4 Keys to Successful Membership Marketing

December 9, 2021

By Mitch Colleran

Software Developer / Founder at @JoinIt, membership software NGOs & SMBs.

View other posts by Mitch

Creating an efficient membership organization takes effort. It takes time. Each decision point has downstream effects on workflows, so getting them started in the right way is essential.

Membership organizations are always about the community you are creating. It all comes back to that simple concept. You are building something that seeks to attract a group of like-minded folks. Building is the operative word. For your organization to have legs, and in order to last, your organization needs to grow!

Throughout the years, our company has watched some organizations fail, and others grow. Some clubs came on board with a well-established, loyal membership base, while others were barely more than an idea.

Using this experience, we’ve pulled together some common threads that you should consider when spreading the word about your organization. While implementation will vary, the marketing channels are simple.

Home On The Web

A website should be your starting point. It may be a no-brainer if you are an established club, but you may be surprised at the number of organizations we see managed for years on a single spreadsheet and text messages!

At the bare minimum, make sure you can direct your new members to an online payment portal and a place that lists your membership menu. They should be able to join and pay online. Eliminate friction! 

Start to consider additional ways to entice prospective members as you become more advanced with sections that include About Us, Upcoming Events, and other modes of discovering more about your organization.

Membership Structure

We’ve all experienced the hesitation you feel before making a payment. Prospective members will feel the same way. They should be able to see and evaluate the different membership types that you offer. But, in case they aren’t quite ready, give them an option to join a prospective or free membership tier. This way, you don’t miss anyone that might just need a bit of nudging in the future.

Make it easy for members to join at different levels of commitment. This is what a well-honed membership offering or menu accomplishes. You can attract varying degrees of dedication or interest that acts as a tool for future member engagement.

Email

The best part about this channel is that it can be passive and should be (mostly) free. You can quickly send out email campaigns to large groups of members. Furthermore, you can target cohorts of members with more specific marketing material. 

Passive means that you should be able to accumulate target emails without very much effort at all. Automate the growth of your mailing list to keep in touch with prospective members. This mostly includes having a master email list that grows as members join your various tiers and as people participate in events.

Direct contacts with prospective members ought to always be implemented if it’s feasible. Significant and rapid growth may make this inaccessible for some organizations -- a great problem to have -- but a personal touch is impossible to replace.

Members

Existing members should be your best advocates. It will dependably be your best form of marketing! Every chance you get, encourage members to bring their friends. This has a double benefit of strengthening your community as it grows, too. Have your members tell their friends about free or special events that might be a good fit for a prospective member status.

Interested in learning more about our membership best practices? Download our guide here!