more effective:
Make it personal.
Always think of your members as individuals and address them accordingly. Today’s email and marketing tools are sophisticated and most make it possible to segment your audience so that you can personalize your content and messages. Make every exchange relevant to the recipient whether it’s based on membership type, member title, market segment or simply prospective members vs. current members. It’s important that your audience recognizes that your organization is there to meet their specific needs. As an example, DJG recently supported the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in their Recruit and Retain Röcktober Member Month campaign, an effort targeting both current members up for renewal as well as prospects they were trying to recruit.
Market with confidence.
Members belong to your association because they believe in what you’re doing and what your association stands for. So, market your cause with confidence. For a great example of cause-driven member marketing, check out DJG client the Society of Women Engineers’ I Am With SWE campaign.
Work in phases.
When you have multiple audiences, it can be overwhelming to think about a campaign that encompasses all of them at one time. So, don’t! Identify your priority markets, or your “low hanging fruit,” and go after them first. Execute your membership campaign in phases, maximizing your budget and leveraging your learnings from each previous phase.
Talk results, not benefits.
Don’t simply talk about all the “things” membership brings, but rather tie the benefits of membership to the results the individual member or sponsoring organization will experience. And if you have statistics, use them. For an example of results-oriented marketing, check out the marketing campaign we created for Executive Women International.
Set clear and obtainable goals.
Don’t reach for the moon right out of the box. Set clear and obtainable membership goals, including milestones and measurement, and a clearly defined time period.
Create a unique landing page.
Strongly consider creating a unique landing page that correlates specifically with your membership marketing campaign (here's what we did for the IABC Röcktober campaign (renewing members)). This may require a simple, separate microsite with content solely focused on your campaign’s key messages. There is nothing more frustrating for a prospective (or renewing) member than responding to a campaign Call to Action that drives them to a random web page with no obvious connection to the campaign, and no clear pitch as to the value membership delivers.
A huge challenge to building a solid, successful membership marketing campaign is access to the right member data and metrics with which to build your case. Consider using sophisticated audience research tools, such as TechValidate, that allow you to gather specific member data, testimonials and other persuasive content from satisfied members.
Integrate, integrate, integrate.
Don’t count on email alone, or for that matter, don’t count on anything alone. It takes multiple touch points to get your message across and incite action, especially when you’re targeting new recruits. When you think campaign, always plan to cross-promote by integrating email, digital, social media, paid advertising and even print for those who have the budget.
Membership marketing is one of your most important association marketing endeavors. And it can be very successful. It just takes a well thought out plan, creativity, and adherence to a few important rules. That’s how you have a big effect on the cause—and members—you serve!