Are you a small member-based organization? Then you might relate to these survey results.
Surveys of member-based organizations show that the most common #1 priority is increasing memberships.
Increasing memberships is the top priority for 20.2% of organizations surveyed, followed by increasing member engagement (16.3%), demonstrating member value (10.3%) and developing member programs and services (9.7%).
Having more members boosts the reputation of your association. Moreover, more members bring in more membership fees, which expands your organization’s capacity to run programs and services. Indeed, 91% of small organizations say that membership fees are their most important source of revenue.
So how can small organizations more effectively attract
and retain members?
One way is through clear, persuasive and impactful emails.
Email is among the top 4 channels of recruitment for organizations (the other 3 are: word of mouth, events, and web presence).
Here are 5 ways you can improve your email communication and maximize your recruitment results.
1. Answer the question, “Why should I choose your organization?”
In order for your recruitment emails to be effective, it has to clearly show your organization’s unique value. Are you the newest, or longest standing, industry association in your area? Do you offer the most professional training and online forums? Do you have regular networking events with excellent speakers?
Find your organization’s shining characteristic and present it as your key selling point within your email. Bold it, or make it a tagline. The explanation of your selling point should be short, easy-to-grasp and present an attractive benefit to prospective members.
2. Personalize, don’t generalize
Nobody feels moved reading an email that starts with “Dear Member” or “Dear Industry Professional”. Generalized messages read like advertisements and are likely to be sent to the trash folder. Make every effort to address people by their first names. If that’s not possible, be as specific as you can in addressing your audience: Are they teachers of a certain school? Technicians from a certain company? Designers in a specific city or neighborhood?
Strive for personalization in every sentence – the email should read like it’s from another human who knows you and your professional concerns.
"TiRead your email aloud to listen for personalization and effective persuasion throughout your text"
3. Create and use targeted email lists
One way to help you personalize your emails is creating targeted email lists. When you hand-pick a group of people to email, you can focus more on that group’s specific needs and create a personalized email selling the benefits of your organization that answer these needs.
For example, let’s say you want to target new graduates or new professionals to your field. These younger professionals may be seeking mentors, internships and professional development opportunities. In your email, you can highlight how your association connects members with mentors, internship possibilities and ongoing professional development events.
4. Take advantage of creative metaphors
Instead of sending an ordinary email, frame it as an “invitation, a “special pass,” a “membership card,” or another metaphor that elicits a response. When people hear the word “invitation,” for example, they associate it with the need to RSVP. A “pass,” on the other hand, suggests that membership to your organization is special and exclusive. A “membership card” helps people feel that membership with your organization is something tangible, like an object they would want to own and keep. Think of other metaphors that would make sense for your industry or niche, which would be attractive for prospective members and returning members.
5. Track responses and analyze results
One often overlooked strategy in membership recruitment is tracking email effectiveness. How many people clicked or opened your emails? Which email templates have higher open rates, and for which groups? Which send times work best? Which email campaigns bring in the most responses? Can we replicate the successes?
In order to track email communications, you’ll need software support. ToutApp is one solution for managing and analyzing email communication. Eventgrid is another tool for managing email campaigns, and also for attracting new members through events and programs.