Why They Don’t Know You Exist (and What To Do About It) – Part 2 of 4

Jan 15, 2020

This week we’re continuing the 4-part series week called, “Why They Don’t Know You Exist (and What to Do About It).” Each week, I’m addressing one key problem that I’ve seen hold organizations back from connecting with ideal prospective members. Plus, I share what you can do if you find yourself in the same situation.

Here’s the week-by-week run-down:

  • WEEK ONE: You aren’t showing up where your prospective members are trying to solve problems.
  • WEEK TWO:  You aren’t offering a promise that prospective members notice.
  • WEEK THREE:  You aren’t showing up consistently.
  • WEEK FOUR:  They actually DO know that you exist, but you haven’t captured the connection.

Turning now to this week’s topic. The #2 reason why prospective members don’t know that you exist is because you aren’t offering a promise that prospective members notice.

This reason is very much related to what we talked about last week. If you understand the problem(s) that your ideal members are trying to solve, not only does that knowledge help you know *where* to connect with them, but it will also help you frame up an offer that gets noticed.

If I am in a leaky boat, I really don’t care that you’re hosting a wonderful beach party. The thing that’s going to get my attention is a fix for the leak or a life preserver.

Yet many organizations spend all their time talking about how great it would be for me to join the beach party – telling me about the yummy food, fun music, and cool people who will be there.

As you look at how your organization is trying to connect to prospective members, are you inviting them to a beach party or offering a fix for their leak?

This is more than just nuance. A fix for their leak creates an offer that is far more likely to be noticed.


Consider for a moment the example of ADVOCACY.  How many membership organizations do you know that frame up what they do around protecting and advancing an industry?  

This sounds like the kind of thing that members should care about because it is essential work. If the organization isn't doing it, there will be consequences. However, unless there is a burning legislative issue right this very minute that a member cares deeply about, advocacy doesn't feel like a leaky boat.  It's not top of mind most days and it's likely not going to be a strong selling proposition for the organization.

Carrying this example further, many organizations are seeing declines in younger members joining. This isn't because young people “aren't joiners”.  This is because your organization isn't offering them a fix for THEIR leaky boat. 

Often, they are so inexperienced in the industry that they don't even realize that the boat has a leak. So, your focus has to be on awareness-building about the leak, so that you can offer them the fix. “These are the problems that you WILL face as you get into the early years of (whatever your organization does)…  We, the XYZ association, prevent those things from happening”.

Show that you know they have a leaky boat and that you are positioned to fix it.  Then, invite them to your beach party.   

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts on this post below.

Hey there.  I’m Joy Duling, Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.

Clients hire me to help them design and deliver exceptional member experiences. If you lead an association, trade group, or membership-based nonprofit, you can find FREE resources to help you run and grow your membership organization by visiting here: http://joyofmembership.com/help

I look forward to connecting with you there.