8 Ideas for Boosting Your Membership Marketing Strategy


Membership marketing is an important part of any nonprofit organization’s operations. It helps you stand out from your competition. It also mitigates some of the difficulty of bringing in new members and keeping them around for years to come.

In this guide, we will explain the best practices for attracting new members and retaining current ones. We will also look at how to measure the success of your membership marketing strategy. 

Let’s go!

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What Is a Membership Marketing Strategy?

A membership marketing strategy is how you plan on promoting your membership package to your target audience. It can be a daunting task for any organization to reach potential members and retain current ones. But a strong marketing program can help.

Before creating a marketing plan, define your target audience so that you can tailor it to them. Survey your members annually to get an idea of their demographics and the types of content and benefits they hope to see. You can also check out your competitors to see who they are marketing to and what their marketing efforts look like.


4 Marketing Ideas for Attracting Prospective Members

Even if your membership package is amazing, you are going to lose members over time, which is why you should not be solely dependent on existing members. You can gain more members through cultivating an online presence, hosting events, giving away merch, and utilizing testimonials. 

Create an Online Presence

In this age of technology, the majority of people are engaging with one another online in some form. You want to show potential members that you are an industry expert. Explore a variety of channels to reach each segment of your target audience.

membership-marketing-ideas-attracting-prospective-membersSam is getting busy creating an online presence for his nonprofit!

Having a website is one way to add credibility to your association. Your website should explain your mission and membership to answer potential questions. You can even host a blog on your website to provide readers with industry knowledge. Be sure to pepper keywords throughout your web pages and blog posts so that your site pops up in Google searches. 

Pro Tip: Employ a full-time developer to build and maintain a sleek, user-friendly site. Think of your site as one of your houseplants — it requires regular care and maintenance to grow and thrive.

An email newsletter is another way to drive membership. Many businesses use email marketing software, such as HubSpot, to create polished newsletters that promote your organization’s offerings and news. You can make some newsletter content exclusive to members, which can push interested people into deciding to join your association.

Social media is an optimal tool for any membership marketing campaign. Look to your target audience to figure out what platforms to use. Depending on the channel, you can post visual content and/or website links to get users interacting with your organization and other members.

The amount of people who listen to podcasts has steadily grown in the last decade. If you find that your organization could use another avenue for content marketing, consider starting a podcast. You can treat it as a videoless webinar to discuss industry news, upcoming events, and more.

Host Events

Events, both in-person and virtual, are critical for getting to know your membership base on a personal level. They also allow potential members to speak with current members to get firsthand accounts of how your organization’s offerings have helped them. 

Events can vary in size from intimate gatherings to large outings. Whatever the size of your event, make sure there are tables set up for attendees to learn about your organization.

Some events your nonprofit can host include:

  • Webinars

  • Luncheons 

  • Mixers

  • Galas

Give Away Free Merch

You want your organization’s name and logo out in the public to increase visibility and attract new members. An easy way to do this is by giving away free merch. Stick your logo on T-shirts, hats, pens, tote bags, stickers, and more so that your name travels around town and through communities. You can give these items away to current members throughout their membership and potential members at your events.

Use Member Testimonials

Ask satisfied members to write testimonials on what they get out of their membership. Quality reviews are a powerful way to provide proof to others that your organization treats your members well. Ask members to address specific elements of their membership so that they are not struggling to come up with what to say. 

Include these testimonials across your online platforms. If they grant you permission, provide their photo along with their quoted testimonial.

Pro Tip: Looking for a more personal touch? Consider making these testimonials videos. Videos can engage your audience even more than written reviews because prospective members get to hear firsthand accounts directly from members’ mouths. In fact, digital research firm Chartbeat reports that visitors who watch video content engage with a website up to two times longer than those who do not.


4 Marketing Ideas for Retaining Existing Members

Now that you have an idea of how to promote membership to attract prospective members, let’s look at some ways to retain your existing members. Remember that people are making a choice to renew their commitment to you month after month or year after year. You do not want to make the mistake of never engaging with your members once they have committed to you. Below, we review some tactics to use when maintaining ongoing member relationships.

membership-marketing-ideas-retaining-existing-membersOliver is feeling good about retaining his existing members!

