Striking a balance between being the voice of an industry and maintaining your own voice isn’t always easy. Engaging an objective third party to map out a communications strategy for your membership association can help.
Membership associations face a unique set of opportunities and challenges. On the upside, they often have hundreds if not thousands of case studies and subject matter experts in their inner circle, which can provide a wealth of compelling content for social media, e-newsletters, PR/media relations and everything in-between. On the flipside, having too much information at one’s fingertips can be a challenge, as can creating a hierarchy for vetting and disseminating that content. If your membership association could benefit from some extra sets of hands – and a few more heads at the table – it may be time to think about engaging a marketing agency.
Here are five proven ways that marketing agencies can support membership associations:
#1: Establishing clear and consistent messaging
Membership associations are often the voice of their industry – but they need to have their own voice, too. Case and point: there’s a difference between advocating for what’s best for the industry and advocating for what your own organization needs in order to do its job. Marketing agencies can help membership associations to develop global message points and assist with defining the voice and tone that should accompany communications to differing stakeholders across varying mediums.
#2: Implementing systems for storytelling and showcasing member successes
Is there such a thing as too much good news? If you are a resource-constrained internal communications department, tasked with sharing stories from hundreds to thousands of members, the answer to that question may well be yes. From spotlights and showcases to webinars and roundtables, a marketing communications partner can help your membership association brainstorm and implement a multitude of channels and programs for sharing members’ stories – which can also help to keep them deeply engaged with your association.
#3: Creating resources to get your members singing from the same sheet of music
Membership associations often invest time and resources carefully crafting message points to speak to timely topics and events including impending legislation, state and federal budgets, industry challenges and more. While it can be relatively easy to get your own organization’s spokesperson to stick to the script, encouraging a broad and diverse membership to adopt these message points and storylines can be challenging. Marketing agencies can help membership associations implement media training programs for members, support with interview prep and help spread the association’s voice across a host of media opportunities that may wrap around a county, state, region or even an entire continent.
#4: Building an asset library
How are you capturing your members’ stories? Do you have a repository of current photos at your fingertips from member projects and events across your coverage area? Are you maintaining a database of member subject matter experts from various specialties? Marketing agencies can help create and implement asset collection campaigns to enhance membership associations’ communications and showcase the collective strength and excellence of an industry.
#5: Executing member attraction and retention campaigns
Marketing can play a pivotal role in not only maintaining but growing an association’s member base. A marketing agency can guide an association through the analysis of key data to develop clearly defined member personas and devise high conversion campaigns to secure new members. Marketing agencies can also help with reengaging lapsed members and refining membership packages to ensure optimal resonance with the desired member base.
Membership associations are the foremost voice of their industries and have a unique opportunity to engage diverse stakeholders to broaden the reach and dimension of their messaging. By engaging a marketing partner to support with member engagement, retention and recruitment, associations can grow their share of voice, strengthen their brand and bolster their bottom line.