How can digital technology help to promote a membership organisation, its members and the services they provide better?
The first step is to take a look at the role the online channel plays in the wider communications and marketing strategy.
It is important to fully understand the organisation’s audience – who are they, what are their problems and how can digital / social strategy help solve those problems. If you can solve a problem for members or address an industry wide issue there is every chance of retaining them when their membership renewal comes around.
Before embarking on any activity the first action is to build a plan – investigate how a website or mobile app might support the organisation’s objectives, how it will solve a problem for the user, how are you going to get it in front of the people you care about, and lastly but importantly, how can this be achieved for the budget the organisation has.
Here are 5 points to consider when marketing your membership organisation.
Facilitate and curate conversations in a space you control
Social media is probably one of the most talked about topics when it comes to determining a digital strategy.
Building an engaged audience on a social network can be a useful way to get in front of new people but building an engaged audience in a space your organisation controls will provide much more value in the long run.
Listen to your audience
Understanding your audience’s challenges and finding a way to help them overcome them is still the best way to ensure your organisation remains relevant, needed and in the black.
Making decisions based on the desires of the committee member who stomps their feet the hardest will not achieve the results that you seek.
Don’t get overwhelmed
Websites, CRM, mobile apps, CMS, social media, reputation management, content marketing, search engine optimisation, public relations… there’s a lot to consider but it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Take a step back and focus on who you want to help and the problem you’re going to solve for them. Once you know that, the things you need to focus in the digital space on become much clearer.
Building an audience with an affinity to your organisation is what’ll keep your membership renewing year on year. It means they’ll buy from your organisation because they trust you’re an expert and you understand their challenges.
It also means there’s a good chance they’ll refer people to you from their network and your marketing spend will go a lot further.
Don’t let legacy systems get in the way
This is the most difficult issue to address – just because you spent a five figure sum on your CRM or website just 2 years ago, that doesn’t mean it should be informing your decisions today.
The technology should not be stopping you from trying new things or developing new ways to help your members. If there’s something you want to do but the CMS or the CRM is getting in the way of the ideal solution, it’s important to talk to your developers about a work around or alternative options.