It’s no secret that memberships are the life blood of business associations. However, the wide availability of free information on the internet has made membership growth more challenging in recent years. Add to that the changing mindset of millennials, and associations have a lot on their plate.

According to a couple of reports, lack of member engagement has been identified as a critical factor affecting association membership decline. Also, communicating value to prospects remain one of the biggest challenges to attracting new members and retaining existing ones.

These are the reasons why today’s associations need marketing and communication activity designed to nurture prospects until they sign up. Association marketing includes delivering messages and benefits that attract prospects to sign up to your organization over others. Here are a few measures you can take to go about it:

Invest in content marketing

Content marketing is a powerful tool to promote the unique value proposition (UVP) of your association. Ask yourself, what is so great about you that people will want to choose you over your competitor? Your answer is going to be your unique value proposition. For instance, an association for farming businesses will have a niche-focused unique value proposition.

After discovering your unique value proposition, promote it via content marketing. Use new content marketing techniques such as visual storytelling. For example, you can create videos promoting success stories around your UVP; videos lead to a greater number of conversions than other forms of content.

Deliver resources in meetings and events

Whenever you hold a meeting or an event to discuss the services offered by your association, strive to deliver resources to your members. Technology has made it easier to deliver resources seamlessly to your prospects.

The company DoubleDutch shows how an event app can be used to provide information before, during, and after an event or meeting. Some apps will also provide networking opportunities to members for a truly valuable experience. Also, if the event has sponsors, you can give them more exposure, which should uncover new revenue streams for your association. So you can improve your retention rates, increase sign ups, and build your association brand with such technology.

Create hype

Create special offers around offerings such as ‘Why Join Today’. Such offers will create a sense of urgency and hit the psychological points of those who are considering association memberships. Ideally, such a strategy will work well with introductory discounts and limited time offers.

For example, an introductory membership price of $99 will generate more sign ups than a price of $109. And limited-time offers can be backed by the unique value proposition.  As B2B consumers make a split second decision on whether an association’s offer is important to them or not, a sense of urgency is just what you need to get their attention.

Leverage social proof to attract members

Ever thought why big brands like Nike bring in soccer starts in their commercials? They leverage social proof that the brand is used by big names, so it has something unique about it. You, as an association, can also provide social proof such as branded badges from government organizations to attract members.

Success stories can also serve as a social proof for members. For example, you can get testimonials from existing members that how your organization has helped their businesses to succeed.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.

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