Start a Referral Program

Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Starting a referral program not only grows your membership base but also rewards existing members to keep them around. But do not forget about the referred member — they deserve some love too!

Your rewards can include:

  • Discounts on the next membership tier

  • Discounts on industry publications

  • A free month of membership

In order for your referral program to gain traction, you need to promote it so that your members are aware of it. Communicate to your members how they can participate through your online presence. Mention it in newsletters and social media posts. Also create a dedicated page for it on your website.

Host Contests

Get creative by hosting engaging contests because, quite simply, people love winning prizes. For example, give away free merch to the first member who leaves a comment on your most recent social media post. Or, get members to sign up for your email newsletter by submitting them into a raffle to win a prize.

Launch Member Appreciation Initiatives

Thanking your members for their involvement will not only show them how important they are to you but also encourage them to renew their membership and engage in other ways, such as attending events.

A quick and easy way to show appreciation is through a thank you letter. Identify occasions where it would be either necessary or nice to send a thank you note. We suggest a thank you to:

  • New members 

  • Renewing members

  • Event sponsors

  • Event attendees 

Another way to show your gratitude is to host a member appreciation event or create a member appreciation day or week. Ramp up the fun during these times with added incentives. Have raffle drawings for prizes or award ceremonies for member contributions. 

Finally, give shout-outs to members across your online platforms. Feature member spotlights on your website, Facebook page, or other channels.

Highlight New Benefits

To find out if you are offering a beneficial membership, solicit feedback from your members to see what benefits they like and what ones they wish they had. Surveys will work well for this, but also look at your competitors to see what benefit packages have been successful for them.      

Once you determine what your members want, it is time to make these perks happen. Highlight your new benefits in a blog post, social media post, or newsletter. After all, what is the point of changing your offerings if your members do not know about it?


How Do I Know if My Marketing Ideas are Successful?

Before you execute the above eight marketing ideas, you have to first know how you are going to measure their success.

Using engagement metrics is one way to measure the results of your marketing efforts. These metrics track how interactive your audience is with your content. For example:

  • On social media, track the number of likes and comments your posts receive and the number of new followers you get. 

  • On your website, keep an eye on the number of views for each page as well as the length of time spent on it.

  • For newsletters and other email efforts, look at the open rate and the click-through rate. 

You should have goals in mind for all of these metrics so that you are not flying blind.

membership-marketing-ideas-measuring-successNancy is ready to start measuring her marketing success!

If you are looking for a simple way to compile this data, use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to break these metrics into categories.

If you want a more intuitive, all-in-one approach, check out softwares, such as Springly, that provide custom analytics dashboards. They can do the tracking that Excel and Sheets does, but they can also help with other nonprofit management tasks, such as creating member lists, tracking membership dues, managing fundraising campaigns, and more. 

Pro Tip: Google Analytics is a tool that tracks your website traffic. You can use Google’s generated reports to learn important insights about your audience, such as whether they found your website from a Google search, Facebook post, or email newsletter. 


Final Thoughts

If you take away one piece of information from this article, it should be that a good marketing strategy is the best way to build and maintain your membership base. Ultimately, all eight of our marketing tactics can work both for attracting new individuals and retaining current ones. As we have seen, many of these marketing ideas interact with one another to create a strong, cohesive marketing strategy.

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đź’ˇHow do I attract new members to my organization?

There are many ways to grow your membership base. Some of the most important methods include creating an online presence, hosting events, giving away free merchandise, and utilizing member endorsements. Find out more. 

🔑 How do I get existing members to stay with my association?

It is often easier to convince an existing member to stay than to attract a new one. If you start a referral program, host contests, launch appreciation initiatives, and change up benefits, you will be well on your way to encouraging members to stick around. Find out more. 

đź“ť How do I create an online presence?

Start with a website that explains every aspect of your organization. From there, create social media accounts and email newsletters. You can even go an unconventional route and start a podcast or write an eBook. Find out more.

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