Last week, WebLink hosted a webinar for business associations and chambers of commerce titled, "3 Key Strategies for Growing Membership in 2014."
As associations kick off the new year, many organizations have new goals for selling memberships, increasing retention or creating additional non-dues revenue. Staff and board members of your association probably have lots of great ideas about what your association should be doing to reach your goals.
The trick is to understand which of those ideas represents the fastest path to organizational growth. How do you decide whether one alternative will yield a higher growth rate versus another? The paradox for executives today is that we’re all being asked to do more with less. This makes every investment in growth more important than ever.
The webinar detailed strategies that associations can use to help them identify which ideas and actions will lead to the greatest results.
Here are some of the top questions from the webinar.
1. You mentioned that there may be some initiatives that contribute to member growth, but not member value. Do you have an example?
Many organizations have membership drives or Total Resource Development Campaigns that are designed to generate a certain number of memberships or an amount of revenue in a given time frame. During my time at the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, we found that members who joined during these special events renewed at a lower rate than other members. And, we found that the revenue we were generating was costing us more due to the increase needs of volunteers and running the campaigns. Basically, we found that if we didn't have the campaign, we would likely gain those members anyhow and we'd have a greater chance at retaining them.
Rather than focusing on membership drives, focus on what's important to your best members and use that information to find more members who value your association's services.
The webinar also detailed key points that business associations should consider when developing a mobile strategy. These included reviewing data and surveying members to determine the best solutions for your association.
Here are some of the top questions from the webinar.- See more at: http://blog.weblinkinternational.com/blog/membership-marketing-and-technology/top-questions-about-mobile-strategies-for-associations#sthash.SolnVecX.dpuf
2. How can we create more cross-team initiatives?
The key here is having collaboration among the teams and gaining consensus. During the webinar, Chris Bass detailed some great examples of how staff members of an association all had different ideas and opinions on what was important to members. By using data obtained from your members and gaining consensus from your teams, you'll be able to map out plans, strategies and actions to drive organizational growth.
3. How do we create urgency to join now rather than wait?
This is one reason why some organizations fall into the trap of using membership drives. (See question #1). To help you drive urgency, you can sell the value of your organization that you know is important to your best members. Members of your association receive certain benefits to help them grow their business and the sooner they join, the sooner they'll start seeing those results. By focusing on the key items that you know are important to your best members, you can portray a sense of loss if the company or individual doesn't join now. Certainly you can also offer some time-based incentives such as a free registration to an event, an extra copy of a publication or something else of value. I'd caution against discounting membership fees, though. Your members need to know there is a certain value to the services you provide. Discounting membership fees can lessen their value perceptions.
For more information and details about creating value for your members, check out these recent posts:
4. You mentioned an eBook about how associations can grow their membership using LinkedIn. Where can I get that?
In November, WebLink produced an eBook titled, "4 Simple Steps to Growing Your Membership with LinkedIn." You can download our LinkedIn ebook here.
5. Can we get a copy of the presentation?
Yes, we've embedded a copy of our presentation below.
6. Will you offer a recording of today's webinar?
Sure, see the video below.
We'll be scheduling more webinars on how associations and chambers of commerce are using association management software, websites, social media and other technology to deliver value to their members and grow their business. Please let me know what topics you'd like covered.