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How to run a successful membership association website

How to run a successful membership association website

If you run your membership association website successfully, it is your membership organisation’s main tool for recruiting new members and driving engagement with your current membership.

However, as with almost everything to do with business, running your membership website isn’t always going to be easy. Running your membership association website successfully requires ongoing work, time, and always casting an eye over what is happening on your site.

Not running your membership organisation website successfully can cause you to lose touch with what keeps your members coming back to you. This leads members to drop off and unsubscribe – which means a drop to your cash flow.

This is bad news for any membership organisation. However, the good news is that this can easily be avoided by following a few basic best practices we are going to look at in this article.

Use your membership website to interact and engage with your members

One of the most important best practices for running a successful membership organisation is showing that your members mean more to you than just the revenue stream that they bring in. This means that you have to make your members feel welcome and appreciated as soon as they sign up to your membership association website.

Firstly, set up an automatic email service that thanks to your members for signing up to your membership website. This is a simple trick but it makes your members feel welcome and appreciated.

As time goes on, continue to reach out to your members and make sure that they are happy with the service that your membership website is providing. Your members will appreciate you showing that you care. A good way of doing this is by setting up a members forum where members can leave comments and feedback.

Once you have a forum set up on your membership organisation website, regularly read and respond to comments and feedback that is submitted. This will show that you are actively looking to improve your membership association website and provide your members with the best experience possible. Not only will this provide you with useful feedback on improving your membership website, but it will also strengthen your relationship with your members.

For a more detailed look at techniques for member engagement, you can read our blog: Does your Membership Website Engage your Members?

Offer free sign-ups to your membership association website

Membership subscriptions can work out to be quite a costly investment and not everyone may be able to afford to sign up to your membership organisation. Because of this, you may lose out on individuals that could provide a valuable contribution to your membership association website, if only they could afford the subscription.

Offering a number of free sign-ups to your membership organisation website is beneficial for both you and the members that you offer free sign-ups; you get to build an audience, and they get free access to the membership content you are trying to promote.

In many cases, members that have received a free sign-up to your membership association website will be the best promoters of your membership organisation. This means that they will interact and give the most helpful feedback. They will also spread the good word about your membership website and help the rest of the community see the benefits of becoming a member and help to encourage new member sign-ups.

Make your membership organisation website simple to use

Websites that are simple to use provide a better user experience and encourage more engagement –  nowhere is this truer than membership websites. Members don’t want to have a difficult time signing up to your membership association website, and if they do then they are likely to not sign up. Designing your membership website to be simple to use means that members are more likely to sign up, which means that you aren’t losing out on potential revenue streams and new members of your community.

If you would like to read more about how to boost member engagement through web design, take a look at our article: 5 Ways to Boost Member Engagement through Web Design.

Adapt your membership website to keep engaging with your members

Your membership association website needs to always engage your members. Members always have the option to cancel, and they will if your website isn’t providing the service they feel that they signed up for.

Your membership website provides you with a lot of insights and date for you to measure what elements are working and what isn’t, so put these to good use. Using insights and data from tools like Google Analytics, work out the most used parts of your membership website and incrementally build on them.

Adding new engaging content to your membership organisation website will also help to engage your current members as well as attracting new sign-ups.

Producing regular content is a great way to engage your members, but you should make sure that you mix the type of content offerings you include on your membership website. Try producing video content, as well as your normal blog posts, and keep an eye on national holidays so that you can create seasonal content around them.

While you are doing all of the above, keep your eye on your insights and analytic data so that you know which elements of your membership association website you need to work and what ones are performing well.

Make your membership association website easy to navigate

In the first days, you won’t have a lot of content on your membership association website, but after the first year or so you will find that you have a lot more content than you probably thought.

As you continue to grow your membership association website, you need to make sure that you keep all of your content organised. Having a messy membership website will cause members to get frustrated and lose interest – especially if they can’t find what they are looking for.

Make sure that all of your membership organisation pages are cleanly designed with organised sections. For more membership website navigation tips, take a look at our article 10 UX Tips to Improve your Website’s Navigation.

Listen to feedback from your members

Your members are the ones who are regularly using your membership association website, so it only makes sense that the feedback they give you is the most valuable.

Receiving user feedback directly from the source helps you to find out which user issues on your membership association website are the most important, and how you can help improve engagement with your members.

Constructive feedback from your members is precious and therefore should be encouraged at every opportunity. With this, you also need to make it easy for your members to be able to leave their feedback.

A simple way to do this is to place an optional feedback survey on your membership website. If people take the time to fill out your survey, then they want their voice to be heard – which is valuable data.

Once you have feedback from a large amount of your membership, study the data and begin to make improvements based on it.

Run events for your membership

Once you have filled your membership association website with lots of interesting content you will probably be wondering what you can do next to build more engagement with your members.

Well, one of the reasons that your members signed up to your membership website is likely to be to network with other like-minded individuals – this is where membership events come in.

Arranging regular events for your members is a great way to get members to engage with your organisation and with each other. It is also a great way to promote the value of your membership website.

You don’t need to be running a massive event to get your members interested, sometimes keeping it simple is a more effective approach.

Arrange an event that encourages members to work together and exchange ideas, throw in a few mini-challenges to help create an even more engaging event. The excitement that comes with networking and engaging with other members will help your member association website flourish.

When setting up an event, don’t forget about promoting it. For some great event promotion ideas, read our article How to Promote your Event using Inbound Marketing.

Looking for a membership association websites provider?

A membership association website will provide your membership organisation with one of the most stable, scalable and rewarding business tools in your business arsenal.

They can take a lot of work to become successful, but the end results are rewarding.

At Artonezero, we create membership websites and digital marketing strategies that build user-engagement, increase new member sign-ups and help membership organisations retain their membership.

If you need a membership website get in touch today and we will help you work out the best online strategy for your membership organisation.

Author

James O'Connell

Date

30th October 2018

Reading Time

5 minutes

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