New members should feel welcomed and receive guidance to connect with other members when joining an association. Making an association a welcoming environment is essential for recruiting new members but also for keeping the members you have!
In this article, I will explore four essential components to increasing your association’s attraction aspect:
- User-friendly amenities
- Professional interactions with members
- Engagement and connectivity
- Providing relevant industry news
Online Tools and Resources
An association’s website is usually the first point of contact with the public, which includes members, prospects, industry partners, stakeholders, etc. Therefore, your website should be as user-friendly as possible. It should include a logically structured navigation menu. Each page on the website should present a unique topic and have straightforward content. This will ensure website visitors are not confused and can easily find all the necessary information.
Having a well-structured website with solid content will not only improve the user’s experience, it will also improve your website’s ranking on Google and help with your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). By following the above recommendations, you will increase your association’s visibility on search engines and will gain targeted traffic from potential members.
Another important online tool that should be well thought-out is the member’s section. This section should be accessible with a username and password provided by the association in a welcome package. Many membership management solutions are accessible in the market nowadays. Some are more comprehensive than the others and are, consequently, more expensive. You should not necessarily select the most expensive one, but you should choose the one that fits your member’s needs. After launch, your association’s website should continue to grow and adapt. If you are thinking about optimizing your website, read Six Points to Remember when Redesigning Your Association’s Website for some helpful tips.
Maintain Professionalism in all Interactions with Members
Having a professional staff handling all interactions with members should be very important for the credibility and brand that your association represents. Information given to members should be correct and proofread whether it is a phone call, an email, or a letter. All information that is not available on the website should be on-hand in case staff needs to reference it while assisting a member. Members names should not be misspelled, and inquiries should be answered in a timely manner.
An association’s website and mass communications should show its professionalism. Graphics and design should be neat, and messages should always be proofread by another staff member and/or a proofing program.
Keeping Members Engaged and Connected
One of the most important reasons professionals and companies join associations is the opportunity to connect with likeminded individuals and to develop business or knowledge depending on the nature of the association. Organizing events and generating these opportunities should be a pillar of your association’s purpose. Whether it is through online or in-person events, members should be able to participate easily and interact with each other in a safe and welcoming environment. To learn more about keeping members engaged during the pandemic, please read Keep Engaging Association Members During this Pandemic.
Member engagement comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it by through email open rate statistics, comments or likes on a social media post, or a member emailing staff with a question, these are all forms of member engagement. An association should always be considering different ways to engage members to reach as many people as possible.
Online events are replacing in-person events due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. A variety of options are available to manage these online events. For more on virtual events you can read my colleague’s article, Maximizing the Potential Benefit of Attending an Association’s Virtual Conference.
Current Industry News
To grow their business, knowledge, and capacities, members need to stay current on industry news. Your association should be their first provider for interesting news and developments. Information can be delivered through many channels: frequent e-newsletter, a paper publication, or webinars and professional development sessions. Being the primary resource of reliable information about the industry is another way to increase your members engagement.
Being a member of an association means being a part of a community. It is so important for new members to feel welcomed and connected – and continue to feel this way through their many years as members.