In this week’s podcast conversation, I talked with content expert Leona Dalavai Scott about strategically planning content that attracts new prospects and converts them into membership.
If you didn’t catch the conversation, you can listen in here.
Thinking about content that leads people into membership naturally brings up the question: WHY do people buy (or join, in our case)?
I can sum it up in TWO words: VALUE ANTICIPATION. Prospective members have to believe that something will happen as a result of their participation.
No value anticipation = No action
Yet creating that sense of anticipation can be challenging. Here are four proven ways to ramp that up for your own membership:
1. Hook people in with a common aspiration.
Joining a community is often about being part of something bigger than ourselves. Whether your membership focus is on helping speakers build their businesses, quilters learn creative new patterns, or making a neighborhood more beautiful, uniting people around a shared vision of the future is powerful.
2. Nurture their sense of belonging.
I was asked recently how someone can tell if they are connected with the ‘right' community. You'll know the right community by the way it feels. You'll look around the room, either in-person or online, and you'll know that these are your people, your tribe. You'll see people you can relate to, people who inspire you, people who accept you, people who challenge you…but your gut will tell you that this is where you belong.
If people feel that way when they are exposed to your membership community, they will join more quickly. If they aren't sure that there are ‘people like me' in the group, hesitation happens.
3. Organize your benefits around the desired transformation.
People join memberships because there is *something* about their current experience that they want to be different. By joining, they think, “my problem will go away” or “my situation will improve.”
- a speaker might want more speaking engagements
- quilters might want to create some cool new projects and make more friends
- neighbors don't want to drive past the trash-covered empty lot at the entrance to their neighborhood
Regardless of whether you are a solo professional, a trade group leader, or a nonprofit fundraiser, your members ALL want something to be different a year from now. When you can tap into that desire, and show them that it's possible to achieve that outcome through their participation in your membership, value anticipation emerges.
4. Show that it's worth it.
The first three items in this list are really about creating an emotional response to what you're doing. This final item adds the reason people need to be able to rationalize the investment…how long would it take to recoup their investment?
This isn't the only possible rationalization they can use, but it's one of the most powerful.
Can someone recoup the cost of the speakers group with just a single speaking engagement this year?
Can the quilters get a bunch of patterns for free that they would have needed to pay for otherwise?
Will the neighborhood association's work raise home values in the area?
The more quickly and decisively someone's investment will pay off for them, the more quickly and decisively they'll join.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about this topic. What have you found to be effective in shifting people from kinda-sorta-intrigued to ready-to-join?
Drop a reply and let me know. I’d love to hear from you!