3 Key Inbound Marketing Tips for Membership-based Organisations

Engagement is key to keep your members happy. It's vital to focus on tactics that will help achieve that happiness and, therefore, success. Member-based organisations have valuable offerings, but using standard traditional marketing processes aren't enough to keep members engaged anymore; rather, these businesses need to create personalised experiences that help members enjoy their benefits and stay with them to become great advocates.

As a member-based organisation, the fee or subscription paid by members has to be met with the benefits promised.  However, not all member-based organisations are the same. Some have mandatory membership, while others have voluntary enrolment. Some have local markets as their focus, while others play on a national or even international level. Despite these strong differences in structure, strategic purpose and scope, almost all these organisations need to measure the same outcome - keeping members happy.

Goals of member-based organisations and strategies to achieve them

A strategic plan can be defined as a roadmap to sustainable value creation based on the best possible information available at the time. It addresses the long-term direction of the organisation by describing what it's going to do and how.  Some goals may include:

  • Retain existing membership, while working to attract new members
  • Enhance member communications and contact
  • Create brand awareness
  • Increase training/education/leadership development

Engagement marketing as a strategic influence to communicate 

Engagement (idea, message, media) + Trust x Targeted contacts = Brand impact

Engagement marketing, sometimes called "experiential marketing", "event marketing", "on-ground marketing", "live marketing", "participation marketing", "Loyalty Marketing", or "special events" is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand or a brand experience. Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, engagement marketers believe that consumers should be actively involved in the production and co-creation of marketing programs, developing a relationship with the brand.

(Source: Wikipedia)


So how can we use inbound marketing to create engaging and lasting experiences? Some tips are summarised below:

TIP 1: Create a strategy plan to achieve goals within a set time period

Some of the main challenges for effective engagement marketing are restricted budget, stiff competition, high expectations, staffing retention etc. In these cases, organisations need to have a strategy in place that outlines tactics to achieve goals within a certain time period. Without a defined strategy and set timeline in which to execute, you are still focussing on your goals and furthermore, not communicating to members why they should care. Make your process about their experience with your brand.

TIP 2: Use consistent communication to be relevant 

Content within the right context is appreciated by members, and when you deliver content that is relevant to current events and/or their circumstances at the time, they will experience the ongoing value of your organisation.  The focus to engage and retain the members in order to make them our torch bearers/advocates has to be about them and their journey and remind them of the reasons they joined your organisation in the first place. So, don't send a single newsletter, instead, ask your membership base what communication they'd like to receive, so you can personalise for each person and send out within a periodic timeframe to set expectations and also create habits. 

TIP 3:  Update the website often to increase online engagement

Websites should grow and change as your membership does, so there's more relevant content across offline to online channels. Adding newer and relevant  content as well as deleting outdated information ensures that the member is only exposed to to what matters in the current scenario. The Growth-Driven Design approach that we follow is a great way to ensure that your website grows with you and your members. 

Keeping members happy is as simple as figuring out what motivates them as people and how that can translate to ongoing relevant engagement and create an entire experience for them. So the next time you are thinking about your membership strategy and how to use a CRM to achieve that, first think about an offline to online experience you can create for them as people instead.