Want to learn how to experience extraordinary growth when it comes to you association’s membership sales? Listen in to this week’s episode as JP Moery divulges five proven ways that you can do just that.
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Hello and welcome to JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. President of The Moery Company, JP’s mission is to arm today’s associations with insight and strategy to thrive and a progressively complex and competitive business landscape. 21st century associations must move forward with a little bit of hustle and revenue development at their core.
Today the topic is membership growth. I’ll give you two examples of trade associations that have experienced record membership growth during our time working together. They have more members than ever before! I’m going to give you a couple of tactics that I hope you find helpful.
Here’s the first thing that they did: they intentionally decided to engage non-members. There was intentional programming that put an emphasis on recruitment. It was not a focus for them. No one owned it. The association had this view of, “Oh, everybody’s involved in membership.” They’ve made specific tactical changes to focus on membership recruitment and put together programs intentionally designed to recruit more members.
Secondly: they took specific advocacy campaigns and used the urgency of those as membership leverage. Here was their theme: things are happening and you’re not going to know what is happening, therefore, your company could get swamped when this new regulation or legislation occurs. They took those advocacy campaigns and made them membership campaigns, because after all, what is one of the main parts of the value proposition? It’s government relations. Why don’t you take those advocacy and government relations situations and turn them and leverage them into membership opportunities?
The third thing they did was use members only meetings and events and use them to showcase the organization’s during their Super Bowl. They recognized that this was a onetime deal so they would say, “Hey, I’ve got a special invitation to invite you to this members only meeting. But, frankly, I need to reserve it only for companies that are serious about joining the organization.” This tells them that you’re serious about your membership and you also set a standard of, “Hey, this isn’t for everyone. It’s only for the people who are going to join, or are really seriously considering it. We’re just not giving these comps out just to drive up registration numbers.” It worked extremely well, and continues to, for organizations that are willing to draw the line between members and non-members. Access to services, registration, valuable programming and content, or not.
The fourth thing that both of these associations did was to draw a clear line between members and non-members. Sometimes I hear, “Well, we really need this non-member company’s feedback on this issue, or their views on this, because they’re such a big company. We really need their insights.” With that perspective, we need them more than they need us. Do you think that large company ever joins? They never do. Why? Because, when there’s a big industry thing that’s happening, they’re still going to go to that big company and go, “Oh, well, you please help us?” That association, in effect, is in a one down position. They are never able to recruit some of the big players in the industry and they scratch their head as to why. Instead, “Hey, there is a big issue going on. We’re moving forward without you. I wish it wasn’t the case, your feedback would be valuable, but that’s the way it’s going to be in this situation. If you want to change that membership status, or be involved, call me and I’d be happy to get you on board.” That’s a much different perspective. It’s one that I think these larger companies, over time, will begin to respect.
And then finally, number five: there was a clear identification of which types of companies were recruitment priorities. To be honest with you, I get really nervous when I hear a trade association that has, you know, 500 members say, “Oh my gosh, we have 10s of thousands of prospects.” Maybe, but not with the value proposition that you currently have or you would have more members. When I see these huge numbers, I see an organization often that is not focused and is not really determined what segments of the industry are most appropriate for them based on the value proposition that they currently have. Here’s what I mean. I could say, in my case, for example, every association is a potential client for The Moery Company. That means 10,000 associations out there that are of substantial size. That’s not the case. I know that, for me, it’s a medium size groups – say $2 to $10 million – that need sales help and probably business model assistance. I’ve recognized that we’re not for everyone. We’re for this particular segment. Now, we’ll get business from people that don’t fall in those categories, but by and large, that’s what our market looks like. I know that and I’m not trying to boil the ocean with services and programs that are so broad that we don’t stand for anything. We stand for generating more revenue through sales and advice on how to do it better. Associations can do the same thing. Hey, maybe we’re not there to represent the entire industry, but these leading companies that are interested in government relations, as an example, and focus on those groups.
Those are the five tips that I’ve learned in this case study of extraordinary membership growth. Again, as I said, record membership growth, frankly, in a time when their industries were in ebbs and flows. These associations were intentional about growth, they found strengths, and they leverage them. At the end of the day, they sorted people out: those that were interested and those companies that were not interested. In result: record membership. I hope you have the same.
Thanks for listening. We’ll talk soon. Bye bye.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. We’d love to connect with you. Check out our blog at moerycompany.com and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can also connect with JP on LinkedIn and Twitter at @JPMoery, as well as The Moery’s Company’s Instagram and Facebook page. To purchase a copy of JP’s book, Association Hustle: Top Strategies for Association Growth, go to JPMoery.com.