The following blog post was written by SBI Association Management, a Seattle-based and AMCI-accredited association management company.
How shopping for an association is a lot like buying a toaster on Amazon
Online purchases for all consumer goods are at an all-time high. Prospective members are used to finding everything from the best-rated camera to the safest car seat online, so it’s no surprise they’re using similar “shopping tactics” to decide on joining your association. There are many parallels between buying a product and buying a membership in a professional association. Your website’s home page is the most important recruitment tool you have to market the value of joining and close the sale.
From page one, your website needs to draw customers in and showcase the value of your association. It’s an asset that you need to vigilantly polish so it shines bright with potential.
Make Joining Your Association Easy
Know what prospective members are looking for and provide answers and resources when they land on your homepage. They may be new to your profession and looking for training or be someone more established in search of credentials or employment options. And like anyone in search of information online, they expect to find what they are looking for easily and quickly. Make your website easy to navigate, and your chances of building a relationship with them become greater.
To continue the Amazon analogy, prospective members expect to find all of your product specifications in one place: price, benefits, features, reviews, and a way to make their purchase online instantly.
Three Essential Website Features That Boost Member Recruitment
- People: Does your website feel personal? Does it include testimonials and reflect the diversity of your membership? Is it clear that others – peers, competitors, associates, or colleagues of the prospect, for example – also belong to your association? Will prospects identify with the voices, faces, and names included on your home page and want to take part?
- Demographics: Can you quickly communicate the profile of your membership? Infographics offer one way to share stats, facts, and figures while also engaging the viewer. Try listing key demographics about your membership, such as a breakdown of which industry sectors, specialties, geographic reach, or career levels are represented. Prospects are curious about who members are and how they fit in.
- Events: What’s happening and how can people get involved? List your calendar of educational programs and events with easy-to-find registration buttons. The home page of your website should communicate the numerous ways in which members can get involved and grow in their profession – and not only at the national level, but also in their corner of your world.
Bottom line, take a page from online retailers and market membership as a must-have product. Your homepage can be a hardworking tool in this endeavor when you populate it with useful information about your association’s members, events, and the resources you provide.