While it’s a great win for the nonprofit world when any prospective members join an association in your space, wouldn’t it be nice if they ultimately chose yours?
While supporting the association world is a must for anyone involved, the truth of the matter is that for some associations, the member pool can be quite the competitive place. Even outside of the threat of other associations attracting members, your association is also constantly competing for your audience’s time and attention among the many other things that consume their day.
If you’re looking to stand out from other associations in your industry and compete for those other members, here’s a couple ways you can get members to choose yours over others.
Fill your industry’s gaps
In every industry, there is always a niche market that isn’t being addressed.
That’s where your association can make an appearance and come in to address the remaining prospects. Pinpointing the industry gaps that your association’s audience is looking to fill can help you become a desirable resource for professionals.
So, if you’re thinking to do something drastic to grab your industry’s interest, it’s important to narrow your scope.
Now, this isn’t to say your association should change its entire system of operations to fill this one need. Instead, consider this a way you can build out and enhance a certain aspect of your association. Specific market audience targeting can help develop a new lead for those who are interested in that specific aspect and then it could grab those outlying prospects.
For example, if you are focusing on a specific industry, try having a special campaign where you focus just on that. If that specific feature isn’t extremely successful, there’s nothing wrong with trying a different route and focusing on something else to interest prospects.
Find where your association’s industry is lacking and provide benefits to combat those gaps in order to become an unstoppable force to your audience.
Keep your social media updated
As simple as this sounds, it’s critical to maintain your social media to compete with others in your industry.
Think about the experience of audiences when first researching a company they’re not very familiar with but have considered getting involved. First impressions mean a lot, so your association’s social media should give off a good one. In fact, one of the first things most prospects check is a company’s social media presence, typically because they want to see how active they are with their audience.
It’s common now for companies to use their social media as a critical way to keep your audience in the loop with updates and this could be both professionally and personally.
Use your association’s social media platforms as a tool to your advantage and try to post at least three times a week on your preferred media channel. If the idea of posting that many times overwhelms you, it’s a good idea to schedule your posts ahead of time. This also makes it so you can schedule a post at a time people will be online looking at your information.
Being able to post future events, updates, and new benefits can help your prospects choose your association over others in the same industry. Stating the benefits through social media is important because letting them know what they’ll get out of engaging with your association will boost the chances of them actually doing so.
Promote industry resources
One of the biggest reasons that professionals join associations is to learn the best practices to help them further their career. Most prospects are looking to your association as a way to develop knowledge on the best and newer methodologies on how to succeed in your industry.
So, why not give them that option by promoting the resources they’re in search of?
Advertise your resources to keep your association an appealing option to your industry. This can include presenting industry webinars on best practices, luncheons or workshops that further go into depth of your industry, using information from prior conventions, and monthly round up of the best blog posts.
As long as you promote the work your association does to keep its members in the know, prospective audiences will take notice.
Your blog posts give out a lot of information which can stay relevant for months to come, so using that as a resource can help prospects better understand the industry and then hopefully they’ll turn to your association over others. Create blog posts that include industry-related updates and information and share them with your current members and new audiences to let them know you’re a professional hub.
Provide strong customer service
While this advice is simple and obvious, your association will be surprised with how far it will go for you. Just being able to provide a reliable back and forth correspondence with your members and prospects will help you gain the interest you need to compete with others in your industry.
This can be done by using your information from engagement and emailing them with services you provide regarding that topic they may have clicked on. Letting your prospects and members know you’re aware and wanting to help get them where they need to be in the industry. Even calling them and asking if there is anything they need assistance with or if they are interested in more information can help your association get above the others.
While you may think this won’t do very much for your association, overlooking the simple fact of reaching out and providing customer service can be critical for your association because being able to communicate with future members makes it that much easier for you to be on top.
Make your offers unique
Every association is making offers to their prospects, so your association needs to make yours unique.
Market your offerings as exclusive and matchless benefits that people wouldn’t want to miss out. It’s a matter of fact that your association can provide members a value they cannot find anywhere else, so you need to make that known in your marketing materials.
For example, host a local luncheon to talk about your association and what it can do for others. The speakers and topics can change each time you do a luncheon event like this, but aside from that it all stays the same: network, lunch, keynote speaker, done. Change it up by switching the location of your luncheons to a more exciting environment, even by making each luncheon themed. You could also offer new incentives at these different luncheons to pull in new prospects.
By making your offerings unique, people won’t want to skip out because they know they won’t catch the same thing the next time, and that’ll make your association different than the others.
Professionals want to grow their network and gain more industry experience within your association. Be the association within your industry that gives the most to your prospects that will help them better understand what you’re providing