By: Will Ferguson
In the first part of this post, we discussed how to create a new membership structure. Now it’s time to market your new membership program!
Step One: Stand Out
If you’ve just spent all the time and effort into creating a brand new membership structure, why on earth would you market it the way you’ve marketed every other membership campaign? There are over 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. Your members – and prospects – may not have that many things competing for their attention, but you’ll still need to shine up your membership efforts in order to catch it.
Tip: Don’t get so caught up in your association’s brand that you’re afraid to step outside of it for the look and feel of your marketing piece.
Our client chose to utilize the feel of an infographic to convey our message – something we’ve never used before. When our graphic designer began, I gave her one guiding principle: We want this to look like nothing we’ve ever done before with this association.
Step Two: Be Flexible
You’ will also want to reach out to your audience in more than one way. When you’re creating your marketing piece, keep in mind all the ways it might be used. Share with your graphic designer what vehicles you might use to deliver your message so she or he can ensure that the work only needs to be done once, but can be used in multiple ways. This will save you both time and money.
Tip: Ask your designer if they can give you the marketing piece broken into smaller segments or dimensions that can be used as inserts in letters, newsletters, or on social media.
Due to publication deadlines, we started with the parts to be included in our magazine and Annual Conference brochure and then moved on to a standalone mail piece. I converted the three page spread from the magazine into a self-mailer by adding on a back page. This gave me additional space to feature our upcoming Annual Conference which is at the heart of the new tier system.
Step Three: Details
It’s all well and good to create something and release it into the wild with a joyous fanfare, but if you don’t plan for what comes next you’re going to be woefully unprepared for the influx of interest your marketing piece has garnered. You need to develop an action plan for sending your marketing piece, examine the results of the piece, and prepare staff to answer the questions that might arise from your audience receiving the piece.
Tip: Share copies of the marketing piece with everyone in your office and suggest they keep them nearby to help with calls. You might also create a FAQ for the new membership structure to help both staff and callers.
We were prepared for current members to have issues with the new system – mainly regarding price or how the previous memberships were now going to work. We expected new members to perhaps be overwhelmed by the messaging and not understand how to choose their tier. We made sure the staff were given copies of the materials and set up key staff to take the calls so everyone would get a consistent message. In the end, though, we did such a good job that we only had a handful of questions come in – and absolutely no complaints!
Keep an eye out for a follow-up blog revealing the results of our new campaign and how our membership numbers are doing.