Want New Members? Make Sure Your Website Does This.

July 21st, 2023 / 7 MINUTE READ / BY ALEXIS GRADISHAR

Fish jumping into a fishbowl

Attracting new members is a top priority for all associations and member-based organizations (MBOs). Trouble is, convincing them that you’re worth their time and money.

How, then, can you grow your membership base? What’s the secret to effective membership recruitment?

By telling a better story and building a better website, you can convert interested prospects into new, engaged members.

Effective association membership marketing is easier said than done, though. That’s why in this blog, you’ll find helpful insights like:

  • Why it’s crucial to invest in a site that provides a great experience

  • Pragmatic, effective website changes you can make to draw in new members

  • What to look for in a technology and marketing partner

If you’re looking for a marketing technology partner who has proven experience working with association and member-based organizations, contact our team.  

Strengthen your association membership marketing

The pandemic exposed how much associations and MBOs rely on events, both for revenue and recruiting new members.

Now, in an event landscape divided by in-person and remote experiences, MBOs are placing greater emphasis on two major trends, one of which is building a better website.

Why are MBOs strengthening their marketing with a better digital presence?

A primary reason is to attract new members. This audience, typically younger and digitally savvy, quickly searches for what value they can expect from your website and other online experiences. Oftentimes, their decision to join depends on your ability to effectively provide a great online experience.

4 irresistible membership recruitment tactics

The website ideas and strategies below are based on Refactored’s experience working with associations and MBO’s websites and marketing programs. These will not only help you with membership recruitment, but also can improve ties with existing members, resulting in better retention year over year. 

1) Create community

A top reason why people join associations is for connection. People are naturally wired to participate in communities of people with shared interests.

Your website is the place to foster and strengthen connections. It’s where your members go to find engagement opportunities. While in person connections are great, the truth is your website is open 24/7, making it an extremely convenient and accessible destination. For new members, your website is often the first exposure to your organization and the launching pad toward establishing themselves in your community.

Unfortunately, many MBO websites miss the mark. Information is obscured, lost in complex navigation and user-averse, instead of user-friendly experiences.

How can you correct this online connection conundrum?

From an information accessibility standpoint, consider:

  • Simplifying your navigation

  • Enhancing UX by adding clear calls-to-action on every page

If you feel confident that your site’s taxonomy and navigation are clear, then there are two other ways to strengthen your community:

  • Create a member discussion forum

  • Publish a member directory

When we interview members as part of our website discovery and audit process, we always hear that finding information is a struggle. That, and knowing who to contact for questions.

2) Share your members' stories

Awareness is another major struggle for MBOs. But what if we told you there’s a free membership recruitment hack right in front of you?

We’re talking about sharing your existing members’ stories to advertise the value your organization offers. If prospects hear true stories from real members, that may be the nudge they need to sign up.

Today, many people are skeptical of claims coming from companies. They want authentic accounts from real customers. That helps explain why social influencers and brand ambassadors are popular.

3) Develop clear onboarding

The importance of developing a clear and seamless onboarding experience can’t be overstated. What does this mean for your website, though?

It means investing in great user experience (UX) design and intuitive navigation.

Consider creating a welcome video to ensure members know where to find information. If you want to take this a step further, use a tool such as Pendo, which takes users on a guided tour of your website or app.

4) Master stickiness

Have you ever asked yourself: What’s something you can provide that no organization can?

We’ve found this question is integral to unlocking your website’s unique value proposition and keeping members engaged.

For example, many associations offer professional development certifications. Some of them, especially in technical industries, require members to log a minimum number of hours toward obtaining certifications.

This fundamental insight led to a brilliant idea: What if you made it easy for people to log those hours under their profile on your website? What if others could see their progress? Or maybe they could add professional accolades to their profile or display which association committees they participate in? The possibilities are endless.

The goal with stickiness, also known as “recurring engagement,” is finding ways to seamlessly deliver value to entice your audience to become return website visitors. If you can master stickiness, you’ll prove to new, prospective members that your organization is offering value they can’t afford to miss.

Membership recruitment starts with the right partner

Remember, successful website development for membership recruitment entails two critical pieces: the right technology and a great partner.

Look for an association membership marketing technology partner that’s committed to understanding both your organization’s goals and member needs before getting started on any project.

Once your mission is understood, a partner should deliver practical guidance. Meaning, they only recommend tools that align and advance your interests.

For more than two decades, Refactored has helped MBOs and associations build great online experiences for members. To learn more, visit our Website Discovery and Roadmap page, then set up a time to talk to us about your website goals.