In most associations, one of the perks of membership is access to a steady stream of high-quality, informative content. From magazines to videos, creating useful content for members–be it to educate, inform, or, in some cases, even entertain–is a time-tested way to add value and develop a sense of indispensability about your offering.
But if members are the only ones that ever see your members-only content, consider altering your strategy.
Some of the most effective membership-marketing campaigns leverage the very content associations use to help keep members around. The key, of course, is using just enough to entice prospective members but still protecting the majority of the good stuff for those that already pay for it. As a bonus, you can use these strategies to augment your data-collection efforts.
Here are several strategies we’ve helped put in place that balance attracting new members with keeping most content under wraps, while providing some valuable data insights.
Custom email campaigns. Odds are, your new-member-outreach efforts include sending emails to prospects. Instead of simply telling them about the benefits of your association, show them–using some content. Provide links to one or two useful articles you’ve published. Your CRM system should be able to track click-thrus, so you can get an idea of what is resonating. Set up a campaign that swaps in new content with some frequency, but not too often–once every 2-3 months, say. This keeps it fresh for prospects, while safeguarding the amount of free content being made available.
Landing pages. Setting up a landing page with a simple data-collection form–name, email address, and perhaps one relevant piece of information germane to your association’s membership types–is an ideal way to let non-members read content. Put an article, white paper, or perhaps some presentations from a recent conference you held behind the landing page, and promote the effort through existing channels–e-mail, social media, etc.
“Freemium” website content. If you publish regularly to a news or blog section, consider setting up some of your content so that anyone can read it, so long as a name and email address is provided. This approach allows your website to work its search-engine magic naturally, while both supporting your membership-development and data-gathering strategies. News websites use the strategy often to turn browsers into subscribers; associations can follow the same path.
Webinars. One of the more popular and effective ways to inform and interact with members is via webinars. They’re used as both lead-generation tools and members-only educational benefits. If your association does the latter, consider opening one up to non-members. We recommend giving access to a recorded version, which helps keep the webinar’s main target–your members–feeling like they received the exclusive benefit of participating in the live version. If you have the resources, consider a special webinar that targets prospective members. Pick a topic that you know resonates with members, but perhaps is covered elsewhere via their members-only content. Then promote the webinar through your current prospective member-outreach channels.
These approaches can be used in combination, and they aren’t the only ways to use your existing content to attract prospective members. When developing the strategies, it’s important to strike a balance between providing value and giving away too much content. Establishing the related data-collection and analysis strategies is also key to ensuring your efforts pay long-term dividends.
Helping set up and improve new-member campaigns is part of our expertise.
If you have a campaign you’re building, or one that could use some freshening up, we’d be happy to sit down and talk.