Your membership program is awesome, right? You're no ordinary cake donut. You're the frosting covered, ooey-gooey, gotta-lick-my-fingers kind of donut, right?
Then how do we get more people to notice that? If you really were a donut, I'd be telling you that you have to get out from behind the glass counter at the same old donut shop and go hang out on some buffet tables, get yourself carried into offices, and partner with some restaurants to be offered on their menu. All excellent ideas for donut exposure.
Similarly, for your membership program, there are LOTS of ways to get in front of new people. Not EVERY idea is right for EVERY organization… but there ARE some that are right for YOU!
Here are 22 examples of ideas to consider… and the cool thing is that ANY of these ideas are things that you could actually put in motion today… maybe not complete in a day, but you can definitely get the ball rolling.
- Reach out to a business that typically serves your target audience to talk about how you can introduce each other to your contacts – plan a joint webinar, a meet-and-greet, etc.
- Schedule a meeting to be held in a unique place where existing members want to bring their friends. What about a gym? a wine bar? a park pavillion? a local museum? or the zoo?
- Contact a college, community education program or credentialing society to ask about doing an informational presentation for people who are new to the industry.
- Find a national recognition day – or make up your own day to promote – e.g. National Hug an Accountant Day. I have no idea if that day exists… it might make accountants a little uncomfortable… but hey, it would be memorable! Encourage people (including non-members) to post photos on social media.
- Plan a member-guest mixer – use a fun social theme like Think & Drink, Sip & Share, etc. Personally, I'd love to come up with a mixer that involves puppies… a girl can dream, right? Seriously, how fun would that be? 😉
- Invite someone who has been ‘news-worthy' recently to visit or speak.
- Create a contest or poll that would be of interest to nonmembers. One example I read about a few months ago was a photo contest that got turned into a calendar. You didn't have to be a member of the organization to submit a photo, but the resulting product was something that ended up hanging on someone's wall all year long. I do have a client who does a photo contest specifically with members… they use the top 10 winning submissions within their annual report and the top winner is the cover.
- Review your social media platforms to make sure it is actually easy to share your posts (then be shareworthy).
- Invite the media to cover an upcoming speaker – make this part of your normal routine! I have some clients who are awesome at doing press releases regularly, but most of us don't even think about it.
- Create a fun incentive for members who bring a friend to the next meeting. Could people win a group of high school students to do yard work? What about a copywriter to makeover their website? A session with a nutritionist to design a healthy eating plan? It should be something related to what you do, of course, for maximal benefit.
- Ask another organization about giving a talk at one of their meetings.
- Look at your current member list to determine if there are ethnic, age or other diversity groups that are not represented. Do some research on where you might be able to connect with any missing segments.
- Ask businesses that employ your target members about providing information to their employees or putting a brochure or information sheet in their new employee packet.
- Schedule a joint meeting with another association or membership group.
- Review your community calendar to see if there are any upcoming service days or other events that your group could support or participate in.
- Write a letter to the newspaper about an industry issue or member success story.
- Find someplace that would publish an industry-specific article with your information in the by-line. (I get a LOT of exposure for The Joy of Membership™ from guest blogging. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say about 30% of my incoming inquiries are from a single article on someone else's blog. They aren't ALL that magical, but the more you do, the more likely it is that people will begin to discover you in other places around the Web.)
- Find a few places that wouldn’t typically receive your newsletter and provide them with a copy.
- Talk to another organization that serves a complimentary audience about doing a joint recruiting event. I'm seeing a big influx in dual-memberships among my association clients. More of them are starting to work together so that when people join one association, they are automatically a member in the other.
- Start a speaker’s bureau showcasing experts who serve your audience. The speaker will feel honored to be included (free publicity for them) and they will likely be happy to share that they are now a part of that effort with their list.
- Create a re-engagement campaign for expired members. How many people do you have on your roster who used to be members but have lapsed? Try specifically inviting them back to see what's new. These were people who knew you, liked you, trusted you and invested in you at one time, so they are already a warm audience. You just have to show them that it's worth coming back.
- Create a quick video about an upcoming event that can be publicly shared online. My motto… always be inviting. You should always have *something* on your calendar that is the perfect invitation point.
As you consider what ideas are right for you, it's important to keep in mind that you'll need to choose strategies that align with your personality and skills, as well as with your prospective member’s goals, questions, emotions, etc. If you can successfully do those things, you'll achieve maximum effectiveness.
I'd love to hear if any of these ideas spark new thoughts for you.
Tell me in the comments below.
Joy Duling is Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership. Since 2005, Joy and her team have helped associations, trade groups and membership-based nonprofits run their programs more easily and deliver exceptional member care.
You can find FREE tools, tips and training to help you run and grow your membership organization in The Joy of Membership Help Hub.