Association News

Comment: Awareness, Relevance and Using Your Data Drives Member Acquisition

Increasing member acquisition is an ongoing challenge for NFPs, membership organisations and associations. It was the number two goal for respondents to the MemberWise Digital Excellence Summary Report 2017, the number two goal in 2016 and the top goal in both 2014 and 2015.


Why is it a challenge? Because whilst there is a plethora of ways to approach member acquisition, who knows what really works and how do you measure it? Even if you can figure out what works, what do you do when it stops working?


However, I would like to share my thoughts on what for me, are the key elements of a successful member acquisition strategy:


  1. Make sure that your target audience (i.e. your potential members) know your organisation exists.
  2. Ensure that you provide the services and products that ‘matter’ to your potential members to demonstrate that your organisation is ‘relevant’ to them


Making sure that potential members know you exist may sound a little like ‘teaching your Grandmother to suck eggs’ but it’s surprising how few NFPs, membership organisations and associations have an effective brand awareness strategy.


ProTech recently worked with a professional body looking to implement a new CRM solution and as part of our initial approach to identify potential members and what mattered to them, we uncovered some alarming findings.


We liaised with a selected number of people working within the profession our client represented and the findings were disquieting because:


  • 60% were not aware that our client existed.
  • 46% belonged to a competitive membership organisation.


It was apparent that awareness of our client was an issue.


We asked the selected professionals what they would value i.e. what mattered to them, what products and services they really wanted, from a membership organisation that supported their profession. Their responses were straightforward and included:


  • Networking opportunities.
  • High quality training – both specific and complimentary.
  • Accreditation pathways.
  • Community based peer support.
  • Continuous professional development (CPD).


These responses were worrying as the ‘services/products described were not part of our client’s overall business strategy. Its focus was on developing a broader range of qualifications with little understanding of its potential (and existing) members’ needs, particularly regarding options around CPD.


The relevance of our client to its prospective and potentially existing members was also an issue.


So what could our client do to ensure potential members knew it existed? It put a strategy in place to engage with new members and ensured that its website was aligned with its internet marketing strategy to easily facilitate member engagement. 


The key to reaching prospective members is good inbound marketing that uses digital marketing tools like content, search, social and email marketing. It must be based on publishing quality content that attracts visitors to a website – the content must encourage sharing.


The importance of successful SEO.

ProTech’s digital platform ProWeb, with its Umbraco Content Management System (CMS), played a key role in helping our client raise awareness of its existence and to expand its reach to potential members as Umbraco utilises a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) checker. This enables verification that content created as part of an inbound marketing campaign would indeed enhance the prospects of it appearing towards the top of an internet search.


Additionally, ProTech has expertise in creating page types allied to different styles of content which enables visitors to land on our clients’ websites as a result of keyword searches elsewhere.


Umbraco allows our clients to embed different content types within a web page to ensure that content, such as video, is as engaging as possible encouraging visitors to remain on the page for the maximum amount of time.


Data is the key to delivering relevant content.


ProWeb also helps our clients ensure that they are relevant to both prospective and existing members. 


By fully integrating with ProTech’s specialist CRM software, ProWeb enables the all-important capture of data provided by visitors to our clients’ websites. ProTech enables the segmentation of the data so that potential and existing members with similar profiles and similar preferences can be sent content that is relevant to them.


This ability to harness the data captured enables our clients to target potential (and existing) members with events, products or services that are relevant to their specific job, the qualification they need to attain, the event they should attend, the professional paper they should read, etc.


So, to drive member acquisition make sure you choose a CRM solution that allows you to raise awareness of your NFP, membership organisation or association and then enables you to harness the data you capture about potential and existing members to ensure that your products and services are relevant to them. 


ProTech can help do both.

by Jenny Parsons, COO, ProTech